Sport confidence is viewed by many athletes as one great big Catch-22 proposition:
“I need confidence to win, but I need to win to gain confidence!”
Even veteran athletes question their confidence…
“How can I maintain confidence after a loss? Is it possible to play confidently in my next competition after a terrible performance?”
Of course, confidence is essential to play your best and reach new levels in your sport. But there are several misconceptions about confidence that may very well stunt your confidence growth.
Let’s examine some myths regarding sports confidence:
- Losses lower an athlete’s confidence – It is not a loss that lowers an athlete’s confidence but their take-away from the loss that determines the effect it has on their confidence.
- If you are a “confident athlete,” you will always win – Confidence is a huge factor in success but not the only factor.
- A player needs to win to gain confidence – Success breeds confidence but you can experience many successes in a competition without being the victor.
- You either have confidence or you don’t – There are varying degrees of confidence. So confidence can be increased through training.
- Confident athletes are always confident – Every athlete will have some challenges to maintaining confidence. No one is confident 100% of the time.
One of the most confident athletes in any sport is Serena Williams.
Williams has been on a tear during the 2015 WTA season with an impressive record of 43-1 and three Major titles. Williams has the rare opportunity to complete the Grand Slam by winning the upcoming U.S. Open.
Despite all her success, Williams hit a speed bump recently losing only her second match of the season to 18 year-old Belinda Bencic, 3 6, 7 5, 6 4 at the Rogers Cup.
Williams put the loss in perspective… The loss was not due to a lack of ability but a lack of execution. Basically, Williams viewed the loss no different than a bad day at the office.
WILLIAMS: “Today was not my day, and hopefully I can rectify that going into next week and then going into hopefully the Open.”
Williams didn’t dwell on the loss, which would only serve to detract from her confidence. Instead, Williams looked for the opportunity to learn and grow from the loss.
WILLIAMS: “Every loss for me is a big learning session and a learning experience. So I’m looking forward to learning and getting better from this.”
Improving Your Confidence Game:
Look at the big picture…
Be realistic with your expectations for competitions.
You will experience a myriad of ups and downs throughout your competitive career… Despite the results, find your personal successes.
By giving yourself credit for each success and working on aspects of your game that need improvement, your confidence will grow.