Aug
26

Affirmations Boost Sports Confidence

Confident people think and act confidently. One way to become more confident is to change your thinking. To change your thinking, you first have to become aware of your thinking. Awareness is the first step to a more effective competitive mindset. The simplest way to raise awareness is to keep a Sports Feedback Journal. Each day after practice and after competitions, record your thoughts about your performance and how your thinking influenced what occurred. If you recognize that you were feeling doubtful or scared or overly nervous, make note of it. Become aware when you sabotage your own performance because you doubt that you can do what is required or you are afraid of failing or looking stupid. Notice any negative thoughts that run through your head before, during or after performing a skill or participating in a practice or game. Take note of thoughts like: “I hope I can do this”; “I’ll never get a hit off that pitcher”; “Great, I have to guard the best shooter.”; “What if I mess up, get hurt, get benched, can’t finish…” and on and on. Once you are aware of these sabotaging thoughts, you can begin to take them captive.

You can use some of the common doubts you discover in step one and reform them into positive affirmations to boost your confidence. Here is an example of turning the doubts from paragraph one into affirmations: “I can do this”; “I can hit any pitcher”; “I guard the best shooter using great defense to shut him down.”; “I trust my training and get the job done. I play hard and leave it all on the field. I run the plays and focus on only what is within my control. I feel great. I will finish strong…”

There are several things you can do to fight the inner doubter. The tool I’m discussing here is the use of affirmations to boost sports confidence. It is hard to just ignore negative thoughts. You need something to replace or reframe them instead to build your confidence. Affirmations are simply positive statements about your qualities and abilities and goals that are true about you or that you reasonably want to be true about you. Start by forming 6-10 good affirmative statements. All statements should be stated in the positive and stated as fact not as wish or want or hope. Examples of good statements include: I am fast. I am a strong outside hitter. I play well under pressure. I love taking the shot when the game is on the line. I have strong mental skills and I strive to improve my mental toughness. I am a starter on the varsity team. Examples of statements that are not as strong: I want to be the best runner on my team. I hope to get stronger this year. I want to make the starting line-up this year. These statements would be stronger if you stated them as follows: I am the best runner on my team. I will do what it takes to become stronger this season. I have what it takes to make the starting line-up. Using statements that say you already are what you want to be or you will do it are stronger than wanting and hoping.

Now that you have your affirmation list, what do you do with it? Put your affirmations where you will automatically see them every day. Put them on your bathroom mirror, on your night stand, on the wall next to your bed, on your screen saver. Find someplace that you will see them at least once per day so that they will begin to invade your thinking. Over time these thoughts will start to come to mind automatically and will help you feel more confident. They will also pop into mind when you need to push out doubts. Affirmations are just one weapon in your arsenal of confidence. I am confident they will help you become a more confident performer. Affirmations are proven confidence boosters.

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