Welcome back for part two on my little series on how to gain confidence in football.

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you know I’m adamant about researching ways to help players improve their performance.

Hopefully you’ll find something here that’ll help you out.

Let’s finish up.

>>Previously: How to Gain Confidence in Football Part 1


What Do You Say When You Talk to Yourself?

Just like any other learned trait, it takes practice and repetition to develop the ability to think in a way that will promote confidence.

You won’t get it right the first time, but if you practice it over and over, you’ll have no choice but to improve.

One of the best things you can do is take notice to what you’re saying to yourself when you’re on the field.

NY Jets’ rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill says he visualizes his performance prior to each game. (ICON Sports)

I mean REALLY listen.

If you recognize that the conversation going on in your head isn’t going to help you play to the best of your ability, CHANGE it.

Treat it just like a real-life verbal conversation you’re having with someone when you want to change the subject.

Just start there.  Will negative thoughts creep in from time to time?  Absolutely, but you’ll get better and better if you continue to work at it.


You Gotta Feel It!

A lot of players visualize, but I’ve found that a lot of them leave out one crucial element; they don’t feel the feeling of the the event that they’re visualizing.

The feeling of what you’re experiencing in your imagination is what makes the biggest impression on your subconscious mind when you’re visualizing.  The feeling is what gives you the confidence you’re looking for when you visualize before a game or competition.



Let’s say you’re a free safety, you’re in the locker room in pre-game, and you’re visualizing making a break on the ball coming out of your middle third in cover 3 to make that game-changing pick…

What would go through your mind when you see the ball released from the qb?

How would if feel to open your hips and get to the ball?

What would it sound like after you caught the ball and intercepted it?

What’s on your mind as you’re returning the ball, trying to get to the end zone?

Excitement?  Are you laughing?  Yelling at teammates asking them to block for you?

That’s how detailed you need to get when you’re visualizing; that is, if you want to get the most out of it.

>>Related: How to Calm Your Nerves and Relax Before a Game


Learning from Mistakes

When you make mistakes, try to look at things from a perspective of “power” instead of from a perspective that’s going to damage your confidence.

Let’s say you’re a corner who got beat for a touchdown in the game.  How you look at it is your choice.

You have two choices:

1.  Look at it as proof that you’re not a good corner, and/or get mad at yourself, or
2.  Look at is as something that has happened to you that you can learn from and develop character from.

Which one do you think is more likely to help you maintain your confidence?  That’s right, #2.  And again, it’s your choice!

Isn’t that exciting?

Another powerful thing you can do after every game, is write down the things you learned from the game.  Try to come up with at least three.  This way, you’re taking control of your progression as a football player.

Instead of getting better over the first couple weeks of the season and regressing back into your old mistakes for another week or so, you’re setting the sails on your progression.

If you write down what you learn after each game, you ingrain the lessons in your mind.

>> Related: Bounce Back Faster! 5 Essentials of Athletic Injury Management

If you take lessons away from each game (and the mistakes you made) instead of looking at those same mistakes in a negative light, you’re looking at them from a positive light, which will help maintain your confidence instead of damage it.

So, if I could sum-up this series in one sentence, I’d say it all boils down to taking control of your thoughts, and “choosing” to look at things from a positive standpoint that will support and enhance your confidence.

Good luck gentlemen!

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REFERENCES: Sports: Introduction of Confidence (psychologytoday.com)

20 Tips to Build Confidence (mindsportlive.com)

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