A golfer hits driver over and over on the practice tee prior to her round. “I’ve got to hit this so I have some confidence,” she says. A basketball player panics after missing several short shots, reaching for another ball before the first one hits the floor, so he can, “build some confidence” before playing. Other players won’t use a particular technique because “I’m just not confident in that move.”
What’s going on here? Most people would agree that no other factor impacts performance more than confidence. By understanding where confidence comes from and how to build it, we can play a better game.
The players are in the examples above fall into the belief that confidence comes from past performance. There is definitely some truth to that, but there are some problems with that belief that cause the cycle to break down.
Do I have to be confident to be successful?
How can I be successful if I don’t have confidence?
If I’m not successful and I lose my confidence, how can I be successful again?
I would suggest that there is more to confidence than just past performance. Remember, confidence begins with you, and there are things you can do to build, maintain, and regain your confidence.
Preparation – Practice every possible shot that you’ll face. In fact, make practice harder than the real thing. Focus on the clubs and shots that are most challenging to you. When you face it on the course, you’ll say, “I’ve got this.”
Change your self-talk – You can be your greatest fan or your worst enemy. What you say to yourself matters because it impacts your emotions, body language, and performance. Make sure your inner dialogue is positive.
Mental Rehearsal – Visualizing what you are trying to do is key to being confident and successful. Make it real, make it vivid by using all of your senses, and repeat it over and over.
If you base your confidence on your preparation, positive self-talk, mental rehearsal, and past performance, you’ll have a confidence that is strong and sustainable. One bad shot or one bad play won’t affect it. You’ll be the most confident player in the place.