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Building Confidence: Invest In Yourself Building Confidence: Invest In Yourself
   Building confidence is a lot like building revenue, and there’s more than one source of income. Get Mental : Erika Carlson    Confidence... Building Confidence: Invest In Yourself

   Building confidence is a lot like building revenue, and there’s more than one source of income.

Get Mental : Erika Carlson

   Confidence is an athlete’s belief about their ability to succeed in their sport. Getting off to a confident start in preseason can make all the difference.  A lack of confidence will keep you off the court and reduce playing time, which can be tough mentally.  

   There are many ways to build confidence, however, many athletes make the mistake of relying too heavily on past experiences “” what happen in yesterday’s game, or what happened a minute ago. If your performance is strong, great! Your belief is fierce and you will probably continue to play well. But what if it’s not going well? Where does confidence come from then?

   Let’s look at the business world for a minute. How is confidence like money? Both are earned through hard work and discipline. And, both are fragile and easy to lose, no matter how much you start with. Successful businesses (those who make steady profits) often have several products and/or services to make money. The idea is when one service (or product) isn’t selling well, another is. That way, profits remain steady and the business can grow.  

   The same model applies to building confidence. If your defense wasn’t great yesterday, you have four days to get more prepared for the next game. The more “streams” of confidence you have, the more stable the “profits” and your confidence can grow. Let’s examine the “streams” of confidence you need to be building to get off to a good start and to allow yourself to grow throughout your season.   

   PREPARATION “” Great athletes often say the hardest work is completed during the preseason. This is when you have time and energy to dedicate to getting stronger and faster, jumping higher and improving your defense or jump shot. Now it’s time to focus on getting prepared for each practice and game. Make a list of all the things you do to prepare to play. For example: Drills, weight-lifting, good nutrition, rest, mental training.  Also, write down what you need to be doing that you’re not doing already. Preparation is highly controllable and is the most significant factor in building your confidence every week.

   PERSONAL STRENGTHS “” What are your unique talents and developed skills that make you the player that you are? College coaches are looking for distinctive players who know and exploit their strengths. Make a list and continue to leverage your strengths.

   PAST SUCCESS “” “I’ve done it before, so I can do it again!”  As a high school athlete, you’ve had some success “” hopefully a lot of success “” to reflect on. Be mindful to pay attention when things go right. This is the time to analyze and pick apart WHY you were successful. (Reminder- DELETE the mistakes quickly!) Make a list of your best successes. Include top finishes and personal bests.  

   PRAISE ““ Guys, you get this. You know how to take praise, hear it, use it and believe it. Good for you!  Girls, you MUST hear it, feel it and believe it. If you choose not to, you’re wasting one important stream of confidence and therefore your confidence won’t be as stable as it could be. Praise is not controllable, receiving it is completely dependent on someone else choosing to give it to us. Coaches with different coaching styles give it out in different amounts. Remember this: If you have a coach who doesn’t give out a lot of praise, it will mean more when you do get it. Therefore, the responsibility is on you to hear, use and believe it. Make a list of the best praise you have received from others (coaches, teammates, family) and be sure to include who gave it to you.

   Each of these lists should grow with you through your season. Walk on the court every time knowing you have completed everything required to help you to play well. A strong, stable foundation made of multiple revenue streams will set up for a great season. And who knows, it may teach a thing or two about how to make good profits in the future!


Erika Carlson is a certified mental trainer and owner of Excellence in Sports Performance in Pleasanton.

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