Mental Training? Part 3 : Confidence

If you missed Part 1, clic here : Mental Training? Part 1 : Goal Setting
If you missed Part 2, clic here : Mental Training? Part 2 : Imagery

BlogWe may think that some us have to much and others not enough, but what is confidence? Confidence is a result of how one thinks, what one focuses on, and how one reacts to the events in life. Seems straight forward… so how do we build on the best kind of confidence?

We understand what Self efficacy means. Now you may be sitting there… What!!! You just said we were going to read about confidence now its self efficacy, what the heck is that…… Well I will tell you, self efficacy is a persons judgment about his or her capability to successfully perform a particular task. Self Efficacy theory was developed by Albert Bandura 1986.

Athletes with high self efficacy are willing to try harder – be more motivated and overall take on more challenging tasks. Is this an athlete you want to be? Well then the following ways to build your confidence is for YOU!

1) Past Performance (most influential) – it is important to continue to add challenges for yourself during any form of exercise to build confidence – in doing so you can break tasks down into chunks. = building confidence.. Let us explain…..

  • For example, you a a quarterback and you have a drop back in the pocket, pivot and pass route 25 yards down the field over your left shoulder. During practice break down the movements, practice your footing first in the pocket, then practice squaring your shoulders and lining up your eye sight, next step fallow through with your left shoulder coming through the pass, focus on your finishing arm point to were the ball wants to go. Practicing this over and over, even if there is no receiver to catch the ball will enhance your confidence through continued performance and eventually being past performance execution. Simple, however simple WORKS!!! Works very well…

2) Vicarious experience – watching someone else perform a task, especially when athletes are deemed similar.

  • Watching others play your position or perform your exercise gives you an external view of what to do. Lets say you are on Junior varsity, watch a varsity player in your position, if you are on varsity, go watch a college game and watch the players that execute your position with excellence. Make mental notes, take away one or two key factors that you want to set as goals. Watching others you look up to and learning their abilities will develop confidence for sure!

3) Controlling your physiological state, this means in times of high energy pump yourself up, during times when you need to recover, deep breathing and relaxation will enable you to control your state, control leads to confidence in all situations. Remember the time you became angry when you hit traffic, just imagine if you were able to be happy just by breathing???

  • Verbal persuasion – this is both external and internal, you can’t control those around you, but when they give you a compliment it will build confidence for sure, the internal aspect of verbal persuasion you CAN control. We are talking about Self Talk – an extremely powerful tool in building mental strength and confidence. So powerful it needs it’s own section. We will discuss this topic more below.

4) Emotional state – controlling your anger and emotions in a positive or negative way

  • As an athlete, emotion is a big part of your game, we can use emotion to power ourselves positively or negatively. Again control builds confidence. When you feel emotional because you completed a set, or accomplished a goal use that positive emotion, for future activities. If you miss the mark, use the power of that negative emotion and make it positive, “next time I will get it!”. Through controlling your emotions you build confidence in yourself, and those around you will feed off your positive emotional state.

5) Imagery – builds HUGE confidence, hence the reason the entire section before discussed imagery. YEAH BUDDY – you are becoming a mentally tough athlete now!

If you have noticed a reoccurring theme you are one of the smart ones. Confidence has a lot to do with your skill to control. Control your actions, control your physiological state, control your emotions, control your ability to use imagery, and control what you take from others. Confidence is a tremendous mental tool if used in a positive manner!

Now it’s your time to shine. Focus on building your confidence through these above control mechanisms and you will be a step closer to being the best athlete you can be.

Take aways: Building Confidence through….

1) Past Performance (Reflecting on what you have done – breaking movement down)
b) Vicarious experience (Watching others in your position)
c) Controlling your physiological state (Verbal and non verbal cues, breathing)
d) Emotional state
e) Imagery (discussed in more depth later)

Check out Part 4 of this article : Mental Training? Part 4 : Self Talk

About the Author

Coach Chuck Dertinger is an accomplished fitness and nutrition expert, holding a Masters Degree in Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology. Chuck lives, breaths, and loves to promote healthy lifestyle choices. He went from skinny to brawny gaining over 50-lbs of muscle in a couple of years through the use of sound training and nutrition tactics. Feel free to add him on Facebook and ask any questions with relation to nutrition or exercise.