Developing Stable Confidence in Sports
Do you or your athletes succumb to the big moments in competition? Does all your hard-earned confidence (from practice) evaporate when you go into competition?
If this sounds like you or athletes you coach, fragile confidence is a common theme for many people who contact us at Peak Performance Sports.
What is fragile confidence?
Fragile confidence is when your confidence rapidly shifts from day to day or even moment-to-moment depending on how you are performing.
The same can be said for athletes who feel more confident in their practice, but then lose confidence when they step into competition. They have high practice confidence, but low competitive confidence.
Here’s an example from Michael, a collegiate athlete, who loses confidence in big competitions:
“My whole life I’ve been regarded as having an excellent physical game, but in the big moments, a lot of the time I come up short mentally. I struggle with confidence in big tournaments. I use breathing techniques, visualization, and self-talk to try and consistently bring out the best in my game. But more often than not I see myself succumb to the pressure of big moments. What changes can I make to my mental outlook to increase my confidence in these situations?”
First, why would you have high confidence in practice and the very next day confidence evaporates when you step into competition? It’s not clear until you look closely at your entire mental game.
Here are the top reasons athletes lose confidence in competition…
- Doubt your ability or training
- Are intimidated by the competition
- Have a past history of choking in big events
- Have a fear of failure and the tension chokes you
- Worrying too much about disappointing others
- Attempt to perform perfectly in competition
In Michael’s case: The use techniques, such as breathing and visualization, are only Band-Aids. They do not address the real issues… The real culprit are about other mental game factors, such as intimidation or fear of failure.
Therefore, it’s important to look are your entire mental game. What are the top confidence killers that undermine your confidence when you go from practice to competition?
4 Tips to help you or your athletes develop more stable confidence:
1. Have a long-term mindset about confidence. How many years of experience do you have in your sport–5, 10, or more years? That’s how long you have been working on your confidence. Don’t allow one day or mistakes to rock your confidence.
2. Fear of failure is the biggest issue for athletes who lose confidence in competition. When you are tense and afraid to play your game, performance suffers, and it then feels like you have less confidence. Ask yourself: What’s the biggest fear I have about competition that makes me hold back or be tense?
3. Focus on your talents instead of the strengths of the competition. When you put others on a pedestal–thinking they are better than you–you risk feeling less confident. Remind yourself of your own talents and strengths as an athlete.
4. Let go of trying harder or being more perfect. Both mindsets lead you to more tension, being overly serious, and lack of trust in your skills. During big moments, many athletes make the mistake or trying too hard to win. Very few athletes can be “gamers” and raise their performance in competition compared to practice.
When you understand how you undermine confidence in competition, you are much closer to developing stable self-confidence.
If you enjoy reading my mental game tips, please forward this blog post to others athletes, coaches, or parents who would appreciate it.
The fastest way to improve your mental game is by meeting with me one-on-one to learn important mental strategies for your situation. Read more:
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our students saying?
“WOW!!! What a week I had. I was able to perform with a confidence that allowed my style to shine through–no more entering the arena with that “deer in the headlights” look or feeling. I stopped evaluating myself while I was performing, and I actually left the arena after my patterns feeling like I had experienced a lot of fun. Thank you so much.”
~Julia Dreyer, National Champion Equestrian
For All Athletes – Learn Confidence-Boosting Techniques!
D you have a negative self-image of yourself as an athlete that stifles confidence?
No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?
Have you labeled yourself as a loser, poor closer, or mediocre athlete and these labels keep you stuck in a rut of self-pity and indecision?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Confident Athlete!
The Confident Athlete CD and workbook program is a 14-day plan for ultimate self-confidence. This program is ideal for any athlete or coach that wants to discover proven confidence-boosting techniques guaranteed to drastically build self-confidence and improve sports performance.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
What are customers saying?
“I first purchased The Confident Athlete to see how the program went and immediately saw results. I then purchased the rest of the confident athlete series and have noticed a dramatic improvement in my level of play or should I say consistency. I currently play NCAA Division 1 baseball for Lamar University, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I approach the game. My attitude and confidence at the plate.”
~Tylor Prudhomme (Listen to his success story)
“I am a ASP world qualifying professional surfer and after beginning the ‘The Confident Athlete’ I had an almost instant change in attitude about my own surfing ability and my mindset going into competition. By using the Confident Athlete strategies, my confidence has done a complete 180 degrees. I won a local pro/am a few weeks back, and just had my best result of the year in one the last big events on the world circuit this last week in Brazil! It is my secret weapon!”
~Shaun Burrell, Professional Surfer (Listen to his success story)
For Young Athletes and Parents – Learn More About How to Help Kids Improve Confidence Quickly!
We’ve got a great program for you called “The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence.”
The Confident Sports Kid is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athlete’s performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid is two programs in one. There’s a manual and CD for parents/coaches, and a workbook/CD for young athletes.
Packed with mental strategies that you and your kids can start using immediately, this program teaches your athletes how to identify confidence busters, proactively deal with them, manage expectations that undermine confidence, and mentally prepare to stay confident when faced with adversity.
What’s more, our program teaches you, as sports parents and coaches, how you may be hurting your kids’ confidence and gives you instructions for changing your behavior in ways that will improve your athletes’ performance, confidence and enjoyment.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Sports Kid Series…
What are parents and coaches saying about our program?
“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach
For Mental Coaches – Add More Value To Your Mental Training Programs!
This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.
For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.
For sports coaches, you’ll be able to conduct 15 team seminars using the workbook system.
In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.
What are coaches saying?
“I am really pleased with the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks – they are fitting in really well with my coaching! I find they offer a great framework for doing workshop sessions. I have also used the workbooks with a few individual athletes – for the younger ones (12 and under). They are giving a good structure and framework to our sessions. The workbooks have worked well with all of them!”
~Kerri Morgan, Mental Game Coach
“I am impressed with the willingness and openness of Dr. Cohn to share all of his assets (intellectual, products, etc.) with the MGCP students. You have developed an incredible model/package for mental training. Even though we are paying for your service, you are passing on a legacy built on your contribution to the world of sports. Thank you for that.”
~Tony Melito, MGCP