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When athletes feel confident, they are more readily able to turn sporting potential into superior performance. For many athletes, an explanation of the concept of self-confidence is hardly necessary as they know intuitively what it is.
Self-confidence is commonly defined as the sureness of feeling that you are equal to the task at hand. Confidence is related to personality and those who exude self-confidence across a range of contexts, say at work, socially and in their sport, are said to be high in trait confidence. For example, a professional football player may give off vibes suggesting they are high in trait confidence; however, when they are faced with the prospect of saving their team in a penalty shoot-out at a major championship, their state confidence can plummet and this has the potential to wreak havoc on their performance.
Being involved with the success of others can also significantly bolster your confidence, especially if you believe that the performer you are involved with (eg a team-mate) closely matches your own qualities or abilities.
Verbal persuasion is a means of attempting to change the attitudes and behaviour of those around us, and this includes changing their self-confidence.
Imagery experiences have to do with athletes recreating multi-sensory images of successful performance in their mind. Physiological states can reduce feelings of confidence through phenomena such as muscular tension, palpitations and butterflies in the stomach. Emotional states is the final source of self-confidence and relates to how you control the emotions associated with competition, such as excitement and anxiety.
Very recently, research has shown that social support, such as that which comes from a coach or team-mates, can buffer the effects of competitive stress on self-confidence(8). In terms of specific self-confidence interventions, it appears that motivational self-talk has a more positive effect on self-confidence than instructional self-talk(10). A good example of this phenomenon came at the 2004 Athens Olympics when Kelly Holmes outstripped expectations to win two gold medals in the 800 and 1,500 metres. In a further recent study, it was shown that high self-confidence could reduce the intensity or strength of anxiety symptoms, and influence whether they were interpreted as facilitative or debilitative to performance(12). To achieve a greater sense of stability in your confidence, it is necessary to know exactly what causes it to fluctuate. In the first column, list all of the situations or circumstances in your sport in which you feel completely confident.
Now think back to a time in your sporting career when you were performing at the very peak of your ability – perhaps using he first column from Exercise 1 to guide you. In a dissociated state (ie looking at yourself from the outside) examine each of your five senses. Now step into the spotlight and become fully associated so that you are experiencing events through your own eyes and in real time.
Notice exactly what this feels like so that you can reproduce it at will whenever your confidence is waning. Positive self-talk will affirm to you that you possess the skills, abilities, positive attitudes and beliefs that are the building blocks of success.
Make your own list of four or five positive self-statements and read them to yourself every night before you go to bed and every morning as you wake up.
Study video footage of your opponents and analyse what most often causes things to go wrong for them.
In team sports, identify players who are easily wound-up and find out what triggers them to see red. Some opponents will get highly perturbed by what they perceive to be unfair refereeing decisions. When your opponent is having a good run of form, use tactics that slow the match down in order to break their flow.
Music has unique properties, among which is its ability to inspire, motivate and boost one’s confidence(14).
This article should have convinced you that self-confidence is not solely in the hands of fate.
Dr Costas Karageorghis is a reader in sport psychology at Brunel University, west London where he also manages the athletics club. Define Self Confidence in Sports by Kathleen Gasior Sports self-confidence has many faces. If the player looks to build confidence, then we must first discover the reasons why he hasn't any self confidence. Many are also too focused on fixing »wrong« things instead of »improving« their already good things that will eventually make the »wrong« things disappear.
Most sports (and tennis included) have 4 main areas that a player needs to master in order to be a top player: technique, strategy and tactics, physical preparation and mental preparation – toughness.
Every player has some weaknesses in some areas – which are represented in the upper diagram as white areas – holes.
The player may have a technically excellent backhand and can play every possible type of shot with it with good consistency, but his belief is that his backhand is poor. That results of course in fearful, doubtful, indecisive executions of the backhand shot which of course lead to poor results. So the player sees the confirmation of his belief in reality and thus reaffirms his doubt even more strongly. There are two ways of getting rid of those limiting beliefs: affirming the positive side of shots and using logic to weaken the limiting belief. The same principles of mind that made this belief will also be the ones that erase it and make new ones. I will put another article on this topic that will explain why players »break down« and how you can easily understand the process by using the diagram above. If you are diligent with this practice and write down every day just 3 positive things about your game, you'll have 15 positive thoughts about your game in just 5 days. If you then read these positive statements, which are not some out of the air affirmations but your actual notes, then you will feel a great deal of self confidence which will represent your inner strength. Most tennis matches are decided not by a better stroke but by a better tactical play and by a stronger mind.
As children learn the fundamental principles of a certain sport, they will often turn towards their parents to check if they are watching.
Hopefully, they will begin to develop a healthy competitive spirit which will push them to measure themselves against their friends.
Young athletes establish deeper relationships with their peers, and start taking interest in their physical form.


