3 Tips To Having Pro Athlete Confidence

Athlete's on the PRO and elite levels, struggle to maintain there confidence, just like athlete's on every other level (I know this speaking from first hand experience during my 6 years in the NFL). On the PRO level you have the demands of performing at a high level daily, while competing against the best players in the world, and you're literally competing for your livelihood. You don't always have the benefit of having "off days" and on the occasions where you find yourself in a slump, you have to be able to bounce back even stronger in as little time as possible. Because of this reality PRO athlete's have strategies in their preparation that help them maintain to maintain there confidence, so that they're able to consistently play at their highest levels.

One of the ways athlete's on the PRO level do this is by focusing on developing their self generated confidence. Self generated confidence is an inner belief in yourself that is independent of any external factors. When you have self generated confidence it doesn’t matter if you’re in a situation you have never been in before, or if everything just took a turn for the worst because, when you have self generated confidence you have a belief in your ability to figure things out, even when you don't have the solution at the moment.

This may sound basic, but most athlete's don't develop this type of self generated confidence, and they have reactionary confidence, reactionary confidence is confidence that comes from an external force. This can come from people who encourage you (coaches, family, and friends), it can be based on a result, outcome, or anything else outside of your control that causes your confidence to increase or decrease.

Most of us have self generated confidence in certain areas that are familiar or in specific situations where we know we thrive, or have previously had success, but a lot of times it’s not until we are faced with unfamiliar situations, when things aren’t going the way that we planned, or when we don’t have immediate success, that we can begin to doubt ourselves, and we don’t step forward with the same levels of confidence and assurance that we might in other areas, and that’s usually due to not proactively focusing on improving our self generated confidence.

Regardless of the goals or dreams you want to accomplish, to accomplish those goals, and to reach your next level, whatever that may look like, we have to be proactive about developing our self generated confidence, because it is the number 1 thing that affects our performance and how we show up daily as we’re chasing down those goals.

When we don’t have self generated confidence, it shows up by us “playing small”, we allow our enviornments to shape how we show up, and we avoid areas that aren’t our strengths so that we aren’t “exposed.”

Those feelings of doubt, uncertainty, and really a lack of confidence usually experienced because we haven’t proactively focused on creating self generated confidence.

Self generated confidence isn't something that we "get", it's developed from the self trust you build in yourself from the work you put in, and is a continual work in progress. The biggest benefit of having conditioned self generated confidence is that your self belief and confidence doesn’t waiver, regardless of the situation you’re faced with.

3 simple ways you can increase your self generated confidence

Tip 1: Put Yourself In Position To Win

This comes from being self aware and knowing the specific things help you to be at your best.

An example of how I did this during my career in the NFL:

One of the things that set me up to win was getting extra reps. Throughout the week I would get extra reps in before and after practice, I would get extra reps on days off whether those were mental reps, or focusing on my recovery, because I one thing that set me up to win was that I always had more confidence when I felt like I had outworked my opponent in my preparation.

I would spend extra time watching film on the guys I would be matched up against to figure out how I would create my advantage, and I would create individual game plans for myself with the specific things I wanted to execute based on my match ups. Then I created a system for myself so that each day I knew exactly what extra reps I would get and how I would maximize my preparation for that day.

So as you're looking for ways to set yourself up to win, what things help you to be at your best?

Tip 2: Create Daily Development Plans

After you identify what those specific things are that set you up to win, create a system for yourself so that your time is focused on your execution, and not what you could or should be doing. In my career, having a system for success was huge because it created more consistency for me in my preparation.

Rather than only getting extra reps when I was motivated because I didn’t play to my standards, or not getting those extra reps when I had “good days”, I was more efficient with the quality of my preparation.

Tip 3: Evaluate Your Performances To Your Standards

Most of us are evaluated in some way, whether it be by our coaches or trainers, but It’s important that you evaluate yourself and measure your performances to your standards.

While I was in the NFL after every practice and game we would watch the film with our coaches as an offensive unit, and then we would break up by position to watch the film.

Most guys would make notes on things if the coach pointed them out, but one thing I always did for myself was I would evaluate my performance to my standard whether it was pointed out by a coach or not.

This was big for me because there were times when I saw something my coach may not have commented on because the ball was thrown to someone else, or other times where my technique might not have been as good as I thought it could, but because I made the play, it would have been overlooked by a coach.

But by always evaluating my performances based on my personal standards, I always had a development plan with the specific points of emphasis for things I needed to focus on or improve on.

These 3 tips are simple things to implement, for the areas where you may want to improve your self generated confidence, and there are many other ways to as well, but the most important thing I want to to take away is that self generated confidence is like a muscle.

The only way for muscles to grow and get stronger is to train them consistently, so whether you use the three tips I shared with or not it’s important that you are doing something every day to increase your self generated confidence, because your athletic goals and dreams are depending on it.

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