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Self Doubts & Positive Thinking

Winning Strategies to Conquer Self Doubt
        As a coach or parent you can help an athlete, who is consumed with self doubts, to deal with their negativity.               

      The good news is that it is possible to over come self doubt and set yourself free to do great things with the right techniques and a bit of practice.

A Little Self Doubt is Natural
      Everyone at some time or other feeling they are unable to do a task or not deserving to be successful. These feelings do not mean that you will fail. Of course we can sabotage the possibility of success and  the feeling has become self fulfilling prophecy.  On the other hand our self doubt can stimulate thinking about deciding to take a course of action will result in being successful. Self doubt that causes a complete lack of faith in our own abilities is an excuse, not a reason for not taking action.

Taking some calculated risks is necessary to be successful
       If you don't take some risks; you will never really know you could have done more with your abilities.

       If you know someone who is sabotaging their goals and limiting their potential, suggest to them the following techniques:

It is important to Believe in One's Abilities
        Everyone is a unique and talented person with the potential to be successful. Accepting this as a statement as truth is the foundation of beating self doubt. If you don not believe, you can not defeat self doubt!

Think Positive Thoughts
        Happiness is feeling good about ourselves. When we are very young we don't think there are any limits and we are optimistic about what we can achieve. The negativity comes from the older individuals we come into contact with and is like an infection that from nowhere will quickly become full blown negative thoughts  such as -
  • I'm not worthy…
  • I can’t do it…
  • It’s impossible for me…
  • I’d like to try it but…
  • I don’t deserve this…

       These types of phrases are the first sign our confidence has become infected with self doubt. An  awareness of these thoughts strike and allow us to objectively see them for what they are and the need to minimize their effects on you.

Acknowledge Your Doubts
       Do not to ignore your doubts or pretend they will miraculously just go away. By acknowledging a problem exists, it is possible to confront the problem for what it is. Self doubt is a form of fear and only by recognizing this fear can we confront what needs to be done.

Examine the Doubt
       After acknowledging their is a problem with self doubting, write down what it is and identify its trigger. Often there is a pattern to the way we react in similar situations that cause our emotional response and creates a sense of uncertainty/doubts.

Take Action
       It sounds too simple to say that the most effective antidote to self doubt is to take action, but it is that simple if you believe in your abilities. Devising a plan on how to achieve a obtainable goal will fuel  self confidence. The preparation will identify what is required to complete the specific objectives of the goal. The preparation provide reassurance that, “You can do it”.

       The start of any journey requires breaking the major task into smaller tasks. When begin to see that you can do the smaller tasks, your confidence will increase and you are ready to undertake the larger tasks of your plan. Confidence breeds success!

Get Fired Up
       How do you feel when you achieve success? Are you excited, energized, full of passion? These positive emotions will allow you to believe in your strengths and abilities to achieve this sensation on a regular basis.

Keep a Record of Achievement /Accomplishments
        After achieving success, devote some time an energy to reflect on the things you have already achieved. Include some comments on the elements that allow you to be successful. It’s useful to have this positive reminder to look review.

Don't be Negative
       It  human to not do some things as well as you would like while succeeding at others. We all make mistakes, so use these mistakes to serve as a guide for improvement the next time you try. Forgive yourself for failing and don’t replay your mistakes over and over in your mind.

       There is a natural elation when successfully pursuing your dreams and disappointment when we don't always reach the same performance levels every time; however. this is not  a reason to stop trying to live as fully as you can.

       Face down self doubt, recognize it, and refocus using the tips and techniques suggested above. You can stare down self doubt and use your self confidence to move onwards to achieving your goals.

The Power of Confidence in Athletes
       Self-doubt often affects athletes in competition. The following is a summary of how athletes can over come self-doubt and a lack of confidence.

       Athletes in any sport need to have confidence in their ability to be able to succeed. Everyone has the ability to acquire self-confidence through training. Athletes who have a high level of self-confidence are able to influence their sporting performance, and their competitors attitude towards them.

       Athlete's with optimal self-confidence have a greater potential to perform at or near their full potential. Typically such an athlete will:

  • Be positive in their approach to their performance
  • Take risks to improve their performance
  • Have a "always a winner" mental attitude, even when not winning a competition
  • Focus on the positives of their performance. Don't let negatives get them down
  • Take constructive criticism well

  •         Psychologists refer to three different types of confidence:
    • Diffidence refers to a lack of self-confidence. Anyone experiencing this are less likely to perform to their full potential as they focus on the fear of failure and withdraw from the competition.

    Children may suffer from this when they come up against other children who have better equipment (such as trainers and skates, and outfits), coaches, and practice opportunities.

    This lack of self-confidence will causes athletes who think they are going to fail to start making excuses for their poor performance before they even take part in their event.

