One of the biggest reasons why some athletes aren't able to reach their fullest potential is usually due to something that's within their control.
Having confidence is something that can elevate you to incredible heights and achievements as an athlete. But not having it can completely break you and destroy your ability to play at your highest level possible.
Even some of the most naturally gifted athletes in the world wouldn't be the athlete that they are if they didn't have an absurd amount of confidence in their game.
Confidence was a trait that I personally struggled with throughout my athletic career. Sometimes I had it. Sometimes it wavered. I never could sustain it and it affected how I played in practice and in games. Nonetheless, I learned from those moments.
Now that I've moved on from being an athlete – the methods of building more confidence still apply to other areas of life.
Here are 3 simple things you can do to start building more confidence in your sport:
Practice and prepare: Nothing beats putting in the hard work and staying prepared day in and day out. The greatest athletes are known to have incredible work ethics, in addition to being child-like students of their sport. To build true confidence you have to be willing to do what others aren't doing. Show up early. Stay late. Watch tons of film. Study your opponents intently. All of these things add up over time and help you build insurmountable confidence in your abilities to get the job done. When you know you've put in the work, you develop an undeniable belief in yourself. There should never be a point where you have to get ready. Always stay ready.
People and positivity: Even though your confidence might be within your control, it can be heavily influenced by the people you surround yourself with and the environment you're placed in. If you want to build more confidence, pay attention to the energy you surround yourself with and the outside noise you take in. Are your friends and family encouraging you or putting you down? Are you reading positive news, and content or taking in distractions and negativity? You have to be conscious about what you're letting into your mind. Everything, whether you realize it or not, has an impact on your psyche and how you think. And we all know how your psyche impacts your ability to perform.
- Envision and execute: Have you ever heard the saying, "You can't be what you can't see?" Elite-level performers in every arena emphasize visualization because you can literally manifest your actions by seeing them beforehand. Olympians have long been known to use visualization techniques to enhance their ability to maximize the moment. The first thing you want to do when you're trying to visualize an outcome is to get really specific with what that outcome is in your mind. Smell the air. Hear the crowd. Pay attention to what you will be doing to a tee. The more detailed you are – the better. Next, get your body comfortable, relaxed, and breathe with intention. Finally, direct your thinking and focus to the act of performing your best for what you came up with in Step 1. In other words, what you will be doing is mentally practicing or performing your skills beautifully and effectively and do it over and over and over. Do this as long as you like and can keep your focus on what you’re doing. This method of visualization has scientific benefits that can help build confidence and conviction in your game.
Confidence can be hard to maintain over a long period of time especially if you're still young but implementing these tactics can be a solid start.
It takes time and practice, but anyone can build a high level of confidence with consistency.