Confidence is the one character trait that athletes try to figure out and struggle with at some point throughout the season. Having confidence is what encourages you to try new things and reach new heights within your game. Most importantly, its the intangible that directly correlates with our performance. When your confidence is high, your performance is high. So, how do you teach yourself how to have confidence in everything that you do?
The problem with self-confidence is that its a constant struggle for some athletes. However, if you have the opportunity to read this article while still being a player in your sport, there’s one thing you need to take away: When you become older, you will regret the times that you didn’t just go outside of your comfort zone and go for what you wanted.
What Exactly Is Confidence?
Life is all about weighing decisions in our head. The reason why you lack confidence at times is because you’re afraid of the outside perception and ridicule you will face if you happen to fail. This causes a majority of athletes to freeze up under pressure and makes you think that confidence is just a binary game – You either have it or you don’t.
Or, it makes you think that confidence is one of those things that comes and goes like a bad significant other. One minute confidence is loving you, the next minute it’s dropped you like a bad habit and moved down the road to someone else.
However, confidence couldn’t be farther from that. All of us are confident in some areas of life but tend to lack confidence in other aspects. You can be very confident in the way that you write a paper, throw a football, skate with the puck, or swing the bat. But, for many athletes, if you asked them to do that in front of 5,000, 10,000, or even 300 people, that confidence evaporates into thin air.
The idea that your ability to execute a skill at the highest level possible just leaving in thin air, despite doing it your entire life, goes to show you how powerful your perception and your mind is to your athletic performance.
How Do You Develop Confidence?
In order to learn how to have confidence in all aspects of your life, you need to understand where confidence comes from.
In order to spark your confidence, you need to go back when you were young. In order to learn a new skill, you had to practice it. Once you started practicing that skill, you became more confident. And, once you become confident about your skills, you start to push yourself and operate those skills at a much more elite level than previously before, which in-turn allows you to build more confidence.
— Spongecoach (@spongecoachmag) September 25, 2017
The key thing you need to understand about confidence is that taking action through purposeful practice is what comes first.
When you learn any new skill, whether it is in life or in sports, odds are you’re not confident in what you’re doing. Whether it’s mathematics, public speaking, dating for the first time, or anything else for the first time – most people are scared and apprehensive about what they’re doing. What breeds your inner confidence is when you start to become more familiar with the entire process of whatever task you’re trying to achieve.
Purposeful practice is what breeds confidence. It’s such a simple answer. The more familiar that you become with something, the more confident you will be at handling it or achieving it. Confidence isn’t something that happens to you. It’s something that truly comes from applying yourself every day so that you become so familiar with performing that task that it becomes second nature to you.
And, it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to achieve. Playing at a higher level or league may seem like a monumental task when you start out. The player are bigger, the game is faster, and the decisions have to be made that much quicker to be efficient. However, although that may be the truth, in reality it’s not any different than the first time you stepped onto the field of play.
As an athlete, you tend to make mountains out of mole hills when you think. By making obstacles appear bigger than they actually are, you actually curb your ability to perform. You’re focused on thinking about the consequences of failing (losing, etc.) instead of reading, reacting, and performing.
How Do You Keep Confidence?
It could be that the answer of taking action and purposefully practicing may be extremely obvious. If you think that it is ridiculous, the only question to ask you is: Then why aren’t you doing it?
You can’t make progress without persistence. Instead of pushing forward and leaving your past performance behind you, you’re wasting your time by focusing on how to solve a problem when the answer is right in front of your eyes. You either take action to build your confidence as an athlete, or you take confidence away from yourself to when you don’t build on taking action.
— Spongecoach (@spongecoachmag) September 24, 2017
The best public speakers in the world didn’t just show up on stage, started speaking, and this magical ability to woo people just came down from the sky. They had to practice it. And they have the same barriers that athletes have to overcome. Some speakers may be great in front of 100 people, but underdeliver when they’re in front of 500, 1000, or 10,000 people. The only way that they get better at speaking in front of large crowds is by going out there and continuing to speak in front of large crowds.
The root of the problem comes back to understanding that you can have the ability to do anything that you want to in life, as long as you put your time into it, purposefully practice it constantly, and take action every day to push your skills to the next level. If you want to be a high achiever, you have to understand that you can never become complacent with any skill you have, no matter how good you are at it.
If you get nervous and think that the game is happening too fast, its time to start pushing yourself to operate faster so that the game slows down for you. Take action and do some research on exercises that can speed up your decision making and anticipation. Study your play book so that you know it like the back of your hand.
Whatever you do, just TAKE ACTION.
What You Need To Understand About Confidence
If you want to help put things in perspective, you need to understand that you can achieve anything you want to in life. However, to take your confidence to the next level and perform at your best, you need to understand that your ability to play the game isn’t attached to your self worth.
You need to understand that your ability to throw a ball, take a shot, or turn a double play isn’t what determines if your worthy or not to be an athlete. What makes you an elite athlete is realizing that in the face of failure and defeat, you don’t falter.
You continue to work harder with a laser like focus to your process. You don’t work harder because you’re afraid that you can’t make it at the level you’re playing at. That’s what erodes confidence and puts you in a downward spiral.
Just take the attitude of saying “Screw it. I know I suck at this right now, but I know that I’m smart enough and determined enough to figure this out. This little adversity isn’t going to make me or break me. So, its time to go to work, solve this problem, and move on.”
Read This: Eleven Tips On How To Get To The Top
It’s easy to say, but don’t be nervous. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill. Just go out and perform to the best of your ability. Build on that ability every day through a desire to get better and a drive of being unsatisfied with where you’re at.
Just keep one thing in mind: Slumps pass and streaks end. But, the ability to show up every day and work stays with an athlete forever. If you need some more inspiration, check out this post on what traits you need to have to become more confident.
It’s your decision what you want to focus on.