How to Build Trust and Confidence in your Game
Confidence and trust in your skills go hand-in-hand.
Without confidence, you won’t believe in your ability to perform under pressure. Without developing trust in your skills, you won’t have confidence heading into a competition.
So, which comes first, trust or confidence?
And how do you develop these mental skills to allow you to perform at your peak?
Let’s examine the mental skills of confidence and trust:
What is Confidence?
- Believing you have the physical and mental attributes to perform a skill.
- Having the belief you can develop needed skills through training and practice.
- Believing in your ability to perform a skill in competition despite pressure.
What is Trust?
- Knowing that you have put in the physical reps to let it happen and rely on muscle memory during play.
- Simplifying your game during competition.
- Being decisive and playing athletically. Staying in the present with little or no thought about the outcome.
As you can see, confidence and trust influence each other. Let’s simplify. Trust is built through repetition and practice… And confidence is fostered through preparation and recognition of your successes, improvements, and positive qualities.
When you lack trust or confidence, you under-perform or are hesitant in competition.
Point Guard Ben Simmons Uses Trust and Confidence to Boost his Performance
For example, Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons, a four-year veteran, is known for his aggressive defense and passing, but he is also known for his hesitancy in taking outside jump shots, especially from three-point range.
In his first three seasons, Simmons only attempted 3 shots from the 3-point line going 1-for-3. In the first few games of the 2020-21 season, Simmons has attempted two 3-pointers and made both.
Simmons has been practicing and working on his 3-point shot before games and in practices, developing both confidence and trust in his shot. It is clear that Simmons’ work has paid off.
Simmons commented on one of his three-pointers this season against the Orlando Magic. With no hesitancy, Simmons just released the ball with no conscious thought or worry about the outcome.
SIMMONS: “I came down [court]… Joel (Embiid) threw [the ball] to me in the corner, and I let that go. Joel [Embid] threw the pass, he knew I was gonna put it up. It was a shot that I work on, corner 3s. I feel comfortable taking it so I knocked it down.”
Teammate Seth Curry talked about his confidence in Simmons’ ability to knock down three-pointers.
CURRY: “I’ve seen him make it in practice, and I know he can knock it down. Especially from the corner, so it’s just a matter of him doing it in a game and stepping into it with confidence. It didn’t look like there was too much hesitation on the shot, and I expected it to go in, to be honest.”
When you work on your physical skills, without self-judgment or harsh criticism, you build the needed trust and confidence to perform at your peak under the pressure of competition.
How to Build Trust and Confidence:
Practice, prepare, test your skills, and repeat…
Visualize yourself performing the skill successfully in competition. When you visualize, you imprint those images in your mind and build the trust and confidence necessary to be successful in competitions.
Visualize or mentally rehearse yourself playing freely and athletically during your warm-up routine. Get into the mindset that all your practice is behind you and it’s time to just compete.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- How to Build Mental Toughness
- How Athletes Deal with Stress
- How to Overcome the Fear of Negative Outcomes
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