I know exactly how an athlete feels when coach says you need more confidence if you want to be a valuable player. I have worked with hundreds of athletes who come to me with “lack of confidence” or “low confidence” in their sport. How is someone supposed to overcome that?
Is low self confidence something that can be “fixed”?
Well, what if I told you that the truth about Confidence is…
You don’t need it.
Not even a shred of it is necessary for brilliant performances in any sport or field. Yep, that’s right, you don’t need any confidence in order to compete to your potential greatness. Drive and desire are what you need.
Why do I teach such sports heresy to athletes (of all ages) when they are looking to me to help them build confidence? Because…
Step one in building confidence is in letting go of the NEED for it.
You see, athlete’s (especially young athletes) hold themselves back from their best performances when they show up to competition and don’t FEEL confident. They then, incorrectly, judge themselves lacking and therefore start thinking about performing and trying to control their movements, which just doesn’t work.
In other words, it’s the thought that you NEED confidence when you don’t have it that creates tension, tightness and nervousness. And THAT is what that actually hurts your ability to perform!
Athletes, and people in all endeavors for that matter, do amazing things every day with ZERO confidence.
I once asked a coach who had brought his team to the NCAA championships 3 times and had years of Division 1 success in his sport this: “Coach, how do you help your athletes increase confidence?”
And his answer was: “The only way I know how to build confidence is to have some success…and THEN you get the confidence.”
Think about it for a second. We don’t start out day one with confidence now do we?
Therefore, we start achieving things from scratch. You’ve got to get your first win sometime, right?
Let’s take this to it’s logical extreme and see if my theory holds up…
We were all babies once, right? And we wanted to walk because we saw adults around us walking, right? Did we finally achieve our goals because we were confident? Not a chance! We end up walking because we possess 2 character traits, even as a baby:
Drive and Desire.
Those 2 things are all you need to achieve anything.
Babies want to walk, just like we want to achieve/win in our sport.
They aren’t afraid to fall down and get back up again.
Confidence has nothing to do with it. Babies don’t even have the ability to comprehend confidence…and yet, they teach themselves to walk.
Don’t get me wrong, confidence is helpful and good.
I help athletes build confidence every day.
The way you do it is to continually revisit your past successes and what it is about you that made that success happen.
Remind yourself of your proven skills, abilities and talents at least as much as you review your errors for corrective action.
Nobody can do this for you. Everybody has the ability to do it easily and everyone has many successes and talents to draw from.
Start with the idea that you do NOT need any confidence to have an amazing performance and you will actually be building confidence at hyper speed.
Let’s do this,
Craig Sigl, Mental Toughness Trainer
Baby photo By Nile60 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons