Confidence is crucial to the success of a football player.

Bottom line, if you don’t play with confidence, you’re not going to reach your potential.

As you know by now, I have a personal quest to learn as much as I can when it comes to helping players perform at their peak.

bullock 210x300 How to Gain Confidence in Football

Former NFL linebacker Keith Bullock is now studying to become a sports psychologist. (ICON Sports)

As a result, I was inspired to do some research to learn more about how to gain confidence in football.

Confidence can be a complex topic, so I won’t be able to cover every single aspect in a little blog post; but hopefully you’ll get one or two tips from this article that will help you improve your confidence on the field.

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

 

Don’t Become Your Own Enemy

To me, the biggest reason why confidence is important in competitive sports is because you’re becoming your own worst enemy if you’re not confident.

If you really think about it, if you’re lacking confidence out there on the field, you’re outnumbering yourself and giving the other team an extra person… you.

You already have the other team going against you; if you have low confidence, you’re actually playing for the other team in a sense, if you think about it.

Let’s say you’re a running back, who has the ability to run for 200 yards or more against a particular opponent.  But what if you don’t believe that you can rush for 200 yards?

In that case, it’s next to impossible to perform in a manner that will get you the 200 yards, because you don’t believe you can do it.

To have true confidence, you don’t have to go as far as to guarantee a win, besides, all that does is just add more unnecessary pressure on yourself and your teammates.

True confidence is all about believing that you can perform to the best of your ability if you do what you’re supposed to do out on the field.

 

Importance of Self-Talk

What you say to yourself matters.  And what’s so awesome about it, is that you get to choose what you say to yourself, just like you can choose what you say verbally to other people.

Whether what you say to yourself is positive or negative can kick-off a long-term cycle of either success or failure.

Negative self-talk leads to bad performances, which quite often lead to even more negative self-talk, which turns into more bad performances, and so on.

 

But the good news, is that if you choose positive self-talk, you can create the same type of pattern but in a positive sense.  The choice is really yours.

Now will thinking positively make you successful all the time?  HECK no.  But even if you fail, even if you get beat for a touchdown, you control your self-talk.

You and you alone.

And that self-talk can serve as your foundation for maintaining confidence, despite what’s going on or what just happened on the field.

 

Dealing With Failure

Failure is tricky.  You have to know how to deal with it.  If you’re not disciplined enough to maintain positive self-talk in the midst of failure and disappointment, failure will rob you of your confidence.

If you’re not careful, failure will make you think that your positive self-talk was unjustified.

But again, what you think and say to yourself is under your complete control.  Don’t ever forget that.  When you forget that, you’ve lost your power.

Sometimes literally.

Like Jim Taylor, Ph.D said in the article Sports: Introduction to Confidence, “confidence is a skill.”  I never really thought about it like that before, but it really is.  It’s no different than learning how to swing a baseball bat the right way.

You can either practice mental habits that ingrain confidence, or mental habits that ingrain doubt in your abilities.  You have to learn how to control your thoughts.  If you don’t control them, they will control you.

I’m gettin’ kinda long-winded on this one, so we’ll pick up on this one in part two, coming soon.

Later.

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

20 Tips to Build Confidence (via mindsportlive.com) 

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