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The Ongoing Battle between Fear and Confidence (Part 1)

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Sprinting up midfield, I approach the ball that was just passed to me. Do I take the risk of dribbling up the field beating my defenders and try to score?? Or do I look for an open player to pass? Should I take two touches to try and control the ball? But wait-my coach has said do not take too many touches.

These are some of the questions I need to decide in about two seconds before the player from the other team takes away the ball!

With my heart pounding listening to my teammates, my coach, and parents screaming, I did what any panic stricken kid would do- quickly passed it to my teammates.

Have you had such similar questions circle your head during your play?

Have you wondered if you could take a risk to score? Would you have felt embarrassed if you had missed that goal? Did you think how your coach and parent would react if you scored or missed?

Mentality in sports can affect the full potential of a player. Mentality applies in many different aspects in sports: confidence, effort, and growth. I'm a 14-year-old soccer player going through a lot with my mental mindset that affects all of these aspects of my game. In this three-post series, I’ll discuss how mentality affects confidence, effort, and growth. This post will focus on confidence, which can have a huge impact on an athlete’s game.

Confidence is crucial for an aspiring athlete in the world of sports, but obstacles challenge our mentality and affects our Confidence. Not only does mentality affect your confidence but it affects your effort and the ability to grow. Having the right mindset to put in effort, especially when things get hard, will benefit your future growth as an individual player.

Developing this strong mindset requires overcoming the fear of mistakes.

Like me, many young players feel as if a mistake will affect everything, but they DON'T. Mistakes test our mental ability, but to overcome fear of making mistakes, we have to continuously repeat the idea in our mind that we are still good players. Believing and having the faith in how you play, can develop and strengthen your overall mentality. Now with my own experience through soccer, I know that it can be really hard to do this; however, what really helps me gain confidence is my mentality, and stating all my positives in my head on how I play. This really opens our eyes to acknowledge the important areas of play we can do, and how much we attribute to the game and the team.

Since fear of mistakes overpowers our willingness to take risks, our confidence shortens. Confidence is what helps an athlete take risks, learn more, and experience more things. If a player’s confidence is down, it can affect the player’s game. It can even affect how their teammates are playing!

In my experience, lacking confidence brought me down to where I was even scared to take small chances and receive the ball. Despite playing on the top team (or maybe because I was on the top team), mistakes made me feel like I wasn't good enough, and even when the ball was given to me, I’d lose it.

If you feel this, then you lack confidence in your game. To help gain confidence, it's important to remember not to let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.

Focusing on the negatives in a game situation or outside can really harm your confidence. Don't be afraid to try something. TAKE RISKS. Taking a risk might cause you to fail, but failure is the only thing that keeps us moving forward.

Now I know! I won’t make that mistake again! (And I’m a better player now!)

I did one thing wrong, but here are all the things I did right!

The good things I did were more impactful than the mistake.

I’m a good player.

There are no mistakes that you can’t fix.

Even famous athletes make mistakes

And, finally:

This is a mistake I can correct with practice and effort.

Which is why my second post in this series about mentality will focus on effort. Check back soon, and follow me on Instagram.

Share YOUR experiences in the Forum.

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