How Confidence Affects Sports Performance

Confidence is everything in sports and even in daily life. Flipping the switch between being cautious and explosive may mean the difference between gaining a step on your opponent or having your opponent blow by you. Self-confidence is defined as one’s ability to believe in their skills to perform a specific task with the use of high-quality judgment and one’s abilities.  

Confidence can be very specific to the person given the situation they find themselves in, or an innate skill that presents itself in any situation. Confidence in training sessions is just as important as confidence in sport. In training scenarios specifically, the ability to continuously perform a drill will translate into higher self-confidence because the athlete knows they can overcome the challenge that presents itself, and when it comes to sport, the athlete’s innate performance will shine because of the countless hours they have put into the skill. Performance abilities are the strongest contributor to confidence. Knowing as an athlete that “I am better than anyone on the field” may come off as being arrogant, but is important because, with this positive self-talk and the hours and hours of training, the athlete has the skills to allow them to really feel like, or be, the best player on the field. Skills learned in training sessions are used to better the athlete's physical ability, as well as growth for their mental capacity. Because they will be wanting to try more challenging drills, that will translate into higher performance in sports.

Athletes that believe they have the ability to overcome any challenge thrown their way are so crucial to themselves and to their teammates. When the athlete believes in themselves, nothing will get in their way and they will overcome the challenges they face. Why? Because of confident self-talk. Now, how can we practice stepping into the spotlight with confidence and producing excellence? Simple. Before we step into the spotlight, it is helpful to picture the potential future scenario in our head and visualize ourselves in excellence - like scoring that basket, or scoring that goal, or hitting that home run - because when we visualize achieving greatness, we are building up the confidence that we need to be successful. Visualization helps to calm us down so nerves do not overwhelm us at the moment. This calming effect will overcome our entire body and the combination of positive self-talk, imagery, and knowing you have the ability of greatness after putting in the hours of work in training leads to succeeding in whatever you set out to achieve.


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