Working Hard Leads to Confidence
What is the key to athletic success? You can give dozens of answers to the this question. However, I’m sure we can all agree that working hard is part of the equation.
A diligent work ethic doesn’t just improve technical skills and physiological capabilities. Hard work has a mental benefit; it leads to higher confidence.
When you put in dedicated practice to improve your skills, you also improve confidence… And that confidence leads to success. When you buy into this equation, you become motivated to put in the effort continually.
Just because an athlete has the physical attributes (strength, size, speed, power, etc.) doesn’t guarantee success. Too often, athletes rely on their natural gifts and gradually peter out. These athletes waste their talents because they don’t buy into the value of hard work.
You will often feel too tired to put in the effort during training. This is the point where an athlete’s mental skills kick in. When you are exhausted during a training session, you can focus on how your body feels or concentrate on pushing hard for the next minute.
When you have made a few mistakes in practice, you can decide to give in for the day and go through the motions, or you can choose to hit the reset button and focus on the next drill.
You can choose to work as hard as some of your teammates, or you can set a practice goal of outworking those on your team.
As you can see, hard work is as much mental as physical…
Resting on natural ability does not build confidence but relying on hard work does. Confidence comes from something you do, not something you have.
In the NBA, you often see players play better than expected when they receive an opportunity. Boston Celtics backup point guard Payton Pritchard has reaped the benefits of hard work. Pritchard was the 26th pick in 2020, and his work ethic has earned him playing time.
Teammate and Boston Celtics leading scorer Jaylen Brown has taken notice of Pritchard’s work ethic.
BROWN: “[Pritchard] is a guy that’s talented, and he wants to prove himself… So it was tough on him in stretches where he didn’t play as much and things like that. But Payton got a great work ethic, so I think that supersedes it all. He has a great mentality, and that’s half the battle.”
Brown also highlighted how Pritchard’s hard work had built unshakeable confidence in his game.
BROWN: [Pritchard’s] belief in himself and his confidence in himself is high… Payton is one of those people that he’s never going to give up on himself; he always believes in himself no matter what the situation is. It doesn’t matter if the cards are stacked up against him; Payton is the type of guy to bet on himself.”
Hard work improve your mental and physical game. A diligent work ethic gives you the confidence to trust your skills in competition.
Dedicated Training Sessions
Practice and training in not just about the time your spend in training. Quality practice is about focus and high intensity, and practicing in a way that matches what you do in competition.
One way to keep your effort and intensity high in training is to break up your practice into sections.
If you have a 1.5-hour practice, you can break it down to three 30 minutes sessions in your mind. Concentrate on giving max effort and focus throughout the 30-minute session.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- The Mindset to Perform at a Higher Level
- Having Fun While Performing at Your Best
- The Importance of Mental Toughness
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