By: Ken Austin
An athlete's performance is the reflection of his state of self confidence. His self concept will manifest without him even knowing it. It shows in his bearing, in his blows, in the track.
Like with all other things touched by human hands, self confidence in sports may have negative or positive impacts, both on the athlete and the crowd watching him. We all of course can somehow identify when an athlete gets pretty annoying just by observing the acts he does during performances. Or we may love and stand in awe for an athlete merely by his appeal and presence.
But where is the boundary between a negative and a positive self confidence?
Too many times, we are fooled that an athlete is confident when he projects the image of performance. Yet not everyone are aware of what goes behind the mind of the athlete and what goes behind the curtain of the game. Sometimes, the line is too gray for us to identify when self confidence is healthy or not.
An athlete's self confidence doesn't just happen though. It is honed and stimulated throughout the years. This is why amateurs don't normally have the same faith like those that may be find among the veterans. Experience is a great teacher, remember?
Self confidence among athletes is the product of a conducive environment for learning. It may also be a result of self talk and good self concept and awareness.
Before an athlete acquires a positive self confidence, he must first be able to identify who he truly is, his stock of skills and capacities and the stuffs wherein he excels. Back these with a learning environment that is perfect for his growth and soon you will find an athlete that would perform. However, exemplary athletes don't grow overnight. Like oak trees, it takes time before they can truly recognize their artillery and use this for self improvement.
A good way of developing self confidence among athletes is to inculcate in them the habit of watching people and observation. By merely watching how other people succeed or fail, by being keen on the process it takes great people to reach their present states and by merely observing the trails that athletes brave before becoming great themselves, an athlete would shorten his path. He would also be able to spot the traps and thus, make ways to redirect their paths away from errors. In the end, by merely watching how other athletes travel their roads, an athlete would be able to shorten the learning process and eventually lengthen the practical application.
Self talk and proper self concept must also be integrated with training. Majority of performers in endurance races like triathlon are not actually certain if their will ever get through the swimming stage, or the walking stage or the biking stage. But winners win because they have learned to listen to that ever-encouraging voice which tells them not to give up for it is already too late.
No one is especially created to race in a triathlon. But everyone can focus themselves to winning by merely saying that they will win. At the end, it all lies in the attitude by which we consider things. As one great person said- life must be taken in its lightest handle. The same goes true with sports.
Though training might be hard and will surely take time, each aspiring athlete must initiate oneself to get on the game. Once they are there, he must push himself to believing that he will pass through the testing stage and bag the price at the finish line.