Oftentimes, when an athlete is charged with shooting the last basket for their team or gearing up to score the winning soccer goal, there is an inner-dialogue going on in their heads. They’re motivating themselves.

This is something researchers at the University of Thessaly in Greece call “self-talk,” and it has powerful effects.

In a review of 32 studies that examined the psychology of athletes, the researchers found that self-talk is very effective, especially when it comes to improving fine skills or learning a new technique.

“The mind guides action. If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, then this will help our behavior,” said lead researcher Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis. “The goal of being prepared is to do the best you can do.”

Authors noted that when performing a technical task, it’s most helpful to think about how to carry it out. When engaging in an endurance sport, it’s best to motivate one’s self with thoughts like, “Give it your all.”

Author and philosopher Ilchi Lee believes that brain potential is a powerful entity, one that can lead to fulfillment and success.