A lack of confidence can lead to self-doubt, fear, and reluctance to take on new challenges.
That doesn´t sound like a path to success, and that is what makes a healthy amount of confidence so important.
Sports are multi-dimensional. There is overall confidence, and there are areas athletes can be more confident than others. While knowing which zone is well equipped with confidence, athletes also know the parts they are mentally strong. This awareness is a great tool when it comes to competition. Athletes can and should focus on everything they are strong at. This sets the athlete in a totally different mental place than hoping for the best in the areas where the confidence is not as developed.
It doesn´t necessarily mean that an athlete is not good in the area the confidence is weak. Sometimes the athlete is just not sure about the level of the skill set. It also can be that the athlete would like to be even better at a certain skill, that already is at a high level. Both can cause a lack of confidence, even when there seems to be no reason. Becoming aware of that will have a big impact.
As I said in Seven Steps on How to Build Confidence as a Young Athlete, confidence is a state of mind that reflects our belief in our ability and not actually the ability itself.
For the time a competition is about to get started, it is obviously more beneficial to focus on the areas the confidence is developed.
Here are five benefits that come with confidence:
- The right amount of confidence sends out a great vibe, which by the way, is impossible to fake in the long run. This doesn´t have the goal of making your competitors nervous! This would distract you from the things you need to focus on and doesn´t have the same vibe. But the “real vibe” saves you from getting distracted by others.
- You are going to be very motivated for the race. When owning your strong areas, it is exciting to get them to use to pursue your goal.
- You are resilient. That helps to adjust to unplanned situations and difficulties that make a competition extra challenging.
- Confidence reduces stress and anxiety. Which frees up a lot of energy to use for performance.
- And it makes everything just more fun. And when you have fun, everything becomes much easier, exciting
Back to the scenario, when someone has all the skills, the mind just doesn´t believe strongly enough in it. The first step would be to accept that. Trying to be confident and talking yourself into it is not the same, then actually owning it. If this is the case for you, I want to invite you to think that also confidence has all sorts of levels. Even when you are not at the level you would like to be, what is the level you are at? When an athlete is good at something, there is also some sort of confidence; it´s not as zero. High achievers just also want to achieve the highest level of confidence. This might not be necessary to still have the benefits above.
Here is a little call to action. If you struggle with confidence, rate from 0 - 10 at what level you are. You will see there is some confidence you can benefit from.
Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)
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