A lack of self confidence is one of the most common issues that I have encountered so far as a female basketball trainer. self doubt, not believing in oneself, and the fear of failure are recurring topics that I hear about regularly. struggling with confidence is a common theme amongst female youth athletes, and you should not feel alone. quieting our inner critic is not always easy, and sometimes we all could use a little help. whether it's a lack of self-trust, thinking you are not good enough, or maybe just being afraid of the unknown, here are some tips to raise your confidence!
1. believe in yourself: it may sound obvious, but if you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else? you have to be your own biggest cheerleader. if you want your coaches and your teammates to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself first. having faith in yourself and your abilities is a non negotiable. you have to bet on yourself, every single time.
2. stop being afraid to fail: confidence comes from not being afraid to fail. you will never be confident if you are scared to fail and if you play with the fear of failing, you will never succeed. you have to miss shots to make shots, you have to fail to become a winner. failure is an inevitable part of life, how you respond to failure is what truly matters.
3. get in the gym: confidences comes from preparation. the more work you put in on the court, the more you will notice your confidence increasing. try to do something every day to make yourself better. if you want to be more confident on the floor, you have prioritize putting extra work in. whether that's getting a workout in before school, staying late after practice to get extra shots up, or going out in your driveway to work on your ball handling. if there's something you aren't good at, work on it! we all have the same 24 hours, it's up to you to decide how to use them.
4. positive self talk: how do you talk to yourself? do you beat yourself up after a bad game, a bad workout, a bad day? the way you talk to yourself matters. quiet the critic in your head and reframe your negative thoughts into positive self talk. when you miss a shot, instead of saying “i suck," try telling yourself “i’m going to make the next one.” constantly challenge the negative voice in your head.
5. step outside your comfort zone: nothing great comes from staying inside your comfort zone. if you want to be a confident player, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. staying inside your comfort zone is safe, it's easy, but it's not going to make you better. challenge yourself to face your fears and you will be surprised at how much courage, strength, and confidence you gain from it.
6. celebrate yourself: when you do something well, give yourself a pat on the back. maybe you had a great practice, or beat your score in a shooting drill, or maybe tried out a new move that you’ve been working on. sometimes we get so wrapped up in chasing perfection, that we forget to appreciate our small steps of improvement along the way. by reflecting on our successes (big or small) it activates our reward system, causing us to feel good about ourselves. it's important to tell ourselves good job! recognize your progress and celebrate the little victories along the way.
7. hold yourself accountable: confidence is work. it doesn't happen overnight. many people who struggle with low confidence aren't getting into the gym to make themselves better. if you want to feel confident on the court, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard, and you have to dedicate time and effort to the game. set small goals for yourself to accomplish every week and stick to them. maybe your goal is to spend 5 minutes every day ball handling, maybe you set your alarm 45 minutes early before school to get extra shots up, or maybe you find a shooting partner, friend, or trainer to work with and help push you. holding yourself accountable will ensure that you aren't cheating yourself and that you are putting in the necessary work to make yourself a better player.
8. be kind to yourself and learn from your mistakes: we all want to do our best, and sometimes we may fall short. understand that you are human and failure is an inevitable part of growth. when you do mess up, instead of getting discouraged, use it as a learning opportunity to do a better job next time. in a non judgemental way, ask yourself what you could have done better and what needs to be worked on. learning from our mistakes and showing ourselves grace when we fail (which we all will), allows more room for positive self growth.