Lack of confidence is a common obstacle in many athletes’ competitive lives. Confidence is also one of those concepts that many people talk about but few understand. Your parents probably told you, “Be confident!” or “Think like a winner to be a winner!” But, if you’re like most people, you discovered that positive thinking can only get you so far. And if thinking positive doesn’t get you the results you’re after, it’s easy to be frustrated.
The thing is, your parents weren’t entirely wrong. Positive thinking is one piece of the puzzle — it’s just not the entire puzzle. In this chapter, we give you all the tools you need to build and maintain confidence as an athlete. But we start by telling you why confidence matters.
What is confidence? When it comes to athletics, we define it as the belief that you have a skill set related to your sport that helps you be successful in that sport. When you’re confident, you believe that you can get the job done. Confidence is a nonrenewable resource — you have to be building confidence constantly, to buffer yourself from the harsh world of competitive sports. Even the best athletes experience the peaks and valleys of confidence throughout their careers. Where the best athletes differ from the rest is that they work to limit those peaks and valleys and level the landscape, which allows them to perform better.