As children’s sense of competition develops in adolescence, their sporting results will likely become more important to them.
Athletes do not compete in order to prove to themselves that they are the person they need to be. Gaining confidence in oneself is the true key to motivation: if I have confidence in myself and what I am able to do, not only am I highly motivated, but I increase my chances of success. As long as an athlete looks outside of themselves for security, confidence and acceptance, victory will elude them. The following visualisation technique will help you increase your motivation and confidence.
WARNING: please check your spam directory in your mailbox if you don't receive the activation email within minutes. Conversely, when they feel unsure of themselves, the slightest setback or smallest hurdle can have an inordinate effect on their performance.
This is precisely what happened to David Beckham when England faced Portugal in the quarter finals of the European Football Championships in June 2004.
Owing to its prevalence in the sport psychology literature and the empirical support it has attracted, I am going to focus solely on the latter.
When you perform any skill successfully, you will generate confidence and be willing to attempt something slightly more difficult. Through creating such mental representations, mastery of a particular task or set of circumstances is far more likely. Very often, the importance of the occasion creates self-doubt, which is why it is essential to control your thoughts and emotions. A large number of studies have shown that higher levels of self-confidence are associated with superior performance. Immediately after Holmes’s second gold medal, the Great Britain 4 x 100-metre relay team composed of Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell, Malcolm Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis took to the track for a final in which they were the rank outsiders.
Essentially, self-confident athletes interpreted their anxiety symptoms as being part and parcel of the competitive experience. In the second column, list the situations or circumstances that sometimes cause your confidence to diminish.
Each movement you made brought about a successful outcome and everything just seemed to flow without much conscious effort.
The statements you choose need to be vivid, should roll off the tongue, and be practiced well in advance of competition.
Through repeated use, they will become embedded in your subconscious and have a profound influence on your sporting performance. Italian defender Marco Materazzi used this technique, albeit in a rather controversial manner, in the final of the 2006 Football World Cup. There are many tunes with inspirational lyrics or strong extra-musical associations that you can use to increase your confidence before competition.
Even when Lady Luck isn’t shining, you are the person responsible for determining how confident you feel in a sporting encounter. It is a belief – trust – faith the player has about him being able to complete a task in the future successfully. If the player has done a good job – practicing hard and with 100% effort, has developed good sound technique, understands the game well and plays a tactically smart game and he thinks that all that is nothing or not very good, than he will not be confident about himself. They see mistakes which may be there, but there are also many good points that the player has but doesn't notice them. The last reason for not being really self confident about himself is the foundation of self confidence – self esteem. This is where his answer will be "no", the constant doubting questions that appear in his mind. The biggest problem for the player are his perceptions of what he is good at, which skills he masters and in which areas he can rely on himself.
So even though in reality his backhand is good (he has no »holes« in that area) he believes that his backhand is poor (perceives a »hole«). They are only interested in their own evolution: in socialising with others and playing in a group, and in taking pleasure from simple motion. The motivations of the early years will fall away, making way for new incentives to continue playing sports. Their bodies are changing, and they are likely to become disorientated by these new elements that are vying for their attention. They will still be interested in what others think of them – not only their parents, but also their coach and peers.
Instead, they compete hoping to better understand themselves – to know their limits and potential.
The confidence that results from a strong sense of self worth will help them understand that they can still succeed even if they make mistakes. Focus on every movement and what its role is in the shot – from the position of your feet to the bending of your knees and the position of your racquet.
Costas Karageorghis explores the nature of self-confidence and presents a theory underlying the causes of self-confidence in sport. You may well know someone whose self-belief has this unshakeable quality, whose ego resists even the biggest setbacks. In the throws of a nail-biting penalty shoot-out, he lost focus and hoofed the ball over the crossbar. Bandura’s theory was amended by Deborah Feltz(3) to form a sport-specific version while I have adapted it even further to suit the applied nature of this article (see figure 1 below).
Skill learning should be organised into a series of tasks that progress gradually and allow you to master each step before progressing on to the next. In one recent review, the average correlation reported between self-confidence and performance across 24 studies was 0.54, which indicates a moderately strong relationship(4). Further, exposing athletes to mental training programmes from an early age is likely to have a very positive effect on their levels of self-confidence, which may carry into their adult sporting careers(9).
Another study examined the impact of hypnosis, technique refinement and self-modelling (through a videotape) on the self-confidence of a cricket bowler(11).
Previously famed only for dropping the baton, the Brits romped home a whisker ahead of a formidable USA quartet to secure the third of the team’s golds. In a related study, it was shown that both the intensity and interpretation of self-confidence were strong predictors of golf putting performance(13).


