Finding Confidence: The Resilient Athlete

Finding Confidence: The Resilient Athlete

3 Effective Strategies to Be Confident in the Face of Obstacles

When it comes to confidence and sport, there is a common misconception, just as in life, there is a misconception about what it means to be brave.  Let’s first uncover what it means to be brave.  Many people erroneously think bravery is the absence of fear.  Not True!  Fear is a natural response to new experiences.  Bravery is facing a new experience such as; a interviewing for a new job, buying a house, starting a new relationship or undergoing surgery.  Bravery is feeling the fear but still moving forward.

Likewise, confidence is not the absence of fear or anxiety.  All athletes experience some degree of nervousness when facing a top-ranked opponent, trying a new routine in competition, playing in the post-season or learning a new skill.  Confidence is trusting that you can meet the challenge or not backing down.  There is a book by Susan Jeffers, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.”  That is confidence… moving forward knowing you can be successful even in spite of challenges, obstacles and setbacks.

The defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs are experiencing a dip in confidence during the first half of the 2017 season.  The Cubs are just under .500 with a record of 31-32.  In the previous year, the Cubs lost only 58 games the entire season.

Cub manager Joe Maddon talked about the issue of the Cubs’ confidence level and their recent struggles.

MADDON:  “They’re missing their confidence more than anything.  Confidence is such a fragile component of human existence, especially when it comes to sports. [When your confidence slumps] whatever you did in the past, it’s easy to forget that.”

Maddon absolutely hits the nail on the head in regards to confidence.  When you forget or dismiss your past successes, you can get wrapped up in the obstacles in front of you and doubt your ability to move forward.  Instead of moving forward, when you are overwhelmed by doubt, the anxiety and fear stop you in your tracks.

For example, the tennis player who has lost the first set and no longer tries to return balls that are at the far end of his range… Or the golfer who plays it safe due to a few missed putts… Or the gymnast who refuses to perform an element of her routine because she fell the last time she attempted that skill in a meet.

It’s all about confidence… It’s about continually trying… It’s about knowing there is a breakthrough in the near future.

3 Effective Strategies to Be Confident in the Face of Obstacles

  1. Instead of replaying a mistake over in your head, mentally watch your personal highlight reel of your past successes.
  2. Acknowledge your fear and anxiety. Call it what it is, “Okay, I’m afraid I will fall again. I’m going to push forward anyway.”
  3. Recall times when you faced a challenge and overcame that obstacle.