At one time or another, most of us wished we had more confidence but weren't sure how to get it. One common misconception is that building confidence is only done with results, meaning that confidence increases if you win and decreases if you lose. But outcomes (winning and losing) are usually out of your control.
Confidence is important, though, because it can be the deciding factor, causing you either to accomplish great things or fail to reach your potential. So, how can you build confidence?
At IMG Academy, we developed the High Performance Mindset (HPM) Series. Confidence is one of 15 HPM traits. By understanding that your confidence starts with you, you gain control and realize that preparation is what really determines your level of confidence.
Before you start practicing or competing, it's all about what you do to be physically and mentally prepared to be confident. Try some of the ideas below to turn your preparation into confidence.
- Focus on what you can control. Worry about what you are doing, not what your opponent or coach or family or friends are doing.
- Develop a routine, one that you do consistently before you practice and compete—for example, listen to music, breathe to relax, visualize success or think about your goal for the day. Remember to do it for both training and competition so it is your "normal," and nothing distracts you from it.
- Find your positive "go-to" statements. They should put the right thoughts in your mind. For example, "I am a great athlete," or "I thrive under pressure," or "I start strong and finish stronger." Be sure they all start with "I" and are positively worded. It's best to have between three and five "go-to" statements. Write them on note cards, post them on a mirror, or set them as reminders in your phone.
- Have a trigger to turn on your best focus. Pick something you normally do—like getting out of the car, walking into the locker room, putting on your uniform or shoes, stepping onto the competition space or feeling the equipment in your hands—and make it a signal that it's time to go. Let it remind you to block out distractions and know you are ready to perform your best.
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