Would you rate yourself as highly, somewhat, or minimally confident?
Many soccer players would say their confidence depends on their situation.
For example, players often feel highly confident if they score a goal in each of their last three games–If they perform inconsistently during the week, they feel only somewhat confident. And if they make a few uncharacteristic mistakes early in a game, they feel low confidence.
Have you ever experienced the following? You feel great before a game. During warm-up, you feel unstoppable, and you feel confident that you will make a significant positive impact on the game.
In the first 15 minutes of the game, you pass the ball with pinpoint accuracy. You are in attack mode and win several challenges for the ball. You dribbled the ball downfield and put teammates in position for scoring opportunities.
Then, an opposing player catches you out of position, leading to a 3-on-2 advantage, which they convert for a goal.
The confidence you felt earlier in the game starts to slip away. Instead of looking for ways to help your team rebound, you play cautiously, trying not to make further mistakes.
This type of reactive confidence depends on your level of play minute by minute.
This begs the question, which comes first, confidence or performance? Do you need to be confident to play at your peak, or do you need to play at your peak to be confident?
If you allow your confidence to be dictated by your level of play, both your confidence and performance will be inconsistent. This is referred to as “roller coaster” confidence, where in one moment, you feel unstoppable, and in the next moment, you feel you can’t do anything right.
However, confidence is a skill, not a reaction to an event.
Skill precedes performance. Therefore, the more you build the skill of confidence, the better and more consistent you perform. This proactive approach helps you maintain a stable level of confidence.
Proactive confidence is gained through strategic planning, proven exercises, and working with mental training experts throughout the season.
Confidence training should be a daily component of your athletic regimen so you can consistently play at your peak. Proactive confidence helps you meet the demands of competition before the competition even starts.
Orlando Pride’s rookie Messiah Bright leads NWSL rookies in goals scored with six. The Pride selected Bright No. 21 overall in the 2023 NWSL Draft, and she has exceeded expectations.
Not only has Bright helped put Orlando in playoff contention, but she is in the mix for the Golden Boot award given to the league’s leading goalscorer.
Bright’s unshakeable confidence is her main asset on the field.
BRIGHT: “Anything is possible. I never really knew where I would be [when] joining the league. So, anything is possible. I’m down to chase anything as a rookie, first year. I’m all about setting trends and goals, and I’m just happy to be a part of it and have my teammates along with me.”
With proactive confidence, you will feel anything is possible. You will actively and stubbornly pursue your goals.
Focusing on building your confidence is the key to athletic success!
Confidence drops when you remind yourself of your mistakes.
To reverse this trend, highlight three positive components of your game or small victories. Remind yourself of these triumphs before practice, after practice, before games, and before bed.
Recognizing small successes keeps your confidence stable through the ups and downs during the season.
Resources for Athletes, Coach, and Sports Parents
- Learn more about Soccer Psychology Tips and Strategies
- Download our a FREE Mental Toughness Report
- Read our Sports Psychology Articles
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