Sports Confidence Killers – Part 2

Confidence is a prerequisite for excelling in sports and life. Keeping confidence high can sometimes feel like a difficult task. That is because many confidence killers attack our thinking and can cause us to doubt our abilities. These attacks come in many forms, but most of them have to do with our own thoughts and feelings. I explored a few common confidence killers in Confidence Killers –Part 1. Here I will uncover several additional ways we actually undermine our own confidence.

Unrealistic demands are confidence killers that tend to come from perfectionist thinking. Perfectionists are often high achievers who have very high expectations for themselves. They set their sights so high that often they can never be good enough to please themselves. They have a hard time giving themselves credit for the successes that they do achieve. Their inner critic eventually starts to erode their confidence. Often times these athletes are very good and perform really well in practice but don’t perform up to their potential in the game.

Another confidence killer that many perfectionists display is all or none thinking. Sometimes an athlete can only see his performance as all good or all bad. She cannot give herself credit for partial success. The inner critic can take over our thinking and kill our confidence. When we let that critical voice rule, we may put negative labels on ourselves such as choker, wimp, or weak putter. If we don’t keep him in check, the inner critic can do a lot of damage to our self-confidence and our self-image. Negative self-talk degrades confidence.

Dwelling on errors can likewise kill our confidence because it takes our focus off what we need to do next. As we continue to regret and replay the last mistake, the game goes on. We may go through the motion of the current play; but our mind is on the last one, killing our confidence and our ability to play our best at that moment. Our unrealistic demands, perfectionist thinking and dwelling on mistakes can lead to the ultimate confidence killer, fear of failure. We start to be more afraid of failing than we desire to strive for success. When that happens, we play with tension and anxiety which leads to tentative play. Fear of failure often manifests itself as choking.  We are playing “not to lose,” or “not to look bad” instead of playing to win or playing for fun.

The good news is that all of these confidence killers can be “killed” themselves. Since we often undermine our confidence with our own negative, perfectionist or fearful thinking, we can also turn our confidence around with the power of our minds. We can fight fears and unrealistic demands. We can use effective, positive thinking to regain confidence and gain the competitive edge.



  1. Perfectionism, unrealistic goals and all or none thinking are definitely some of the hard core confidence killers. You have definitely gotten to the heart of the matter.

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