Confidence Boosters and How to Perform at Your Best

swimmer preparing to dive into the water

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No matter how successful of an athlete you are, there are always going to be times when you struggle with a lack of confidence. Maybe you had a bad day, or you haven’t been performing as well as expected lately.
The reasons for losing confidence can be different for different athletes. One athlete shared that getting a certain “look” from her coach was a trigger for her. In her mind the look meant she did something wrong. Or, making a mistake in the middle of a game can take confidence down a notch. This can happen even when we recover from the mistake, but it hangs on as a nagging feeling that we might have let ourselves down or our team down.
The next time your have a day when your confidence is lower try using one of these confidence boosters.
swimmer preparing to dive into the water

8 Confidence Boosters to Keep in Mind

1. Face Failure (Or Your Fear of Failure)

A lot of athletes lack confidence because the fear of failure gets overwhelming. It is a constant “what if…..” dialogue in your head. And the way most end the what if statement is with a negative. For example, what if I make a stupid batting error? Or, what if people think I look stupid? If you don’t have faith in your abilities, you allow doubt to cloud your mind. So face some of those fears first in your own head.  The truth is it doesn’t really matter how other people view you as long as you are comfortable with yourself and your performance. Furthermore, regarding the terrifying possibility of losing a game, you should remember that this is only one game in many and it does not make up your entire career.
So even if you have a bad day and your performance is not as good as you want it to be, you should by no means give up. Instead, you should keep practicing and trying until you reach the level of performance you’ve always dreamed of.

2. Don’t Obsess Over the Results

There are athletes who are not able to enjoy a game or focus on how the game plays out because all they have in mind is the end result. Of course, everybody likes to win, but in every game someone has to lose as well. You have to accept the fact that sometimes that someone will be you.
However, this mentality of obsessing over the results is not at all healthy. It can lead to a lack of confidence that is quite damaging. Instead of thinking what is going to happen when the referee blows the full-time whistle, focus on your performance and make the best of it.

3. Always Give Your Best

Strongly related to the last point, one of the best confidence boosters for you to keep in mind is always giving your best no matter what. Regard every competition as one that is worthy of your full attention and cooperation. That way you won’t lose confidence if the outcome is not positive. Why, you ask? Well, because you know you performed the best you could.
Remember that the goal is not to be the best, but to perform at your best.

4. Have Fun

One of the most effective ways to feel motivated and confident is to participate in competitions because you genuinely enjoy it. Especially if you have a nice relationship with your teammates (which you should), the joy of working together should be enough reason for you to trust your abilities.
rugby player laughing while on court
Moreover, don’t try to be the only one who carries the game. Allow your teammates to prove they are as capable as you are. We understand the temptation of making sure everything goes exactly your way. However, this puts a lot of pressure on you. Pressure can easily turn into lack of confidence, which is why you should never take on the responsibility of a game by yourself.

5. Remind Yourself of Your Strengths

After each game that has left you feeling less confident than before, you should practice positive self-talk and think of all the things you’ve done right. Most often than not, we tend to focus much more on our failures than on the positive aspects of our performance. It is much easier to be critical of yourself, but it is also very damaging to your confidence levels.
Instead of dwelling on the negative, compliment your performance and boost your confidence. We’re not saying you shouldn’t also identify aspects that need improvement. You should, but you should use them to motivate you even further. Moreover, you shouldn’t insist on them more than you need to in order to learn your lesson.

6. Practice a Lot

If what caused your low self-confidence is the fact that you didn’t perform that well, there is always the most obvious solution: practice. Practice as much as you can and you will eventually reach the desired results. All confidence boosters are about what we can do to stop feeling down. However, this one is more in our control than any other. You might not always be able to practice positive self-talk or not focus on the results of a game, but you can always practice your skill and encourage self-growth.

7. Visualize Success

Before any game where you feel anxious about your performance, you can try visualizing success. Imagine winning a race and what you felt in that moment. It is important to focus on your feelings, because that is where confidence comes from. If you are feeling great about your performance and are really proud of what you’ve managed to achieve, confidence will follow as well. Then, you will enter the game determined to make your visualization come true.
woman crossing the finish line and smiling

8. Remember Past Successes

Not only can you use success visualization as one of the most effect confidence boosters out there, but you can also focus on visualization of past successes. Whenever you lack confidence in your abilities, remember all those times you gave a great performance and were proud of yourself. This is extremely effective because it reminds you that you actually have what it takes to succeed.
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