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Confidence

Written by Accredited Sports Professionals   Posted in:Common Issues   June 5, 2014

Confidence  article image
At times, it seems as though every athlete is short on confidence. Perhaps one of the reasons for this apparent lack of confidence is that athletes are unsure about the components of confidence and the strategies to enhance confidence. Research on confidence suggests we gain confidence from several sources: mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion and physiological states. We can use golf as a sport to illustrate these concepts.
Mastery experiences
These refer to a person’s past performance achievements and represent the strongest source of confidence information. You might hear people say: “I’ve won here before, there’s no reason why I can’t win around here again”. But what if you have never won before how can you win for the first time? Research in sport contexts has shown that imagined past experiences can also affect one’s confidence. In other words, by imagining success in your mind you can build confidence to perform successfully in future.
Vicarious Experience
Have you ever wondering why Rocky is so motivating for some people? Or perhaps how inspired you feel when a fellow golfer makes it to a Tour event? Watching others perform well in a competition provides us with information about our own capabilities. If the golfer you are watching is similar to you, perhaps in age and experience, and that golfer is successful, you too can experience a gain in confidence. A clever way to raise our confidence is to watch our previous successful performances on a video or DVD.
Verbal Persuasion
Have you ever noticed how a few simple words spoken to you at the right time make you feel confident? This source of confidence from others is helpful in raising our self-confidence. Coaches, caddies and friends play a vital role in the personal confidence beliefs of golfers. As well as the support we receive from these people, we can also help ourselves to build confidence with helpful and constructive statements.
Physiological states
Physiological and emotional states also influence our self-confidence. Some golfers learn to associate poor performance with negative physiological arousal (e.g., feeling nervous, butterflies in the stomach) and good performance with positive feeling states (e.g. happy, excited). Unfortunately, many golfers feel that they cannot change how they feel or change how such feelings can be interpreted.