SA School Sports


Last updateTue, 04 Dec 2018 12pm

   Join our newsletter here:      
Back You are here: Home
Monday, 18 March 2019 10:05

Greater Confidence Beyond Sport- Part 6

Written by  Iain Shippey

 Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the USA said:“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

I often say that ‘sport is the theater of life.’ What I mean is that a lot of life’s issues play out on the sport’s field. Sport becomes the stage on which I give expression to so many things: character, relationships, determination, discipline, and, the topic of this series - confidence.

As you learn a principle from sports psychology, try to identify the principle in other aspects of your everyday life. For example, focus is a critical subject in sports. The same principles taught there could be applied when writing an exam or having to shut out the noise in a stressful situation and stay focused on the most important issue.

When it comes to practicing and mastering confidence, here are a few ways you can grow your confidence beyond the sports field:

  • Develop the attitude that demanding situations are challenges to be sought out. Intentionally stretch yourself and regularly push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Believe that experiencing challenges is a necessary part of becoming the best athlete you can.
  • Discover how to find ‘mental footholds’ to climb the cliff face of life’s challenges.
  • Focus on what you need to do to overcome the challenges.
  • Accept that failure isn’t fatal; and confidence and courage are muscles that need a regular workout.

Reframing Negative Experiences - Use Negative Thinking Positively

Even though I emphasize being positive at all times, the fact is, you can't always be. You don't always perform as well as you want to, and there is going to be some negative thinking. All athletes fall into these mental potholes in the road. So much of sport is about reframing situations and moving to a new mental state. In his writing, Jim Taylor writes about two kinds of negative thinking:

There are two types of negative thinking: give-up negative thinking and fire-up negative thinking. Give-up negative thinking involves feelings of loss and despair and helplessness, for example, "It's over. I can't win this." You dwell on past mistakes and failures. It lowers your motivation and confidence, and it takes your focus away from performing your best. Your intensity also drops because basically you're surrendering and accepting defeat. There is never a place in sports for give-up negative thinking.

In contrast, fire-up negative thinking involves feelings of anger and energy, of being psyched up, for example, "I'm doing so badly. I hate performing this way" (said with anger and intensity). You look to doing better in the future because you hate performing poorly. Fire-up negative thinking increases your motivation to fight and turn things around. Your physical intensity goes up and you're bursting with energy. Your focus is on being aggressive and defeating your opponent.”

Thinc Sport 2 copy

Related items