Raising Resilient Athletes


Seven Septs on How to Build Confidence as a Young Athlete


Confidence is something an athlete can have naturally, it can be acquired, it can get lost, we can have a lot of it, not much at all, and everything in between. 

Let´s talk first about what we mean when we are talking about confidence.

Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance and trust in our abilities or qualities. 

It´s often described as a state of mind that reflects our belief in our ability to achieve a goal successfully. This is already saying that confidence is in our minds, which means that we need to convince our minds to believe in our abilities. 

How do we do that? Various factors, including past experiences, knowledge, and skills, influence confidence. That´s why training and racing are so important - it´s loaded with experience. When we do the things that bring us to our goal, we also get to know the process and all the details, which increases our knowledge. I think it´s also clear that we improve our skills when we are working on them. In short: Our body shows our mind, that it can be confident about what we are doing or trying to do. 

Why is confidence important?

Athletes who are confident tend to have a positive outlook and are more likely to take risks and try new things. They are also more likely to be resilient and able to bounce back from setbacks or failures. This is important because sport comes with setbacks. I don´t no one successful athletes, who never had to deal with disappointing results, injuries, being sick at the worst time possible, or other occasions in this context. Having a positive attitude and confidence to be able to bounce back is critical, because those situations will appear. In case you didn´t know yet, a setback is a normal thing, part of the whole journey and nothing you need to feel bad about. Successful athletes are the ones, who overcame those setbacks. 

Steps to take to build confidence

Building confidence can be a challenging task, but there are several steps you can take to work on boosting your self-confidence:

  1. Set a small goal for yourself and work on a skill you need to achieve it. This is very tenable, and something you don´t need much confidence for, but commitment. With this new skill, performance will go up. The goal, in this case, could have been as small as getting the kind of skill you picked, to the next level. Your belief in working on the right things got boosted, and with it, your confidence to be able to take the next step. 
  2. Seeing the positive side of things. Once you experience what one improved skill can do for you and your confidence, you can remind yourself of your strengths and successes in the past. When negative thoughts come back, find the fact behind the thought. Behind a fact, it´s easier to find what positive could come with that, then you would find it through your thoughts. I usually try to find what the lesson could be when things go downhill.
  3. This brings us to the next step, getting comfortable with taking risks and making mistakes. They show us where we can improve next. No one is perfect, and it's okay to make mistakes. Instead of dwelling on them, learn from them.
  4. Seek out new challenges and experiences. They don´t have to be extraordinary. Giving a new level of training load or a different way of doing a specific movement in your sport can help you build confidence in your abilities to develop new skills. It makes you more flexible in the way you can react to unexpected situations.  
  5. Surround yourself with supportive people and driven teammates. Having people around who push and encourage you when you need it is incredibly helpful. Sometimes, I would not have known what's possible to do if I would not have seen others actualy doing it. To experience doing it yourself is confidence boosting. So let others cheer you on when you need it.
  6. You master a healthy amount of confidence when you are excited to check out the next step, with being fine trying to take this step multiple times. Because confidence comes from experience and every one of those steps is an experience made. 
  7. Be prepared! To have confidence in what we want to achieve we either thinks, that will be easy to do, but the better idea is, that we know, what we are going to do. Which comes back to knowing from experience and preparing through training the skills needed. Having this, confidence should be a side effect. 

Remember, building confidence is a process, and it may take time. Be patient with yourself and keep working at it.

Building confidence can also be a little bit of a roller coaster. That´s why I recommend not overstretching it but building it up on a solid foundation. In this way, the fall down is not to low when over pushing the attempt to build confidence. It´s fits a little in the concept I described in "Never Underestimate the Basics"

Now enjoy building your confidence!

Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)


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