By: Dr. Shaunna Taylor, Ph.D Start by encouraging them to examine their core beliefs about themselves. Every coach has struggled with building confidence in their athletes and team, and yet, there are surprisingly few resources that help address this important challenge. While every athlete has their own individual profile and history, there are some important foundational theories that apply to all. Confidence really begins with the idea of belief. It emanates from an athlete’s core beliefs and is combined with the effect of real-life evidence. Core beliefs are formed throughout childhood and are integral to how we operate in our lives. They are foundational and affect the way we view the world— many of these beliefs are set by the time we reach the age of ten. They tend to drive our actions and the way we navigate life. Belief is the “director” that often runs the entire production. Early in life, we are heavily influenced by the people who cared for us, and the early experiences that formed our worldview. Our core beliefs involve such things as whether we believe most people are essentially good (or bad), whether we are capable and powerful (or incapable and powerless), or whether life can be satisfying and joyful (or a struggle and full of sadness). Beliefs are the lens through which we determine if the glass is half full or half empty. Although beliefs are forged at a young age, they do not have to dictate our destiny. In fact, when we re-evaluate them later in life, we can come to see that many core beliefs aren’t based on fact. But unless we examine and critique the core beliefs that drive our actions, they will continue to run the production, and we may find ourselves limited (versus being set free) to make the necessary choices that can move us in new, positive directions in life. In light of this, here are three concrete steps coaches can consider to help athletes increase their confidence:
- Help them become aware of — and challenge — their core beliefs.