The Keys to Confidence: A Skill Worthy of your Attention
You probably know what confidence can do for you… But do you know what you can do for confidence?
Maybe you think confidence is something you have and not something you can improve…
Let’s dispel the myth that confidence is a trait or something genetically disposed.
The truth is there is no confidence gene. Confidence is a skill, moreover, a mental skill.
The definition of skill is the ability to use your knowledge to effectively produce a desired outcome.
By definition, skill requires two components:
- A desired result
As for knowledge, you need to learn specific strategies to develop confidence. Secondly, you must repeatedly focus on developing the mental skill of confidence, if you want to be proficient enough to reap the benefits of confidence in competition.
Tennis player Madison Keys is a great example of the power of confidence…
Keys struggled during the 2014 and 2015 seasons with inconsistent results and injury. In 2016 Keys hired coach Thomas Hogstead, and strategically dedicated herself to the hard work of building a confident mindset both on and off the court. The result was increased speed, strength and the ability to trust her game. Her mental focus shifted to staying confident even when times were tough.
Two strategies Keys utilizes to foster confidence:
- Refocusing on the positive with her internal dialogue.
- Learning not to panic under tough conditions.
Keys: “You look at my scores and there’s lulls and stuff but I feel like before it would spiral really quickly.”
“Now I’m stopping it and getting better at that. I think it’s that confidence of knowing ‘Don’t panic, you can do this.’ I think the biggest thing is knowing that those thoughts of panic are probably going to go into your brain and just accepting it. So that’s been the biggest thing. Not fighting it and trying to think I’m going to have the perfect mentality the entire time.”
The Skill-Building Confidence Pay-off:
Madison Keys finished the 2016 regular season with a 46-15 record, making it to the Australian Open semifinals and the quarterfinal at Wimbledon. Keys became the first American woman to make the top ten since the Williams Sisters in 1999. Currently ranked #7 in the WTA world rankings, Keys will compete for the first time in the 2016 BNP Paribas WTA Finals, October 23-30 in Singapore.
Keys: “But I also think it’s a process. It’s being ready to handle the situation has been a big thing for me. I think I’m putting myself in those positions and handling them a lot better. That just gives me more confidence. The more I’m in those tough situations, the better I feel about them.”
If Keys can improve her game by working on the mental skill of confidence, so can you!
Tardio Tips: 3 amazing strategies to dramatically amp up your confidence:
- Like Keys, use confident language. Talk to yourself just like you would your best friend. Be positive and supportive. Talk yourself up instead of putting yourself down
- View tough competition as a way to vault your game to the next level. You can’t be great unless you step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.
- Start a success journal. Look for all those little successes in your training and matches and write them down in a notebook. Call it “My Book of Successes.” Celebrating little successes has a huge impact of confidence.
To learn more about the skill of mental confidence, check out:
Five Reasons to Love Mistakes in Tennis
Grit in Sports Equals Mental Toughness
To find out more about Working with Coach Amy:
Free 15-Minute Mental Coaching Session Contact Perform Sports Psychology