How to Improve Your Confidence
In any sport, confidence is the #1 mental game skill that helps you (or your athletes) succeed.
How you prepare before competition, react to mistakes, cope with adversity, and internalize others comments, can make or break your confidence.
And if you’re a coach or parent, you play a critical role in helping your athletes’ improve confidence in sports.
In this new 12-part sports confidence series, you’ll learn the top 6 confidence-killers for athletes and the top 6 strategies to boost confidence based on my 20 plus years helping athletes improve their mental game.
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is how strongly an athlete believes in his or her ability to execute any skill or task.
Why is confidence so crucial to your success?
Well, without a high level of confidence, you (or your athletes) simply can’t perform at your best or perform with consistency.
- Confidence helps you play without fear or anxiety.
- Confidence helps you let go of mistakes quicker.
- Confidence helps you to stay calm and composed.
- Confidence allows you take risks and perform assertively instead of tentatively.
- Confidence helps you trust in your skills.
- With high confidence, your overall mental game is better.
A lack of confidence leads to tentative, defensive, afraid-to-take-risks performances.
How do most coaches help athletes improve confidence?
Athletes practice, drill, work out, and take instruction from coaches. Drilling and instruction are necessary to gain competence, which leads to confidence.
But is this where confidence-building stops? Should athletes simply practice more or take additional coaching to gain confidence?
No! This is just the start of building a strong base of confidence.
What about the mental game? The mental game is very important to helping athletes improve confidence and keep it.
You can improve your confidence in two main areas:
- Learn how to overcome the confidence-killers that destroy confidence
- Learn how to be proactive with confidence.
Many athletes do not consider the first step above. But overcoming the confidence killers is half the battle in helping you keep and grow confidence.
Confidence Killer #1: Strict Expectations
Athletes who maintain very high expectations (demands) easily lose confidence when they don’t perform up to their expectations.
For example, some athletes expect to perform perfectly or make no mistakes. Here are a few other examples:
- A baseball player thinks he should go four-for-four at-bat in a baseball game
- A volleyball player thinks she has to play as well as her teammates in every game
- A hockey player thinks he must score two goals every game
- A golfer thinks he should shoot no higher than 75
What’s the problem with high expectations or self-imposed demands?
First, they lead to judgmental thinking. Second, if you don’t perform up to your self-imposed expectations, it’s easy to question yourself and confidence drops quickly.
Don’t confuse expectations with goals. Goals are desirable. You want to set lofty goals for yourself or your team. You strive to achieve goals… Unlike expectations, you don’t HAVE TO achieve your goals.
Unlike goals, expectations become a MUST HAVE situation for athletes. You reach them or you don’t.
In my next mental game tip, I’ll discuss how you can overcome the pitfalls of high expectations that can destroy self-confidence.
Your Mental Game Coach,
Dr. Patrick Cohn
p.s. I help athletes one-on-one with confidence-boosting strategies via our mental training programs. You can learn more here:
Alternatively, you can look into our most popular CD program, “The Confident Athlete” – now available in digital download format:
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