Building confidence starts with understanding what confidence is.
Confidence is our beliefs in ourselves and in our ability to successfully perform in our sport through challenges, obstacles, growth, advancement in competition, and virtually every part of our participation. By using empowering, reassuring, and confident self-talk we enhance our confidence and become much more likely to approach our skills with the right amount of intensity, but also the right amount of poise.
Too often we make the false assumption that “As soon as I feel confident, I will do ‘X’ or feel ‘Y’ or think ‘Z’.” It is better to understand that acting confidently comes before feeling confident. If we wait to feel confident before we do things, we may be waiting forever. If we think, imagine, and behave confidently – the feeling will follow.
Some misperceptions about confidence are that we are either born with it or not, and can’t develop it; or that failures, negative feedback, or criticism will diminish confidence. Confidence is built over time through our experiences, our understanding of our talent, opportunity, and MOST IMPORTANTLY through our thinking habits.
The most successful athletes use their success as a springboard to understanding how to do things right. They use the success to build confidence and retain the edge they have over competition. But this isn’t the whole story, when they fail, they move past the failure or loss after having also learned from their mistakes.
Practice Techniques for Building Confidence: 1) Utilize mental skills 2) Create a personal high-light reel [use memories of your greatest moments with some of your favorite music and replay it in your head often] 3) Learn from failures and thrive from successes 4) Execute actions with explosiveness but approach performance with what you know [give it your all but don’t try things you aren’t practicing].
Sometimes we gain confidence after an amazing season, streak, single game, or key performance. Other times, confidence builds through the praise and support of others. Similarly, confidence may diminish after a poor performance and sometimes after critical feedback regarding our performance. That is why attaining sustainable, consistent confidence is a task and a skill that we learn to develop gradually and mindfully to make us the best athletes we can be. Remaining confident despite set-backs is what will give us an edge over the competition.