Wishing Hoping and Praying are not Confidence

I wish I were a better at …

I hope I do well…

I pray that I have a good day…

These are common statements from people as they relate to how they feel or think they will perform in an their upcoming contest. They also indicate a lack of confidence.

Confidence is a construct of belief in our abilities.  Confidence comes from among other things: quality practice, believing in abilities, other persons, quality instruction, fitness, diet, and doing the right things off the field of competition.

Though confidence can certainly be fed by successful performances and typically if we perform well it feeds our confidence to do well or better in the future. However that is not always the case. And the reason is that confidence is a mental construct which is up to the individual interpretation of such events. If the individual expected more out of their performance than what occurred then despite what everyone else may view as “successful” and would “feed confidence” it in fact could do the very opposite to this athlete.

So confidence is impacted by our interpretations of objective performance and we can build confidence by viewing our capabilities in other areas of life or even by seeing what others can do.

Here is what is difficult for athletes to get: it is possible to be quite confident in being able to do something even though we have never done it before! It is also possible to be quite confident in doing something even if by objective measures we are not that good. And that is the real secret. Develop your confidence now and don’t wait for a outcomes to validate or feed your confidence level. Low confidence will most definitely adversely affect performances through tentative actions and the stress of competition. Strong confidence will bolster your performances by allowing you to rebound and not get down even after an error or lapse or bad play or race.

Confidence can be evidenced by how someone characterizes or describes efforts or competitions. Here are what we might call levels of self-confidence: I hope, Maybe I’ll, I think, I believe, I know, I will.

Hoping, wishing and praying that some performance occurs is the weakest form of confident thinking. It leaves all outcomes to external and uncontrollable sources.

“Maybe” opens a door, and “I think” is creeping in the door to taking some control of the outcome. “Believing” that you can do soemthing is a stronger statement.

On the other hand, “knowing” that you can do something is the strongest representation of confidence. It is not open to debate. I simply “know” I can do this. And the final level is one step beyond because it indicates action: I will.

Our self-talk guides our actions. It is important to create talk about our capabilities that feeds our confidence. That in turn feeds our actions. it is more likely that our actions will reinforce strong confidence and ultimately lead to more consistent performances and breakthrough performances. Start now in changing how you talk about your capabilities.

Read more on your Mental Game.


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
This entry was posted in Confidence, Motivation, Sports Psychology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wishing Hoping and Praying are not Confidence

  1. justine morez says:

    Would like to know more about this camp…. where is this located? For how long? Please email me… I have a daughter very much interested. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: Self-confidence | ReStreaming

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