How to Improve Self-Confidence in Sports
Pro, amateur or weekend warrior -- everyone who participates in competitive sports can have problems with self-confidence at one time or another. Even more than raw talent, your level of confidence and belief in yourself can determine whether you succeed or fail. Self-confidence is built over time and if you find that yours is lacking, there are several steps that you can take to improve your mental strength and belief in your own ability.
Analyze your situation and ask yourself why you lack confidence. Getting to the root of the problem often can help solve it. People can encounter self-doubt when there is no sound reason for thinking that way.
Improve your physical fitness. The best athletes in the world spend countless hours on their fitness level outside the court or field. By working on your strength, endurance and ability, as it pertains to your particular sport, you can be more assured during the heat of a game that you have the fitness level to compete with the best.
Practice, practice and then practice some more. One reason for self-doubt is inadequate preparation. Put in extra time going over the skills you need for your sport until you feel confident within each play or strategy. For example, if you are a tennis player, after you play a practice match with a friend or coach, use the ball machine to work more on your forehand and backhand.
Imagine yourself succeeding in your sport. Visualization is a powerful confidence booster. When you mentally picture yourself making the shot, basket or serve you can feel the power running through your mind and body. Hold that feeling and take it into the game.
Create a positive word or short phrase that you can say to yourself whenever you have feelings of doubt. The word can bring you out of your negative thought patterns and remind you that you are capable and strong.
Find a training partner who can help remind you of your abilities. A training partner will understand your particular sport and be able to support and lift your spirits when your confidence is falling.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.