So you might be asking, what exactly is self-confidence pertaining to football? Think of it as your everyday belief in your ability to perform well and win games. The trait of self-confidence is what translates into big plays on the football field. Without it, you’ll most likely lack the will, desire and mental ability to perform well. In fact, without confidence there is no expectation for positive results. If you want to play poorly, just expect to, however if you want to be your best and dominate your opponent, you have to EXPECT to! So, how do football players develop this expectancy and confidence? Confidence comes from several sources and it varies from person to person, but here are some clues. Football players get confidence from one or more of the following sources:
1. Past success and experience
2. Playing on a good football team
3. Performing well in the immediate past
4. Peers and coaches
5. Efficient practice
6. Your faith and/or understanding of your uniqueness
Here are a few tips that can help you feel confident throughout any game you’re in:
Believe in your talents and skills as a player. This is the core definition of confidence. If you truly believe in your skills at football as well as your physical talents, then it is said you have confidence. If you believe in yourself more than anyone on the field, then you have confidence. This comes from the trust in your skills at your position, such as running effective routes, throwing accurately, proper technique when catching the football, being able to burst and/or stop, high pointing the ball, being a great blocker, etc.
The best way to keep your football confidence strong is to constantly remind yourself why you will succeed. Most football players fail to give themselves enough credit for the successes and other skills they possess that contribute to the team. Each player, whether they are on the first team offense or scout team defense have an important role on the team.
Write it Down!
Players often overlook their own personal successes on the field while others simply disqualify positives in their career as if they’re insignificant.
I’d recommend that you compose a list of reasons why you deserve to succeed and read it before every practice and game.
So, what’s on your list for the reasons to succeed? It can be comprised of your ability, your team, your strong work ethic, past success, good coaches, practice, fitness, and many other areas that contribute to confidence. Write down at least 6 things and hopefully it will build into 12, 24, or even more! This makes for a great foundation for football confidence.
Make reading your ‘confidence list’ part of your pre-game routine. Another mental technique is running your plays in your head over and over. Visualize every detail from rolling off the front foot of a proper stance (without a stutter step!), to breaking down in 3 steps, then getting your elbow and head around and finally catching the ball out in front of your body with your fingers.
See it in your mind and feel the rush of pride that comes with excellent performance.
Battle the doubt
Part of staying confident is battling your own internal doubt. No one is perfect and in times of adversity it’s tough not to have any doubts about winning. But, to be successful and push through these rough stages of mental thought, you must remain optimistic and fight any negative thoughts until they’re silenced. The first place to start is to identify any doubts you have had in the past, one’s that are themes in your athletic career such as “My team is not good enough to win.” The next step is to counter the doubt with statements that turn the situation around into an advantage such as: “I have the confidence that my team can play better than any team we play and with my the help of my talents, we can be great.”
You have to see it before you can achieve it. This is called the law of attraction. It’s so simple for children to have big dreams about the future, but as adults that same ability gets beaten down by others.
Keeping your dream alive means seeing and feeling success close in hand and not letting anyone take that vision away from you.
To win at football, you have to see yourself win over and over again. With that vision comes confidence that it is all possible.
Use the past to feel confident today. Most football players would say that past success and experience in playing is the number one source for confidence today. You can tap into your success in the past to help you feel confident today by replaying successful games, practices, conversations, in your mind. In today’s game you might recall a successful play you had on a similar field or in similar conditions.
Patience is a form of football confidence. A patient wide receiver is a confident wide receiver. A patient linebacker is a confident linebacker.
The challenge in football is to stay patient when things are not going your way. It’s easy to give in to internal doubt and criticism when you are not on top in your game.
But the better choice is to stay patient with results and wait for good things to happen. A patient football player says to himself that “it might not be happing right now but I know my play will take a turn for the better without doubt!” Stay focused on perfecting your technique and don’t let a few mishaps deter you from playing at the high level you know you’re capable of. Follow these rules and you’re sure to succeed in every game and walk onto the field with a high level of football confidence.
This excerpt comes from the book, “The Art of Playing Wide Receiver” by Eric Van Tassel.