Clearly identifying the situations that make you feel uneasy is the first step towards building greater self-confidence. If you spend time thinking about your opponents, focus upon which weaknesses and frailties you might most easily exploit. Materazzi allegedly uttered an insulting personal remark to French captain Zinedine Zidane who reacted badly. Good examples include I Believe I Can Fly by R Kelly (62bpm), The Best by Tina Turner (104bpm) and Gold by Spandau Ballet (143bpm). Ideas for promoting confidence range from the simple principles of understanding what causes confidence to wane, to the techniques of visualisation and positive self-talk.
He trusts in himself and his abilities which he perceives to be good enough to overcome the problem – challenge.
A player has to work hard, has to be focused and persistent to be at least solid if not very good in all areas of the tennis game.
He must value himself as a worthy human being who is also a nice person, someone that people can trust and rely on, and someone who is successful in career, relationships and general life skills.
Sometimes at this age parents are far more motivated than their children to practice a particular sport.
Naturally, parental motivation alone will not be sufficient to justify all the sacrifices that the children need to make during training and matches. If the motivation to play doesn’t remain high, the children will in all likelihood abandon the sport due to a lack of interest. They will also start discovering their own potential, and realise what it could mean for their future. An athlete needs to discover these qualities within themselves in order to be happy and successful. The acceptance and acknowledgement of one’s own ability is the key to sporting success. This doesn’t mean you must ignore your opponent (this would be a big mistake), but focusing on your abilities will help put them into perspective in your own mind.
In such people, confidence is as resilient as a squash ball: the harder the blow, the quicker they bounce back. Accordingly, your mind will not need to consider what is not required in order to arrive at what is. Even under strict laboratory conditions, it has been demonstrated many times over that when confidence is manipulated either up or down, there is a significant effect on sports performance(5,6,7).
As expected, results indicated significant long-term improvement in self-efficacy and bowling performance following intervention. Significantly, each of the American sprinters had won individual medals in either the 100 or 200-metre events at the Athens Games. We will come back to these lists in some of the remaining exercises, but for now, it should have just served to increase your awareness of areas that can be improved. You should use these particularly in the low-confidence situations that you identified in the second column of Exercise 1. You may like to try playing some tracks on your mp3 player as part of a pre-event routine.
This is the first step to a true and deep feeling of confidence which is based on real facts – results. If the player thinks about himself that he is no one special, that he has many flaws, he is not really a worthy person, then these feelings and beliefs influence his tennis self confidence too. Even though he may be focused on a weakness which he is working on he must be alert and ready to see every good shot that he makes.
He needs to focus on his best effort, how he fought with all the circumstances and never gave up. This is the foundation of his self worth which affects his tennis specific self confidence. They may enrol them in a ski or swimming course, or force them to play soccer or another sport. The British sprinters attributed their extraordinary success to the mental boost they had received from seeing their team-mate Holmes winning her second unexpected gold. I suggest that if you want to feel confident and keep your physiological arousal low, select tracks with a slow tempo (ie below 110bpm). The parents focus only on what resonates with their own interests, thus neglecting their children’s natural physical and psychological inclinations. Conversely, if you want to psych-up, go for a higher tempo (ie over 110bpm), and build-up to a tempo of over 130bpm just before competing.
Amateur, beginner or weekend athletes may have significantly fewer repetitions under their belts, thus their belief in their ability to perform is less ingrained.
Athletes are evaluated in many external ways: scoring, team and individual rankings, wins and losses.
Yet it is the internal dialogue you engage in that largely determines your level of self-confidence.
For example, as a runner, you may hit a timed goal during a race, but if you experienced the last half of the race as a struggle, you may be disappointed with your conditioning.
This can lead to negative self-talk such as " I should have trained harder," resulting in increased anxiety before the next race. Children are more likely to glean self-confidence from parental approval, peer support and concrete wins or losses.
Sports offer a safe arena for children to learn to cope with both positive and negative emotions including elation, anger, frustration or sadness. Framing sports confidence in this way can help you reverse the negative spiral of anxiety and negative self-talk that results in poor performance. Mental exercises such as visualization, positive affirmations and listening to inspirational music pre-performance can make the difference between a relaxed, confident performance and a stressful, anxiety-ridden one. Gasior has a Bachelor of Social Work from Monmouth University and over 25 years field experience.




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Comments »

  1. BaKINeC — 10.11.2014 at 20:23:11 Heard the definition of mindfulness apps.
  2. M3ayp — 10.11.2014 at 11:30:23 How to incorporate yoga into your every day (and fewer.
  3. NeznakomeC_23 — 10.11.2014 at 14:56:42 And not so much on the the Tureya Ashram and thru.
  4. Elen — 10.11.2014 at 19:53:49 Selected guided mindfulness train click for a lot of hours a day.
  5. Juli — 10.11.2014 at 17:21:12 Meditation in the Buddhist custom ascent to Badrinath, a non secular meditation bench is advisable.