Research suggests a strong link between self-confidence and successful athletic performance. If an athlete has a strong sense of self-confidence and truly believes he or she can achieve success in their sport, that athlete is more likely have accomplish their goals. If they believe that they are not capable of achieving something, then they are less likely to.
As written in an article entitled “The Power of Self-Confidence” on Australian website GameDay by Fox Sports Pulse, self-confidence for an athlete has to be at the right level to maximize success—if it is too high or too low, it will not provide the motivation for the athlete to achieve their desired success.
Low Self-Confidence: The article states that “Athletes with a low level of self-confidence tend to be negative about themselves and perform poorly.” These athletes often underestimate their capabilities. Signs that an athlete has a low self-confidence level: they are overly critical of themselves, they don’t focus on their strengths, and they are not able to use goal-setting techniques that can lead to improvement.
High Self-Confidence: First, there are the positives of having a high level of self-confidence. A highly confident athlete is generally aware of their strengths, and what they are capable of achieving along with the believe they can realize their capabilities. They also acknowledge their weaknesses and deficiencies, and are driven to eliminate them. However, it is possible for an athlete’s confidence to be too high. If an athlete over-estimate their abilities, they can become frustrated and depressed when they fall short of their goals. This can decrease the motivation, effort and commitment they are prepared to make.
The article list 5 areas that an athlete can focus on to increase self-confidence:
• Role Models: Encourage the athlete to watch another athlete of a similar or slightly higher standard perform. This reinformces the belief that “I can do that too.”
• Body Language and Walk: The article states: “How an athlete carries him or herself, moves and walks can affect what they think and how they feel.” There’s a lot to be said for the “Body Language of Confidence”—head held high, chin up, shoulders back, and bounce in the step.
• Coping Strategies: Confident athletes are more likely to adapt coping mechanisms—such as putting your thoughts on paper, relaxation techniques, silent prayer, etc.—when dealing with conflict or challenges as an athlete.
• Social Comparison: Rather than regularly compare themselves with athletes who are better than them, highly confident athletes make comparisons against their own past performances.