A List of 3 False Beliefs About Your Sporting World And How To Overcome Them
As I have discussed, the #1 thing to learn about getting a higher vertical is having a ton of athletic confidence. You have to know that you are able to jump high.
It goes the same for all of sports. If you go into a game think you are going to lose or perform poorly, then you have put yourself behind the 8-ball before the game even starts.
Something that drives me crazy is when a team full of kids expects to lose. Maybe it’s because the other team is bigger. Maybe it’s because they had a bad game last week. If a team shows up without confidence, then they don’t play their best. It’s as simple as that.
Now, the thing to remember is that everyone struggles with confidence. It’s not unusual to question if you are the right person for the job.
Everyone goes through a slump, but how you get out of it is what matters most. There is a reason professional athletes have skill coaches and mental health experts that guide them through their life, both on the court and off.
A big issue with low athletic confidence is when little thoughts creep into your head, and before long those little thoughts are big thoughts that impact your game.
Here are the three most common thoughts that make their way into the minds of even the most elite athletes that can cause a problem with their confidence, and how they overcome these obstacles.
Athletic Confidence Shaker #1
I have to be the best at every aspect of my game
But guess what? Steph Curry misses shots. He has injuries. In baseball, Mike Trout strikes out a lot. In fact, Trout led the league in strikeouts in 2014, the same year he won the Most Valuable Player award!
So if those two players, who are thought of as the best in their sports have holes in their games, then why would us mere mortals expect to be the best at everything? It simply doesn’t happen.
I know a 12-year old youth player that is the best player on his baseball team. But he’s not the best at every individual aspect of the game. He’s fast, but not the fastest. He hits for power, but doesn’t hit the ball harder than everyone. He throws hard, but not the hardest. But overall, he’s still the best player on the team because even though he’s not the best at everything, he’s still very good at a lot, and that makes him a valuable player.
How to Overcome Not Being Perfect at Everything?
If you struggle with being a perfectionist, and it’s hurting your athletic confidence, there are a few tricks to try.
First, understand that your true worth as a human being does not come from how you do on a playing field.
Whether it’s a faith in God, close relationships with family and friends, helping out in the community, or finding a charity to support, the impact you leave on this earth and the people you interact with will have nothing to do with sports. You are bigger than a mere athlete.
Second, keep in mind that even the best are not perfect. Everyone remembers this:
But Michael Jordan missed more go-ahead shots in the playoffs than he made. If he’s not perfect, then you should not hold yourself to the same standard.
Athletic Confidence Shaker #2
I was never good before, so I’ll never be any good in the future.
I see this so often, especially with youth players. They think that because they weren’t one of the best players on a past team that they will never be any good.
That is such a bad thought process. It is so defeating from the very start. The other team is trying hard to beat you, and that is hard enough. It makes it even harder when we lose the ability to see that we will get better.
Often, people use this same false belief about other aspects of their life and apply it to their sports life. Maybe they failed a test, or a relationship, or a job, and they think that they’ll fail in sports.
It’s hard to watch someone go through that.
How to keep past failures from determining your future:
Every day, every year is a new year. As each year passes, we have new vulnerabilities and fears. So why keep the past baggage on board, when new baggage is going to be loaded?
Make sure that whenever you go through hard times, you use those times as learning opportunities.
As hard as it is in the moment, I know it’s a good thing when a young player fails at an important time. Why? Because when that same situation comes up again when they are playing games that matter, such as a Varsity high school game, they can draw on past failure to give them an edge to future success.
It is your choice to move forward or continue being a slave to your past. Hopefully you can find a way to learn from the past.
Athletic Confidence Shaker #3
People will only remember my failures
A quarterback can go 26 for 30, and he’ll remember the 4 incomplete passes. Same with basketball and baseball players. We tend to remember the bad parts of our games more than the good parts. And this can be huge hurdles to our athletic confidence.
And because we remember the bad parts of a game, we think everyone else does too, and that causes us to think down on ourselves.
This can cause us to concentrate harder on our game, and everyone knows that when your brain gets in the way too much, it’s harder to perform.
How to overcome a feeling that people will only remember your failures
When you watch someone play a great game, do you go home thinking about the few times they didn’t covert on a play? Of course not. You go home and can’t wait to tell everyone how awesome they were.
It’s the same when people watch you play a great game. People that love you and support you will encourage you to continue to try your best.
The thing to remember is to surround yourself with those types of people. If you allow yourself to be surrounded by people that are constantly criticizing you, then you will start to believe it.
I see it all the time with social media. When everyone is a tweet away from telling you how much you suck, it can really affect your athletic confidence.
Don’t fall victim to that. Find people that will support and encourage you while still lovingly help you find ways to better your game. Because remember, you’re not perfect, but that doesn’t define you.
The key to living with athletic confidence is to learn how to have a realistic attitude about life’s up and downs, both on the court and off.
You are never as good as you think you are, and you are never as bad as you think you are.
The sun will come up tomorrow, which is a great thing, because it’s another chance to improve your game!