Strengthen Your Confidence Muscle for Sports Success
A strong confidence muscle will allow you to perform your best.
Posted Nov 03, 2017
In my fourth of 12 vlog segments devoted to athletes and coaches, I show you the essential role that confidence plays in your athletic success. Confidence is so important because you may have all of the ability in the world to perform your best and achieve your goals, but if you don’t believe in that ability, you won’t give your best effort, you will perform tentatively, and you won’t perform up to that ability.
You should think of confidence as a muscle. It can be strong, weak, or injured. And to make it as strong as it can be, you must train it, just like you train your physical muscles. A big part of your training efforts—in the gym and in your sports training—should not only be devoted to developing yourself physically, technically, and tactically, but also instilling confidence in yourself based on your preparations.
This vlog segment will explore five key contributors to a strong confidence muscle:
- Preparation: All you can control before a competition is your preparations. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. You want to be totally prepared physically, technically, tactically, and mentally.
- Developing a mental toolbox: Every athlete will experience “flat tires” (i.e., things that go wrong) in competition. The key is whether you have the tools in your toolbox to fix them. Mental “flat tires” include a loss of motivation, a drop in confidence, pre-competitive anxiety, and distractions. If you have a mental toolbox filled with mental tools (e.g., self-talk, relaxation, and focusing), you will be able to fix those flat tires and continue your journey to your sports goals. Having this mental toolbox will give you the confidence you need to stay positive and motivated even when you have a flat tire.
- Exposure to adversity: Every sport has its challenges and difficulties, whether bad weather, hostile fans, or poor field or course conditions. And every athlete competing will be faced with similar adversity. So it’s not the adversity that matters. Rather, it’s how you respond to it. When you expose yourself to adversity in your training and learn how to overcome the adversity, you give yourself the confidence to respond positively to adversity when you are confronted with it in competition.
- Support from others: It is extremely difficult to find success in sports alone. You need people there to support you including parents, coaches, teammates, and friends. Particularly when things aren’t going your way, and your confidence starts to wane, support from others can bolster your confidence and help you to stay positive.
- Small victories in training that lead to a big victory in competition: The ultimate determinant of your confidence is success in your sport. But you can have big victories without confidence. So, you should focus on giving yourself small victories in training. When you learn a new skill, show improvement, or perform better, you just had a little victory. And when you add up those small victories and use them to build your confidence, they will result in a big victory.
The goal of making your confidence muscle as strong as it can be is, just before you compete, to truly believe you can perform your best. This strong confidence muscle will allow you to perform with commitment and courage and without doubt, worry, or hesitation. And the likely result of this will be a great performance, achieving your athletic goals, and finding success in your sport.
To learn more, watch this week’s Prime Sport vlog segment on strengthening your confidence muscle.
Want to get your mind in its best shape possible so you can perform your best when it matters most? Take a look at my online courses for athletes in all sports.