How to Increase an Athlete's Self-confidence

17 July, 2020
Having high self-confidence is important in every aspect of life. In sports, a person who believes in their abilities will be able to give the best of themselves.

The question of how to increase self-confidence is something that interests any athlete. When an individual believes that they’re capable of reaching a goal, they’re able to mobilize their resources in a more effective way to get there. On the other hand, someone with low self-esteem will be more taxed after making a plan to reach their objectives.

Self-esteem is the belief that a person has, through their own ability, the opportunity for a successful future. The first psychologist to develop this idea was Albert Bandura. According to Bandura, it’s not a stable, general concept, but rather one that applies to specific situations and is continually changing.

Increasing an athlete’s self-esteem has positive effects not only on their athletic performance but also on their psychological wellbeing. This is why this article will detail a series of keys to achieve this in an effective way.

The relationship between self-confidence, performance, and wellbeing

Diverse studies have concluded that self-confidence can increase sports performance and lower psychological discomfort. The most confident athletes feel less anxiety before competing and are able to better confront stressful situations. 

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Sevilla, self-confidence is able to predict a soccer player’s performance. The study shows that the players with a better perception of themselves will reach a higher level in the sport.

In addition, researchers at the University of Karlstad have found that self-confidence can be negatively related to burnout syndrome. This means to say that the higher an athlete’s self-confidence, the fewer symptoms of burnout they feel. This means their sense of wellbeing is higher.

Confident man

Keys to increase self-confidence

As we’ve seen, increasing your self-confidence needs to be a central objective for any athlete. Any person can strengthen their self-confidence by putting the following tips into practice.

Visualize your success

Remembering moments in your life when you’ve reached a goal or imagining something positive that’s to come in the future can have a positive effect. This is not only on your self-confidence but also on your motivation.

Visualization is a powerful tool that consists of imagining specific situations as realistically as possible. To optimize the benefits of this technique, it’s recommended to practice it in a place without distractions. The fewer distractions there are, the greater a person’s ability to imagine details and emotions.

Make a list of positive qualities

Every athlete has strong and weak points, but usually, most people are well acquainted with their weaknesses rather than with their strengths. Taking the time to note your strengths is a good way to keep them present in your mind and increase your self-confidence.

By making the list, it’s important to not only keep your physical traits in mind but also your psychological traits. In addition, it’s important to keep these points in a visible place and to review them several times a day. This helps you to internalize and memorize these positive qualities.

Implement positive self-guidance: Increase self-confidence

Self-guidance or reaffirmations are short phrases with a positive attitude, repeated in moments of low self-confidence. Phrases such as, “I can do this”, “I’m calm”, or “I’m going to do my best” are really effective in raising your self-confidence in difficult moments.

Reaffirmations need to be short so that they can be repeated easily in specific moments. This means that you need to identify the situations where you’re most doubtful so that you can apply these phrases in the appropriate moment, and not have to wait and let your performance suffer.

Acquire abilities gradually: increase self-confidence

When trying to learn new things, it’s better to move step by step towards your goal instead of advancing too rapidly. Gradually learning guarantees that the abilities you acquire will be more solid and durable. Also, the positive reinforcement that you receive when you make small advances can positively influence your self-confidence.

Athletic concentration

An effective way to put this into practice is by learning to break up your tasks into small steps and then completing them sequentially. This is what’s known in psychology as “chaining”, and it’s been shown to be an effective learning method for both children and adults.

The importance of high self-esteem

Having a high self-confidence helps athletes give more and give the best version of themselves. It’s normal for everyone to experience moments of negative emotions, but we can’t let these moments dominate.

Self-confidence is something that needs to be worked on every day if you want to see a positive impact on your performance. Doing this won’t just increase your performance, but it’ll also increase your wellbeing and mental health.

 

  • González Campos, G., Valdivia-Moral, P., Zagalaz Sánchez, M. L., y Romero, S. (2015). La autoconfianza y el control del estrés en futbolistas: revisión de estudios.
  • Gustafsson, H., Madigan, D. J., & Lundkvist, E. (2018). Burnout in athletes. In Handbuch Stressregulation und Sport (pp. 489-504). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.