    • Optimal self-confidence is exhibited by athletes setting realistic goals that are often achieved. These individuals have the ability to look at their performance levels objectively and have the courage and heart to keep motivated and carry on with their training programs and competitions.
    • Over-confident or "false-confidence" refers to when an athlete has a skewed mental image of how well they can perform and their exaggerated assessment of their abilities. They may already believe that their technical abilities are the best they can be, and as such there is no need improve their technical skills and performance under competitive stressful situations.
    Self-doubt Affects Athletes
           Oxford Dictionary defines "Self-doubt" as a "lack of confidence in oneself and one's abilities".

           Self-doubt and anxiety have a huge affect on an athlete's performance. This is particularly true for sports with multiple component or choices that occur during a performance as the athlete can focuses on an earlier error or omission and is unable to focus positively on completing the remaining elements that make up their score or mark.

           Athletes focusing on positive thoughts do not allow their negative subconscious thoughts/feelings to surface. This ability allows their self-confidence to remain strong without diminishing the technical and presentation skills. Their performance skills are automatic rather than tentative behavior.

           Some athletes who are confident in their abilities at a lower competitive level, become overwhelmed by self-doubt if they reach the semi-final or final round. Although they have the skills to win, their self-doubt affects their mental preparation during training, competitive performances, and eventually in their overall commitment to achieving an elite status. 

    Overcoming Self-doubt and a Lack of Confidence
           Self-confidence can be undermined by an athlete's poor performance. They need to focus on and refer to their best performances, not necessarily their last performance.

           An athlete can rebuild their confidence by:

    • Mentally visualize their good performances to remind themselves of this positive experience and what this performance felt like.
    • Study the performance of others (in person and televised competitions) and try to visualize performing at the level of the top skaters.
    • Some coaches advocate skaters imagining possible scenarios that might occur and how to cope with them. This usually helps skater feel well prepared and increases their confidence.
    • The memory can be trained using positive verbal comments/statements. The athlete can take a coaches' positive affirmations and keep repeating them as a mantra.

           Sometimes an athlete interprets a coach's attempt of constructive feedback in a negative way that damages the confidence of that athlete. The athlete needs to learn to ignore comments that are not constructive and helpful, or from source who is not credible or knowledgeable.

           The easiest way to overcome a lack of self-confidence is to heavily focus on all the positives of the athlete. The coach needs to discuss with the athlete their performances and current achievements in a way that motivates them and installs confidence. For example, the athlete and coach will:

  • Discuss the athletes' performance in a rational and non-emotional way
  • Discuss the small manageable things that can help the athlete improve
  • Discuss and highlight the things that were good in the athlete's past performances
  • Discuss the athletes' achievements to date
  • Discuss other possibilities of achieving the athlete's goal(s)
  • Discuss the positive performance of the skater's competitors or team mates
  • Every individual needs to be honest when reviewing their performance: this means
    looking at both the positives and the negatives. Too many athletes focus only on the
    negatives when they should be focusing on the good things in their performance.

           The athlete needs to write and focus on specific achievable goals. This makes the challenge manageable and will motivate the athlete to achieve their personal goals.

           To improve self-confidence, the athlete needs acquire the ability to controlling their emotions.

    Recommended Reading:

    Developing Personality and Character Traits

    5 Steps to Deal with Self-Doubt and Trust Your Self Again Muting the voices of self-doubt gremlins can be quite a feat. Here are some things that can help you trust yourself again when feeling defeated:

    7 Simple Steps to Conquering Self-Doubt Self-doubt can be a stealthy problem. If you suspect that it exists, you need to pull it into the light so it can be dealt with. Even the most self-confident among us will experience doubt from time to time. Because we can’t completely avoid it, we need a strategy that allows us to contend with, and conquer self-doubt. So, what is the difference between those who overcome this insidious foe, and those who are controlled by it?

    How to Deal with Self-Doubt July 26, 2012 ... Self-doubt arises from non-action, past experiences or innate fear of failure. Eliminate doubt by contemplation.

    5 Great Ways to Conquer Self Doubt Jan. 6, 2010  Self doubt also makes you feel alone. Sometimes you think you’re the only person in the universe who suffers from a crisis of confidence, and you wish that you could be more like someone else. It is very possible that the other person also has doubts every now and then.


    Motivational tools promote positive changes
    Even those who are cocky and who display much bravado may actually be covering feelings of self-doubt. Athletes with true self-confidence are rare.

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    What Hurts Kids' Confidence in Sports, Health for Parents ...
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    The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
    combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
    associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
    individual sports programs:

    Modifying Athlete Behaviors
    Drive and Determination
    Different Ways to Say "Good Job"!
    Self Doubts & Positive Thinking
    Balancing Sports & Academics
    Bad Attitudes & Self Doubts
    Pre and Post Season Training Evaluation
    Performance Verses Outcome

    All materials are copy protected. 
    The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
    credit is given for the source of the materials.

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