Confidence is a player’s belief in their ability to perform well in any situation, practice or game. Confidence is derived from a baseline assessment of past performances, training, and preparation. As competency or skill mastery grows, your confidence becomes proportionately stronger. In order for players to develop high levels of confidence, they must have a clear understanding of the factors that boost and undermine their confidence, such as high expectations.
Confidence is a core mental game skill because of its importance and relationship to other mental skills. Harvey Dorfman (2005) describes confidence as a mindset based on tangible sources such as one’s past success in sports. Athletes derive confidence from one or more of the following three sources:
1. From practice
2. From what other people say or do
3. From immediate past performance
It is important to mention these sources because in order to enhance confidence athletes have to a clear understanding of their source of confidence. Many athletes believe that confidence comes from past success, playing well or positive experiences in their sport. Confidence also varies depending on the task you are performing. For example baseball players may be very confident in their hitting, but less confident with their defensive play. Doubt, indecision and negative thoughts are the opposite of confidence.
If athletes maintain doubts prior to or during their performance, this indicates low self-confidence. One intervention is by refuting doubts and instilling a positive/confident belief system. Another intervention to enhance confidence is helping athletes developing a confidence resume of all the reasons an athlete as to feel confident. This entails athletes taking control of their confidence level and being proactive with their confidence.