How to Build Confidence Like the Pros

How to Build Confidence Like the Pros

How can you be a confident starter when you rarely start?

Many athletes become highly anxious after their coach tells them they will start the next game when they have played minimal minutes.

The fear of making mistakes or costing your team the game is overwhelming when you view yourself as the “weak link.”

Imagine the following scenario.

You haven’t played much all season and are relatively “comfortable” in a bench role. You feel little to no pressure since you believe the chance of playing significant minutes is low.

As the regular season winds down and your team is in the playoff hunt, one of the starters suffers an injury, and you are called upon to start the next competition. The anxiety is overwhelming.

Doubts, fear, and negative self-talk take residence in your mind. You imagine yourself messing up repeatedly, and your confidence is low. Your preparation and performance will suffer when your mind is preoccupied with negativity and distraction.

So, what can you do to gain belief in your abilities? What can you draw on to feel confident?

Many factors feed confidence, and recent playing experience is just one factor.

The Big 3: Three Factors that Build Confidence

The following three sources provide athletes with a significant boost in confidence:

  1. Preparation –  Not only does preparation allow you to build familiarity with potential game circumstances, but it also helps you build your skills and fosters mental readiness.
  2. Learning from Mistakes – When you learn from mistakes, understand the circumstances that lead to those errors, and take corrective action, you build confidence in your ability to make better decisions and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
  3. Drawing on past successes – Focusing on successes, strengths, and positive attributes naturally boosts confidence.

In the middle of the 2023 NFL season, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock was called upon to make his first start since 2021.

With Seattle battling for a playoff spot, Lock is confident in his abilities to get the job done.

LOCK: “I can still go out there and do it. It’s been a long time since I’ve started a game. I’m confident in my legs, confident in the deep ball, confident in just dropping back and living in the pocket. Confident that I’m an NFL quarterback. I can take that away and take that into next week if I do get the chance.”

Lock’s confidence is the combination of many sources:

  • His physical abilities (strong arm, mobility and accuracy).
  • His NFL experience (five years in the NFL with 22 starts).
  • His preparation (Lock mentally and physically prepares for each game as if he is going to play).
  • His past successes (Lock gains confidence from his accomplishments in the past, which fuels his motivation and clarifies his focus).

Diversifying your confidence portfolio involves drawing confidence from many different sources. This diversification helps keep your confidence high through a wide range of circumstances.

You have to invest in your confidence to reap the benefits.

Confidence takes commitment and action to build. Dedicate ten minutes before bedtime to review past successes or the day’s small victories to boost your confidence.

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The Composed Athlete

“The Composed Athlete” is presented on 80-minute Audio Programs with a 70-page step-by-step workbook that guides you through the program each day. It’s a complete system for conditioning your mind to have maximum composure in competition.

The Composed Athlete” was developed for any level coach, parent, or junior to professional athlete who wants to improve performance and gain a competitive edge. It does not matter if you are a fledgling junior athlete; or a seasoned professional, plagued with distractions; or you just wanting to learn how to improve your composure…

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