Student-athletes may feel a sense of insecurity or self-doubt when they step on the field or the court. It may be jitters associated with playing in a big game, playing a new position or simply returning to the field after the off-season. They may feel pressure from parents or coaches to "be the best" or play perfectly, but that pressure often takes over and leaves the player ineffective and overwhelmed with low self-esteem. Instead of sweeping that anxiety under the rug, it's important to tackle it head-on. Read below for five strategies for student-athletes so they can boost self-confidence.
1. Define Your Purpose.
It’s very hard to be confident in what you are doing if you are not sure why you are doing it. Why are you playing this sport? Is it because you want to have fun with your friends and stay in shape? Do you entirely love the sport? Are you trying to pursue a college scholarship? Once you identify your “why,” you’ll be more confident because you will be coming from a place of purpose.
2. Do Not Compare Yourself with Others
Let me repeat that for the people in the back … do not compare yourself with others! In almost every single case, when you compare yourself with someone else, it takes the form of negative self-talk about how you are not good enough. The only person you need to compare yourself with is you. Negative self-talk has no place in your world of positive self-talk and confidence.
3. Play to Your Strengths
Sometimes we spend so much time making up for our “weaknesses” that we forget to honor and nurture our strengths. Maybe you’re not the fastest at the timed mile, but you out-hustle everyone in drills. Maybe your stick skills or your foot-eye coordination is out of this world but your sprints are a step slower than you’d like. Honor those strengths – they are what make you unique and an asset to your teammates. If everyone had the same strengths and weaknesses, then the team couldn’t be very successful, could it?
4. Take Action
Fear and anxiety can sometimes be paralyzing. Ignore the voice in your head telling you that you can’t do something or that you’re not good enough. The more you let fear and anxiety over a situation hold you back, the stronger the negative voice will become. The more you just believe in yourself and take action, the quieter that negative voice inside your head will become.
5. Focus on the Positive
How many of us do the exact opposite? It is so much easier to complain and focus on the negative, but what if I told you a simple mindset switch and some positive self-talk could boost your confidence? Instead of saying, “I ran so slowly today,” say, “wow, I ran faster this year than I did last year. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s better than where I was.” Instead of saying, “today was so hot, practice was terrible,” try to think of one tiny positive that happened. Perhaps, “I made a great pass,” or, “my teammate told me I looked really strong in a drill.” You would be surprised on how focusing on the small, but positive, aspects of our day can boost our confidence levels even slightly.
Interested in learning more about building confidence in girls? Join us October 5, 2019 for our first day of the EmpowHERment Series at Oak Knoll School! This event is for girls in grades 6-8 interested in learning to take risks, push through boundaries and thrive outside their comfort zones. Free and open to the public, but pre-registration required.