8 Strategies for Boosting Confidence

It's time to make a deposit in your confidence account.

September 6, 2016

Confidence is simple if you believe in you. You must be confident in yourself and in your athletic ability to perform at your best, whether trying out for a team, competing for a spot in a starting lineup, playing against a higher-ranked opponent, rebounding from a poor start or a tough loss, or transitioning to the next level of competition. Identify the challenge, prepare yourself to conquer it, and then approach it with confidence.

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Novak Djokovic gave himself a much-needed confidence boost en route to defeating Roger Federer for the 2014 Wimbledon title. After losing the fourth set of the match, Djokovic went to the restroom and had a chat with himself. "I was loud to myself, saying, 'Believe in yourself!'" remembered Djokovic. "You know, it's not a cliché, it really works, even when you don't feel it, to say at times some positive things to yourself—that's exactly when you should do it." It's okay if it feels like you are faking it, at first. Fake it until you make it.

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If you are confident, you can be your best when it matters most. Here are eight strategies for boosting confidence. Try them and see what works for you.

high five
1. Be your own cheerleader

Give yourself a mental high five after executing a play or performance as planned. Positive self-reinforcement is like making a deposit in your confidence account.

happy memories
2. Take a moment to reflect

Reflect on your past successes and highlights. This will lead to better play in the future. Replay these magic moments in your mind and feel how good they felt at the time. Later, when you need an extra boost, it will be easier to draw on these feelings.

More: 12 Common Athletic Setbacks Every Champion Faces

take a risk
3. Take stock of the struggles

Remember a particular occasion when you triumphed over a difficult challenge, such as overcoming fear in the face of a tryout or bouncing back from an injury. Write down some of the keys that made this success possible.

coach encouragement
4. Consider your past compliments

Think about the compliments others have paid you and your abilities. Remember what teammates, friends, coaches, and family members have said about your athletic prowess. They are the ones that know you and what you are capable of.

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role models
5. Consult your mentors

Mirror and mimic what your role models did to become champions.

confident posture
6. Do the Superman

Stand in a confident posture—feet apart, chin up, chest out, with a broad smile.

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self confidence
7. Trust your practice

Repeat this to yourself prior to a competition: "I've practiced and I trust my training and preparation."

woman strong
8. Know you can do it

During key moments of a performance, command yourself to "Believe in yourself!"

Surrounding yourself with others who focus solely on winning and less on learning and development can undermine your confidence. If you are in an environment in which the feedback is negative and the criticism is destructive, find a more welcoming and supportive environment. You are more likely to flourish there.

Adapted from The Champion's Comeback 

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