Dec 26, 2011 9:14 AM
For most any athlete, even professional athletes, playing with confidence is essential for success to occur. But for young athletes inadequate self-confidence not only damages an athlete's performance but it can also seep into other parts of their lives as well.
Of all the subjects I cover on mental skills training I get the most interest and feedback on the area of self-confidence, and for good reason. For a teenage girl playing softball confidence is almost as important as oxygen (and texting!) to insure her success and happiness!
In a game as challenging as fastpitch softball self-confidence is the elixir of champions. Without it the game can eat a young athlete alive. With it a young athlete can achieve greatness far quicker than you can imagine. Here are 5 tips for winning the confidence game:
1. Believe It - if your athlete has conviction that she will succeed she is well on her way to massive success. Self-confidence is a result of "can do" thinking, which emanates from a powerful belief that a task or goal can be achieved. If, on the other hand, your athlete questions her ability to succeed her core belief is telling her that she "can't do" it. Limiting thinking always starts with distorted beliefs. Once she truly believes it can can achieve it.
2. Don't Expect Perfection - Let's face it, in softball your athlete is going to make errors, mental mistakes and have poor at bats; it's simply an inevitable part of the game. As such your athlete cannot expect to be perfect. No one who ever played the game or will ever play the game has been or will be PERFECT. Your athlete's ability to frame her failings as a learning opportunity on her path to game mastery will allow her to maintain her self-confidence in the face of adversity.
3. Parental Support - this may seem a non-issue for you, but first consider the expectations you place on your athlete for her on the field performance. Excessive expectations can cause her difficulty because she so wants to please her parents, and any perceived "failure" on the field can increase her stress and anxiety levels causing further declines in her performance. Even worse if she hears negative comments during or after the game from you about her performance it will serve to erode her self-confidence even more. She needs your 110% unconditional support to build and maintain the level of self-confidence it will take for her to succeed at a difficult game.