3 Steps to Help Build Prime Confidence in Sports
A couple weeks ago I looked at four strategies to help build prime confidence in sports. In this post I want to elaborate more on one of the areas, which is using mental skills to help build confidence in sports. In the last post I dug more deeply into how preparation can help with confidence and mental strategies you can apply to help build confidence. Mental skills are another way to help build deeper and long laster confidence. Specially I am going to look at how to use them to help you during your competition. It is important to have tools and strategies in the middle of your performance to help you with your confidence so all the preparation you did doesn't get flushed.
Mental skills will help you continue to build on the confidence you have built from other techniques and strategies.
Tip #1 - The power of self talk
Self talk is probably the most important tool to help you with your confidence in the middle of competition. You can be exceptionally well prepared, but if your self talk is negative or creates a lot of self doubt you can "flush" the confidence you built through your preparation. Self talk doesn't have to be super positive in nature to help, but it is important to move away from negative self talk. Sometimes the best self talk in the moment is neutral self talk. Which I describe as in the moment action focused self talk. Focusing on what is right in front of you and the action step you can take to align yourself with your best.
Neutral self talk comes from not elaborating on what is going on, and taking it as is, and then finding the action step you can take. For example, if you are a soccer player if you are not getting open for passes or find you are in the wrong position. The neutral self talk might be on getting your feet moving.
Tip #2 - Imagery
Imagery is another great tool to use during your competition to help you with your confidence. If you have made a mistake, instead of using self talk and thinking about how to fix the mistake which can lead to overthinking and more mistakes. When you have the time you can do a bit of imagery around the different situations you would have liked to do things differently and see yourself performing in the manner in which you would like. This helps you teach yourself what you want, and create a positive mental rep.
Also, when you have time, rather than do imagery around something you did that you didn't like. you can do some highlight reels. Seeing yourself making good plays, and reminding yourself of the skills you have and how you are capable of performing.
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan
Tip #3 - Arousal Control
Regulating your emotions is also an important aspect of your confidence during a competition. Your emotions can drain your energy, and derail your performance and how you feel you are doing. If you are getting super frustrated, you will view situations through that lens, leading to a more negative frame of mind, and seeing things more negatively. You know what you feel like when you are confident, you know what types of emotions exist for you. Being able to regulate this, and being able to find yourself back there when you are drifting away is what great athletes do.
Your mental skills are key to your confidence
Focus on building these three mental skills and your ability to implement them during your performance to help you have the prime confidence needed to succeed. Helping athletes build prime confidence is one of the big topics we work on a daily basis, if you are ready to have solid, deep and long lasting confidence reach out and find out how we can help you through one of our programs.
To your success,
Kate Allgood, Owner
About: Kate Allgood is trained in the field of applied sport psychology. She holds two graduate degrees in psychology where she graduated with distinction. She has spent the past 12+ years working one on one with high school, college, Olympic, and professional athletes to help them with their mindset, mental performance and mental skills training. Kate has also been a consultant for professional teams, including the Anaheim Ducks primary minor league affiliate the San Diego Gulls, to help the team and players develop their mental game.