Confidence is the most important part of mental toughness because it affects all other skills. We attempt and perform things we believe will be successful. Belief and trust fall under the same concept. Do we trust our coaches and believe in our teammates?
Unfortunately, because it is the most important mental skill, confidence is also the most difficult.
Research has shown there are four sources of confidence. Your physiological state is one of them. It's all about how you feel.
- Have you ever finished a workout or a run, looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, "Hey, I look good."? Honestly, you look absolutely no different from when you began, except now you feel different.
- When athletes or musicians perform at their best, I ask them; what were you thinking about? Their answer? "Nothing."
- Elite performers all say that when they are playing their best, the event actually slows down. They feel in complete control.
- The first thing that goes when an athlete starts to perform poorly is the lack of feel. Their play or technique may look fine, but if they don't feel confident, they will search to get a feeling that works.
- Our prayers are not automatically answered, but we feel better after praying or meditating. We feel at peace.
Mental coaches, myself included, teach ways to become confident by changing our physiology, our body language and how we feel. If confidence were not a feeling, then why stress focused breathing, becoming centered or getting B.I.G.?
When we lose confidence, our feelings turn into thoughts. We begin to think too much. We no longer trust our instincts. Instead, we get stuck inside our own heads and try to think our way out.
The real key is still finding a way to win when we are not confident.
When you lose confidence, make a mistake and don't play well, re-focus and get confident by improving your body language —and get BIG!
What happens with our body language when we aren't playing well? Our shoulders slouch and our head drops. Getting BIG means throwing our shoulders back and our head up, no matter how we are performing. Getting BIG is not about how big we are, it's about how big we play. Remember, it's the toughest mental skill, but it's also the most important.
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