8 ways to lose your confidence – your best asset in sport (part 2)
5. Start analysing, or paying extra attention to your automatic skills
One of the killers of confidence in sport with fine motor skills like golf putting, shooting, archery, or bowling is the paralysis of analysis. Athletes in these sports have certain skills that are highly trained to the point that they can do it automatically. Under pressure, athletes may over think and over analyse their movement, which takes away their energy and the ability to focus on the task itself. For example, a golfer may be concerned about whether their stance is balanced, or if their grip is too tight, or they may second-guess the green line that they read. Without the ability to relax and perform using muscle memory, they would most likely perform poorly, which leads to doubting their confidence and ability.
6. Have too easy training/ practice sessions
While this may not affect your confidence straight away, having too easy training will not prepare athletes for the pressure of high expectation during competition. Some athletes get confused between skill development and preparing for competition practice. They keep repeating the same movement during practice, without making variations to adapt to real competition situations. For example, a golfer hits ball after ball in the driving range, using the same club. A cricket batsman keeps practicing with the ball-shooting ball. In the case of the golfer, they fail to consider the elevation of ground in the golf course, which is different from the mat at the driving range. There is also little pressure if they play a bad shot.
In the case of the cricket batsman, practicing with the ball machine takes away his ability to read the body language of the bowler, a key factor in real competition.
These athletes tend to face a lot of nervousness before competition because they are not used to the pressure. And the end result is a drop in confidence.
7. Not keep up with the physical training
Having weaker physical ability compared to your competitors or teammates is one sure way to drop your confidence. Because this is the first thing that you will be compared with others. This is especially true with sports that have direct competition such as tennis or badminton.
Therefore, it is obvious that superior physical ability would likely give you a boost of confidence.
8. Being injured.
Being injured is usually the lowest point of most athletes. Facing an uncertainty of how long your injury would take to recover, whether you would be able to recover fully to your previous performance level, and whether you would lose your spot in the team, or the selection, those are some of the negative thoughts that frequently attack an injured athlete’s mind. Worst, athletes are usually living a very disciplined life with a tight group of teammates and coach. Many of them do not really have a social life. An injury gives them a lot of time that they don’t usually have, while taking away their social support network. Therefore, it is not a surprise that many athletes struggle with confidence during and after their injury.