As a high performance athlete (or aspiring to be) you know what it is like to feel confidant in what you are doing, conversely; you know all to well what it feels like to lack confidence at a competition or training event. Self-confidence gives you the mind set for not only success in your athletic pursuits but also respect from your teammates, Coaches and other peers. Self belief breeds successful attitudes for any aspect of your life, regardless if it originated through sport. However when you meet a non-success or straight up failure in the target that you have set for yourself, it impacts your confidence to a great extent. Over a series of failures it can take a considerable amount of time to refocus your attitudes and start believing in yourself again.
Here are 5 simple but effective hacks that you can try to improve your self-confidence and self-belief.
1. Personal grooming
One of the most simple but powerful tips to boost your confidence is to dress well and be well-groomed, wherever you go. Wear the appropriate clothing to school, training facility, even just out with friends. Ensure your clothes are well-matched without a wrinkles (yes, learn how to iron). It is a fact that when you dress smartly, you start to feel confident about yourself.
2. Perfect your breathing
You will have plenty of opportunity to feel stressed, nervous and anxious in life. You should be be very aware of and careful to not give in to these pressures. If you believe in your abilities, you won’t bow down to these nervous situations. We all get nervous, what you need to understand is the importance of slowing down and practice simple breathing exercises. When you feel bogged down, upset or nervous, take a break from whatever you are doing and relax well through slow rhythmic breathing. Calm down the palpitations that race from your heart and knock your eardrums down. As you breath slowly and deeply, in through nose and out through your mouth; count backwards from ten down to zero. Once you have calmed down, think about the situation objectively (emotion is the culprit) & take appropriate actions to address what was upsetting you. When you are calm, you are more likely make the right decisions. With more right decisions come more success, thereby improving your self-confidence to a large extent.
3. Motivational pep-talks
When you feel a low phase, look into the mirror and give yourself a much needed pep-talk. Remind yourself of your potential, and affirm to yourself that you will achieve the goals you have set out. Also remind yourself (out loud) of a few past incidents where you did a commendable job. Appreciate yourself for achieving your goals to date. Grab a pen and paper and list your strengths and tell yourself why you are the best person to reach your desired goal. These small, pep–talks go a long way in increasing your self-belief.
4. Improve your body language
Walk upright and always look into the eyes of the person/people you are speaking to. When you are addressing anyone, be it a crowd or just a few friends; smile and take time to focus your attention to each person. Work on your stage presence and practice making eye contact with all the people in the gathering, when you speak. Practice speaking slowly and clearly; also practice and develop a firm handshake. Do you brighten up a room when you enter or do you brighten it up when you leave?
5. Move away from negativity
An important tip to remain self-confident is to stay away from negativity. If your friends or teammates doubting your abilities & tell you that you cannot achieve your desired goals than you need to stay away from them, period. Negativity is contagious & extremely habit forming. Negative 'vibes' dampen the energizing thoughts in your mind. Find & stay with people who are confident about their own actions and supportive of others. Garbage in, garbage out.