Confidence takes a tremendous amount of time to acquire. Just like anything in life, you must first believe before you can conquer. Confidence is a vital component towards consistently performing well on the pitch. Over the course of my soccer career I have seen dozens of extremely talented athletes waste away their potential due to their lack of self confidence. Many people think confidence is untrainable and view it as some mystical creature only given to the most prestigious athletes.
They believe it can’t be developed.
They assume it’s something you have to be born with to possess.
Any athlete who has lacked confidence knows the struggles of trying to complete simple movements on the field. Our body knows what to do, but our mind says we can’t. I once doubted I would ever have the courage to dribble out of the back as a centre-half. I was a player that refused to carry the ball into space. I hated taking more than 1-2 touches. My nerves always got the better of me and I would pass the ball as soon as I received it. However, with time and experience, I changed my nervousness into excitement. By the time I was a freshman in high school I was a CB who was more comfortable in the oppositions half than his own. I consistently made runs into the box and challenged for balls in the air I would have never had the courage to do so previously.
Confidence is 100% trainable. Anyone who tells you differently is completely WRONG. You’ll find the players who have the highest self doubt are also the individuals who lack the proper knowledge in order to believe in themselves. Gaining confidence takes time, practice, and patience. Here are 3 simple steps you can implement into your own life to boost your confidence on the field.
Fill your mind with great memories. It is important to reflect on your mistakes, however, learn from them and move on. I had a hard time forgetting the occasions when I would have a bad touch or make a wrong decision during a game. I would obsess over my blunders. If you dwell on something for too long, that particular situation will begin to become your reality. Your thought process during games will turn negative. You will not want to receive the ball. Your whole purpose on the pitch will be to not screw up.
The good news for you is memories can be forgotten. You can change your mind to reject negativity and embrace positivity. Every mistake in your life will begin to have a reason behind it. Constantly remind yourself what makes you unique. You have something that no one else has. In order to be the best you have to accept that you can be the best.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my pre-game rituals. Everything has to be done a certain way or else I become paranoid I cannot perform to my fullest potential. Developing a routine helps you understand what works and what doesn’t work. Even when I wake up, I have a certain pattern I follow in order to stay focused and motivated.
Following the same exact steps before a match helps you remember what worked for you previously, and gives you a psychological boost when you step on the field. For most athletes, including me, it helps calm my nerves before an important match.
Understanding you are not perfect is the first step to mastering your mind. Everyone has flaws and imperfections. Even the best athletes in the world make mistakes. However, it’s how you react to those mistakes which sets you apart from mere mortals. The Ronaldo’s and James’ of this world know what their weaknesses are, but instead of accepting they will never be good at a particular skill, they grind continuously until it becomes one of their strengths.
Understand the aspects of your game that need improvement.
Formulate a strategy for success.
Train like your life depended on it.