Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s an age-old question that’s pretty difficult to answer, but surprisingly it can help to give us an insight into why confidence in sport can often be elusive.
Sport science research tells us that the biggest source of self-confidence in sport is a successful performance, which is great to know and also makes a lot of sense.
But, how can you achieve a successful performance if you don’t have the belief in your ability in the first place? This presents us with the chicken and egg dilemma and can sometimes prevent us from achieving our full athletic potential. Have a quick think about what you could achieve in your sport if you believed more in your ability. Greater confidence opens up so many new opportunities, and the good news is that confidence is more in our control than we might think.
Apart from successful performances, there are five other sources of self-confidence that we can use to our advantage.
- Verbal Persuasion
Surrounding yourself with supportive people who provide positive verbal encouragement is another boost. In addition to this, managing our self-talk (inner dialogue) is essential. Avoid self-defeating and critical talk and become your best coach instead.
Visualising success can have positive effects on confidence and performance. The more vivid and realistic the images are, the better.
- Social Modelling
“If she/he can do it, I can do it” – the power of modelling ourselves on others can have huge benefits for our confidence levels. The accomplishments of other sports people can provide us with evidence and confidence that your own goals are possible.
- Emotional states
How we interpret our emotions can have a big impact on our confidence. Managing anxiety and nerves is essential so that we don’t begin to doubt our ability and potentially avoid something that we’re physically capable of doing.
- Physiological states
Similarly, how we interpret our physiological reactions (e.g. increased heart rate, breathing, perspiration, muscle fatigue) impacts our confidence. Interpret these reactions as our body’s normal response to exercise rather than difficulties that we can’t overcome.
- Successful Performance
Push the boundaries of your own self-belief and aim for that next goal that you’ve always wanted to achieve. The confidence boost that you’ll gain from achieving it will act as a springboard for the next challenge!
Want to find out more about how to put all of this into practice? Take our online Confidence Coaching course and become part of our Sport Psychology learning community.