Boosting their self-confidence helps athletes perform better when games get tough. Athletes who want to take their performance to the next level should use sports psychology to be even better in the clutch.
Answer each question below before applying the related sports psyche tip to your daily routine. You are in control of how you perceive your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses—in the gym and on the field. You can choose to believe in yourself and your abilities or continue to doubt yourself and downplay your potential.
So what choice are you going to make for yourself? Review and decide.
Question #1: When are you most confident and least confident in your sport?
Tip #1: Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper. At the top of the left column, write, “situations in my sport in which I am most confident,” and on the right side, “situations in my sport in which I am least confident.” Write at least three situations in each column to help you visualize.
Question #2: Have you incorporated mental imagery into your pre-race or pre-game routine?
Tip #2: Establish a specific time and place to do your mental imagery. Think about successful performances and use all of your senses. Try to think about what it looks and sounds like when you’re in the right place to be successful.
Question #3: Do you perform any exercises or do you use positive self-talk to boost your self-confidence?
Tip #3: Talk to other athletes on your team whom you admire to see if they use positive self-talk. Write three positive self-statements on index cards and review them each morning and before you go to sleep at night.
Question #4: Do you study your opponent’s weaknesses and strategize pre-game on how you can leverage your strengths over your opponent?
Tip #4: Begin to pay closer attention to your own tactical strengths and weaknesses. Write down three examples of each. For each game or match, write down the major weakness of your opponent to keep it fresh in your mind.
Question # 5: Is there a coach or someone on your support team who can actively instill confidence through the power of words or remind you of past successful performances?
Tip #5: Pay close attention to your coach’s words of praise. Write them down and repeat them to yourself. Commit them to memory, so that when you are in a pressure situation, they will automatically come to mind.