Friday, 7 February 2014


What Is
If I were to ask you to picture in your mind a confident swimmer, how would you
describe this person? Descriptions that are typically used include: head up, bounce
to her step, shoulders back, speaks of being able to swim well, manages her
nervousness, seems unfazed by competitors, etc. While these descriptions may be
accurate, a characteristic of a confident athlete that you can’t see is
– an
inner belief or conviction in one’s ability to swim well regardless of the external
Essentially, self-confidence is the belief in one’s ability to succeed
When your
coach tells you the intervals to hold in a set, confidence is the belief that you can
make the intervals. When you are at Nationals for the first time and step up on the
block for your race, confidence is the belief in your ability to race up to your
capabilities (as you have demonstrated throughout the season). Research on elite
athletes across sports suggests that a high level of self-confidence, as well as the
ability to maintain that high level over time, is a factor they have in common. The
challenge is in figuring out how this skill/ characteristic can be developed in athletes.
Contrary to what most people think, people who have high self-confidence
sometimes doubt themselves or their abilities; elite athletes report feelings of
apprehension and pressure prior to competition but still perform well. So being
confident doesn’t mean the absence of negative thoughts or feelings. Rather,
confident athletes believe in their ability to perform well despite feelings such as
apprehension or doubt
. For example, when training has been going poorly or when
competitive performances are below average, confident athletes still believe in their
ability to perform well. Not an easy task! In this chapter, we’ll discuss strategies to
help you become a more confident athlete

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