Confidence as a key to sporting success

One of the wonderful things about watching televised sport – live or recorded – is not that you can enjoy scintillating performances from the world’s best sporting achievers from the comfort of your drawing room but that you can learn from the countenance, approach, planning and execution of these champions.

Modern communication technology allows us to observe and learn from an array of stars like tennis genius Roger Federer, golf wizard Tiger Woods, football magicians Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy, cricketers Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, not to speak of the Australian cricket team as a whole.

We can, with some help from TV commentators, read the body language of the champions and even sense that confident athletes expect success. They rarely appear discouraged or threatened, not wanting to give their opponent’s confidence levels a boost. And it will be a good wager that you will have admired, if not merely envied, how intense and confident each of these champions really is when he is showcasing his or her talent.

Let’s spend some time now looking at the confidence that these achievers exude and reserve the study of intensity for a later date. For, besides their obvious gifts of speed, strength and stamina which add up to competence, they bring high levels of self-confidence to the table. The ability to feel confident that they could make the most of the chances they get and do things with ease and effectiveness is what separates those who consistently achieve things in life from those others.

The Australian cricket team is a good example. In the ICC Champions Trophy final in Mumbai, for instance, the team was at the receiving end of an aggressive West Indies team that had raced to 80 for two inside 10 overs. If Australia was worried about the emerging scene, it never let anyone on. It went on win what became a pretty one-sided contest in the end. If there was one quality that shone through that evening, it was confidence that just helped skill and experience to succeed, making everything go more smoothly and providing the decisive competitive edge.

If confidence can help these purveyors of sporting excellence remain on top of their game and the opposition, it can surely be of much help to us in our professional and personal lives. But only if we appreciate the fact that confidence is not a luxury reserved for the champions alone and that each of us can discover that it is just another tool for success.

Some of the ways these champions work on building confidence:
* Developing a consistent routine that is their own
* Writing down goals to objectify and specify them
* Expressing who they are by letting their inner selves out
* Visualising successful outcome
* Believing that things will work out and seeing themselves successfully completing
* Rehearsing the steps in their mind, so that they become proficient.
* Finding friends/mentors/coaches who will inspire them to victory
* Learning from mistakes
* Not blame anyone else for defeats because that would mean they are giving away their power
* Not letting anger control them and defeat them

It is amazing how confidence is something that others can often take away from you and no one can really hand it to you. The challenge – as the sporting achievers will tell you – is to generate confidence and keep it going. It just needs faith in yourself and a belief that if you work hard, remain persistent and stay positive, you will reap the rewards.

You have to be careful since extreme confidence could be so easily confused for arrogance and can have its own repercussions. Legendary heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali used to predict the round in which he would secure victory over his opponent. He worked had to ensure that these were not vain boasts.

1 comment for “Confidence as a key to sporting success

  1. Kartikeya
    May 16, 2007 at 5:53 am

    Interesting discussion…..

    In my view confidence is the result of success and in turn contributes to further success. Basic success comes from being better than the opposition. That basic success breeds confidence – which is in essence the knowledge that one is superior to one’s opponent and possesses the means to overcome whatever that opponent is able to offer.

    Confidence in my view is a symptom of success – of a successful team.


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