How to build self-confidence in athletes

Confidence building training


With one of the biggest sporting final’s approaching a battle is about to be played out!!! But between the super star headlines, fast cars, big houses and diamond watches, what I see underneath is the sacrifice of each and every player has made in their life for this moment.

Each athletes journey for sure is a book or even a movie…. Their journey often echoed in the college corridors for years after. College level football reflects how high the standards and support of the national game really is with tens of thousands of spectators at each game. In the real world you are the decision maker on the path you set out and the journey you choose to make. The hidden reality is many sport clubs and in particular academies are very limited to truly nurturing and supporting performance to the highest level. Very short term decisions are made consistently because the present game is more important than the wider picture of the future of the athlete.

Now take a topic like confidence, which is a topic well reserached and talked about, however, an area of the game that is rarely supported with athletes. It is often assumed once you reach high level sport you are always incredibly confident. However, the very nature of sport challenges and acts to disrupt performance, this can be crippling for many athletes.

Remember the confidence idea can be affected in multiple ways by coaches and back room support staff through feedback, poor performances, significant training sessions, lifestyles and the media, all these result in some form of evaluation by the athlete. My experience in elite sport often reflected the lack of support in these situations and rather than nurturing future performance the sacrifice to be the best in the moment would cloud decisions, often at the cost of the athlete. Very few coaches in my experience truly value each and every athlete in the squad, not just the current superstars. It is from this premise that you as a performer have to constantly evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Just because a coach has a badge on their shirt i would still ask the question ‘do they truly represent the direction you are going’…..

If you are a coach, backroom support staff or a parent and want to facilitate, support and nurture an individual in pursuit of their dreams then use the steps below to assist in breaking down the situation.

So if their is a barrier (In this case the idea of confidence) and you want to uncover a deeper understanding of the experience use the 6 steps below to help you move forwards……

  1. How specifically do you want to be confident about yourself? (e.g. do you want to be confident in your ability to win the game, catching the ball, kicking goals etc..)
  2. How are you behaving/performing now in relation to your previous answer?
  3. Which belief specifically sustains this behaviour?
  4. What’s the purpose/intention of this belief (what do you get)?
  5. Repeat question 4 until the answer gets to a level where the desired behaviour could be easily generated – for example,”a calm mind allowed easily for accurate kicking”. Also, check the answer is stated in the positive (i.e. what it is instead of what it’s not e.g. ‘don’t miss shot’ may become ‘hit the target’) and where choice is opened up.
  6. Devise alternative ways of directly meeting the intention stated in 5 and rehearse them until they are natural..

These questions are one of the ways to help break down the higher level order of structures and assist an athlete to understand their situation and to provide alternative ways to deal with problems.

Many athletes are kinaesthetic aware as a natural byproduct of being involved in sport. Subsequently, a technique I have have used is visualization. Learn how to effectively visualize, understand what specifically to do and when to apply the variations in my exclusive audio. This is a unique bitsize series that will assist any performance to build and grow the confidence required to achieve excellence. Here is the Audio download