How to Win Back Your Confidence

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She was stressed. Shoulders tense, brows furrowed. The smile and ever-present ease she brought to practice was missing. Every repetition, every drill was forced, scrutinized, never good enough.

She was sobbing. Eyes scanning, hyper-aware of all around her. The control and maturity once displayed was missing. Any form of encouragement or instruction sent her over the edge.

She was isolated. Gate slow, head hung low. The desire to improve, to try again, to be with her teammates was missing. She just didn’t care anymore.  

Anxiety. Angst. Apathy.

Have you seen yourself in any of these situations?

Whether in or out of sport, we all face situations and circumstances that cause us to feel down, disillusioned or depressed. Oftentimes in sport, such feelings can be magnified with wins and losses. Personal victories and failures. Awards and recognitions. Competitors and critics.

In all of it, we can lose our confidence. Lose our sense of purpose. Lose ourselves.

So what can you do? To get back to a place of enjoyment and wholeness? To a place of confidence?

Here are 3 Steps you must take to win back your confidence:

First, you must accept that you will face adversity. You will have frustrating days. You will have disappointing days. You will have days where you fall flat on your face. Literally. It is sport. It is life. It happens.

Second, respond in a positive way. Don’t avoid, ignore, or downplay your feelings. When you do, those above situations of anxiety, angst and apathy take hold causing not just your well-being, but your performance to suffer.

Here are some examples of positive ways to respond when your feelings are dragging down your confidence:

  • Spend some time in silence. Breathe. Clear your mind of all distraction. A great app to try is Headspace.
  • Journal. Getting your feelings outside of you will help immensely. Journaling gives a safe place for your worry, your stress, your unkind, crazy thoughts to go. Once you’ve dumped them, YOU decide if those feelings need further attention or if you can just leave them there on the paper.
  • Look in the mirror. Say 3 positive I AM statements about your character (not appearance) outloud. Example; I am kind, I am funny, I am a good friend. Repeat as often as necessary.
  • Go outside. Go for a walk. A run. Yoga in the park. Sit under a tree and read. Connecting with nature is a great way to refresh your mind and soul.
  • Find old pictures. Lots of times we forget why we started sport in the first place. Reminisce on old times, reflect on how you’ve grown, and remember what it’s like to have fun.
  • Do a hobby. Paint. Draw. Craft. Rock climb. Play guitar. Sew. Jam out to your favorite song. Go do something that brings you joy that has nothing to do with your sport. Balance brings perspective.
  • Set boundaries. This could be the time you spend on your phone. This could be with relationships. This could be how often you practice. This could be with the food you eat. Protect yourself by setting boundaries where you feel safe and supported.

Thirdly, when it comes to regaining your confidence, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We get help in school from teachers and tutors. We get in sport from coaches and trainers. It’s okay to ask for help when your soul, mind and spirit are down and depleted. This could be a teacher or coach. But also a counselor, a doctor, a parent or a pastor, among others.

“When it comes to regaining your confidence, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Above all, know your worth is not tied to any one score or statistic. Your value is not tied to the medal or title you earn. And your dreams are not determined by your critics.

You are worth it. Play now. Play YOU!

XO, Coach D

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