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Friday, March 27, 2009
Two Confidence Killers that Sabotage Peak Performance
By: Dr. Patrick Cohn
There are two bad habits that many athletes today engage in - and they do it without even thinking about it. The habits I'm talking about are *not* drinking or smoking.
The two bad habits I am talking about, which kill confidence are:
1. Setting unrealistic expectations
2. Engaging in self-doubt
I talk about both of these concepts a great deal in my work, as expectation and doubt will cripple even a healthy level of self-confidence. Here is my conclusion after working with thousands of athletes from many sports:
Strict expectations will undermine and suck the life out of confidence! First, they set you up for a win/lose proposition. You either achieve or fail to achieve your expectations, which is not a good scenario for achieving success.
Second, if you don't achieve your own expectations, it's easy to question your ability that day, either during or after your performance. Essentially, you set yourself up for failure before you even take the field or court.
Here is a typical example: One of my golf students started each round with an unrealistic expectation to hit the ball perfectly every shot. When he hit his first bad or even marginal shot, he would start to analyze his swing mechanics and lose confidence in his ability to shoot a good score.
Self-doubt is the number *one* killer of confidence. Pessimistic or perfectionistic athletes tend to have habitual doubt, which if left to run wild can be a distraction, at the least, and cut off any confident-related thoughts.
Some athletes even start doubting before they get in the game or begin the competition. “How can we win today against this team?“ However, most athletes struggle with doubt after making a mistake or performing poorly in competition.
When you let doubt run rampant and unchecked, it undermines confidence. The goal every day should be to overcome the negative influence of doubt by turning it into statements of confidence.
I teach athletes to learn how to fight the doubt and take back control of their own self-confidence! That is why it’s called *self*confidence.
Confidence does not happen by chance or luck. Confidence comes
from achieving success and thinking in ways that will give the best
chance for success to happen.
About the Author: Want to learn simple, proven mental toughness skills that you can apply to competition? Grab my free online mental training newsletter, Sports Insights Magazine - for athletes, coaches, and sports parents:
Dr. Patrick Cohn is a master mental game coach who work with professional and amateur athletes, sports parents, and teams of all levels. Visit http://www.peaksports.com for more information.
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