Developing Confidence

So: Next shoot. Will you do well?

"Confidence" is about your answer to that question, or one like it. "Confident" people say "Yes" and believe it. Everybody else says "Oo, er, not sure about that..." (except for the smartasses who say "I'm absolutely confident of messing it up totally." - which is not quite what we're getting at here...).

So does it matter? If it does, where does confidence come from? And what can you do if it's not there when you want it?

Topics covered on this page:

Why confidence matters

What creates confidence?
Managing for confidence
... and on dependent pages:

Building confidence with Goal-setting

Positive thinking
Other peoples' opinions
Why confidence matters Top of page
Expectations of success mean better motivation Who tries hard - or even at all - if they expect to fail? And how much harder does someone work when they believe there's a real chance of success?
Self-confidence improves resilience Setbacks matter less if you are confident that you can overcome them. 'Nerves' matter less if you believe you will win out.
  ... and the result of those is:
Self-confidence improves performance Better motivation, better response to setbacks, and lower response to nerves add up to a winning combination. Maybe that's why confident people always seem to achieve more?
Where confidence comes from Top of page
Past success "Nothing succeeds like success", as they say. The most obvious source of real confidence is a lot of past success, and not a lot of failures.
This is the other reason confident people seem to achieve more - they already have, or maybe they wouldn't be confident! But there seems to be a positive feedback there: "Achieve, and you will be confident; be confident, and you will achieve"
(OK, I just made that up. But it seems a reasonable summary)
Success needn't be chance; see here for how to establish a track record of success.
Positive thinking

Well, there's a vague concept if ever I saw one :). But there seems to be something in it. Someone who focusses on the possibility of failure may not try - and if you don't try, you can't really expect much chance of success. But the same situation holds the possibility of success.
There's an important lesson in there; maybe the way you look at a situation can change your feelings about it. And feelings can change behaviour, which can change performance. See here for more info.

Other people's opinion A trusted friend who believes you can succeed, adds to your confidence. A lot of trusted friends who believe you can succeed add a lot to your confidence.


Managing for confidence Top of page
Things we CAN manage
Of the factors above, both athlete and coach can influence success through goal setting, and also do something to manage our own thinking. These two are dealt with on the following links (repeated from the top of the page).

Building confidence with Goal-setting

Positive thinking

Things we can't manage
The most difficult thing to manage is probably other peoples' opinions. For my take on this, see  here.

Top of page
Resources Back up to relaxation page

Check out the Mental Game Plan for a whole chapter on confidence building.