Tag: Confidence

The Why:  

When you think of any sport, there are always fundamentals and strategy that come into play.  There are roles and responsibilities, specific skills, things to focus on, adrenaline spikes, fatigue, ups and downs, and these are just the demands that occur during one performance.  We spend so much of our training and efforts around learning how to do the task, that we forget to consider the demands we face while performing under pressure.  At Premier Sport Psychology, we teach coaches and athletes how to implement processes around training for BOTH the tasks and demands of their sport.  In doing so, you have a structured process for program and player development to reach an optimal level of consistent high performance.

The What:

Mental skills are designed to help athletes organize what they are learning from their coaches and cope with the demands of performing under pressure.  Therefore, mental skills are either organizational or motivational in nature.

  • Organizational – Organizational mental skills help athletes develop structures around their development.  These skills bring attention to detail how they train for competition in order to keep their efforts in areas that they can control.  Some examples of organizational mental skills include:
    • Goal-Setting
    • Focus and Attention
    • Mental Rehearsal
  • Motivational – Motivational mental skills help athletes manage the demands and challenges they encounter during performances.  These skills help athletes raise their awareness, problem solve, adjust and maintain motivation after mistakes are made.  Some examples of motivational mental skills include:
    • Confidence
    • Mindful Behavior
    • Self-Talk

The How:  

At Premier Sport Psychology, we find that many athletes are in one of three stages (Defining their process, Refining their process, or Mastering their process).  Use the questions below to identify which stage your child falls under in order to help your child develop a plan.

  1. What are the tasks you are expected to perform within your sport?   (If team sport, break down the positional fundamentals/tasks)
  2. What are the biggest challenges or annoyances you experience that hinder your ability to perform?  (During a game or over the season)
  3. What structures do you have in place to improve these areas?


After answering the questions above, which areas need more specific strategies?  Can they be addressed by you?  Or the coach?  Or are the areas a bit more subjective?  Leveraging a sport psychologist or mental skills coach can help you and your child fill in those gaps and identify a clear path to high level performance.




It’s go time. This is where you need to perform at your very best. Your team is counting on you. Even you’re counting on you. But, you’re not exactly sure you can do it. Sure, you’ve practiced more than ever before and you really want to do well, but there’s always a chance you’ll fail. You’re nervous.

So, what do people tell you?

“Be confident!”

And you probably respond with something like:

“Perfect! That’s exactly what I need: to be confident. Awesome… but, how do I be confident, exactly?”

There are actually many ways to build your confidence. As you’ll see in this video from TED-Ed, confidence is built upon body language, having the right mindset, and turning optimistic thoughts into courageous action. In one of the most popular TED talks, given by Harvard professor Amy Cuddy, the way we carry our bodies influences how we feel about ourselves. By striking a powerful pose with limbs outstretched and head held high, a person can stimulate behavioral hormones, like testosterone, in their endocrine system and, subsequently, affect how they approach challenging situations.

Our mindset also affects how confident we feel. When it comes to abilities and challenges some of us have a fixed mindset while others have a growth mindset. Those with a fixed mindset can see their talents as just that, fixed. There’s nothing they can do to improve upon them; it’s as if their talents are predetermined before they’re even born. In contrast, those with a growth mindset understand that talents take effort and time to develop, but that they can be developed and improved upon. Having a growth mindset means adopting a learning process when faced with challenges. It could be that you don’t succeed, but any mistakes you make will result in a learning experience and make you even better in the future. And when you get better, you develop into a more confident person.

Finally, a simple but powerful aspect of confidence is belief. If you believe in yourself and your abilities, amazing things can happen. Confidence may be the giant final goal, but belief is the first baby step. Coupled with the growth mindset, if you belief in yourself you’re on the right path to gaining confidence through successful accomplishments sustained positive self-esteem.


For a colorful and inspiring overview of how to boost your confidence, watch the video below!



Phil Hansen was going to school to become an artist when he discovered something that he thought would end his career before it even began. He had developed a shake in his hand from using pointillism—a painting technique in which small dots are applied in patterns to form a single image. Because he could no longer create art through his preferred method, he decided to drop art school and art altogether. However, years later he decided to return to art and saw a doctor about his condition. The doctor changed his life with a single question: “Why don’t you just embrace the shake?”

Hansen’s TED talk describes his inspiring journey to find his new calling through art: “And I realized, if I ever wanted my creativity back, I had to quit trying so hard to think outside of the box and get back into it.” Athletes can mirror this idea by spending time going back to the beginning and thinking about what aspects of their sport made them fall in love with it in the first place. More importantly, this talk—and what we can all take from it—is about remembering what makes us unique and what strengths we have.

As his talk comes to a close, Hansen professes: “Limitations may be the most unlikely of places to harness creativity, but perhaps one of the best ways to get ourselves out of ruts, rethink categories, and challenge accepted norms. And instead of telling each other to seize the day, maybe we can remind ourselves every day to seize the limitation.”

Everyone has a “shake” or weakness, and although this insecurity may seem like a flaw it is simply something that makes you unique. However, because “shakes” are unique to each individual, it may seem as though you are the only one with that particular “shake.” Sometimes, that results in athletes defying their shakes in the attempt to be “normal.” This perspective is understandable considering technicalities in sports require athletes to follow certain rules and regulations. As a result, it is hard for them to both accept and figure out an alternate path to take toward the designated goal. Although taking another route for the sport or skill they are working toward will be an adjustment, it will make them a stronger athlete with stronger weaknesses.

Athletes have the ability to embrace whatever “shakes” they have just like Phil Hansen. Rather than letting the shake define them, athletes can define it for themselves and use it as a performance enhancement they never knew they had. In other words they can seize the limitation in their shake. Believe in what makes you different; never give up on something just because it is not viewed as typical. Most importantly, embrace your shake.

See Hansen’s inspiring talk here.