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How Athletes Gain Confidence in Sports

Updated: Sep 23, 2022


Self confidence can be defined as the sureness that an athlete feels that they are equal to the task or challenge that presents itself. Whenever anyone hears the word confidence it is sort of a trigger word. People hear the word confidence and automatically go toward a negative thought. I have never understood why this is such a “taboo” word among the world of instruction. Over my years of experience, I have to wonder if we have been conditioned to believe that if someone brings up the topic of confidence, as it pertains to sports, it means you are struggling with it personally. I would like to redefine this term and use this blog to aid other instructors when discussing the topic of confidence.



How big of a role does confidence play in a student’s ability to succeed in sports or activities?

As an instructor who competed as a competitive cheerleader, I knew the importance of being supportive of your fellow team mates. Learning new things can be scary, but knowing that you have a few people in your corner who know what you're going through makes the world of difference! There is something comforting about knowing that the thing you're afraid to attempt, the person next to you has done it, and you didn’t see them get discouraged or give up. They pushed because someone on their team or in their corner told them they could do it. And in order to not let that fellow team member down, you push yourself outside of your comfort zone the same way you saw others do.

When it comes to the performance aspect of the any sport, it can directly reflect better confidence.

When students perform well, they are willing to try a more difficult skill. I use this tactic when I am teaching a student a new skill, I like to break the skill into many different parts using skill drills or “stations” This way, the student is not overwhelmed all at once. They are allowed to visualize themselves attempting the skill. So when it is time for spotting, I can walk them through and they are more comfortable with attempting. Giving a student something smaller to focus on, that they can excel at, will prepare them for something else a little more difficult.


It is extremely important, as an instructor, to make sure that your students KNOW without a doubt, that they have your unconditional support from the people around them.

Being an ex athlete has allowed me to see instruction through a different set of lenses. You have someone telling you to do something that you have NEVER attempted in your life and the student is expected to just trust that you will catch them? When a student is working on a new skill, there are so many variables that are running through their minds: “Will I hit my head?” “Will my coach catch me?” “Can I even do this?” “What did I bring for a snack?!” The LAST thing that student wants to think is that the person they are putting all of their trust into doesn’t think that they have the full capabilities to execute said skill. I can not tell you how effective it is to show your students that you believe in them. Building that trust early on will allow your student to become comfortable with the uncomfortable and will allow them to progress at a faster rate. This is called verbal persuasion.

Another way athletes can build confidence is through the support of the fellow team mates!

I like to create a sense of camaraderie among all the students in my classroom. Not only is it great for the moral of the students, but it gives the students a sense of accomplishment when they push through their fears and the students around them cheered them on. That in itself, is confidence building. Students must understand that sometimes you will fall, but it is about how you get back up and try again that matters.

Lastly, you must believe in yourself and your abilities in order to grow as an athlete in these areas.

You bring all of your past challenges and what you have learned from them to help you in this moment of need. THIS is the basis of what you will need in order to breed confidence. With everyone around you filling the space with love and compassion, it gives you a sense of responsibility to yourself to go far and push yourself. I believe this also gives into pride, no one wants to fail when they have so much support around them. Students must know that you will never get over night results. Every sport has a specific process and technical aspect that makes it challenging. I would like to encourage instructors to stress to your students, that you will not always succeed. But you will always persevere with the help of your coaches, team mates, and a positive mindset.







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