Do you want to be a more confident performer?
Confidence is the belief in yourself that you can achieve what you want to achieve. It sounds simple enough, but any athlete will tell you that sometimes it feels impossible to be a confident performer.
There are so many things that can affect your confidence and everyone is different in what makes them feel confident. One thing that seems to be consistent across most athletes is that there are decisions they can consciously make to enhance confidence.
Here are seven actions you can choose to become a more confident performer:
Action #1: Remind yourself of your past successes
When have you had success as an athlete? A success could be as small as having a good practice or as big as winning a championship, and everything in between.
Make a list of some of your best moments as an athlete and keep that somewhere you will see it regularly (next to your bed, in your gym bag/locker, etc.). When you’re feeling low on confidence remind yourself of everything you have accomplished so far and continue to add to that list as new goals are met.
Action #2: Be prepared
There is nothing that can kill your confidence quicker than feeling unprepared for a practice or competition. Reflect on what you need to feel prepared for each situation. Everything from the amount of sleep you get, what you eat, having any equipment/uniform you need, drinks and snacks, pre-performance routines, etc.
Never wait until the last minute to get ready. Instead plan ahead and diminish any stress or nerves that come with feeling unprepared.
Action #3: Practice self-compassion
Being kind to yourself can be easier said than done, especially when you’re having a bad practice or competition. Athletes often beat themselves up after making a mistake or when they are struggling with a skill. Unfortunately all that does is make them feel even less confident and can lead to mental blocks, low self-esteem, or giving up.
To avoid this kind of thinking, try to talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend who’s having a bad day. You would never tell your friend that they aren’t good enough or will never get that skill, so don’t tell yourself that either.
Action #4: Change your body language
Take about a week to notice your body language. What does your body do when you’re feeling like a confident performer? What about when you’re feeling scared or nervous?
Our brain takes cues from our body. If you’re hunched over or looking down, have your arms wrapped around stomach, or are biting your nails (or whatever your body does when nervous) you are sending signs to your brain that you are indeed scared.
If you stand tall with your chin up, smile, or strike a power pose (think superhero pose!) then your brain is going to take that as a signal that everything is okay and you’re feeling confident. Make a conscious effort to be aware of your body language and choose something that makes you feel confident and powerful.
Action #5: Imagine future success
Imagery is most effective when all of the senses are utilized. It’s not enough to just close your eyes and see yourself performing. You have to see it, hear it, feel it, smell it…make the experience as real as possible.
Making imagery a daily practice results in a more confident and positive athlete. Make sure whatever you are imagining is done perfectly every single time in your mind. If you find you are imagining yourself falling, messing up, or getting hurt, stop your imagery. Take a break and go back to it later.
Negative imagery can make a nervous performer even less confident.
Action #6: Start and finish your day with positivity
One of the best ways to start and/or end your day is with a few minutes of journaling. Writing down something you’re grateful for that day. Writing down three things that went well at practice, something you learned that day, one thing you’re proud of yourself for, etc. can have a huge impact on your attitude at the beginning and end of the day.
Other ways to start your morning off right are to set a daily goal, write and say positive affirmations, or doing a few minutes of mindfulness. Going to bed with a positive mindset can help you sleep better and prevent overthinking or ruminating over a mistake you made.
Action #7: Choose to be a confident performer
Finally, make a choice that you will be confident today. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.
Walk into every practice and competition having made the choice that no matter what happens you will be a confident athlete because that’s your choice and no one can take that away from you.
Those are 7 actions you can take to become a more confident performer.
If you’d like to learn more about the PerformHappy community, our mental training membership for athletes, you can click here. Also, we have a free training on how to overcome fear in sport. Sign up today to learn how to build lasting sport confidence.