We always hear things about “confident athletes” or “playing with confidence” or “have confidence in yourself.” But what does all that mean? What does it mean to be confident? Confidence in relation to volleyball is defined as, “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities,” meaning that we recognize our skill level and feel sure that our skills are adequate to reach our goals. Seems simple right? Well what happens when we suffer a hard loss? Or get injured? Or transition to a new team where your new teammates appear better than you? All of these instances can affect your confidence so quickly – but they don’t necessarily have to! There are very distinct traits that all confident athletes have. Remember these traits if you start feeling unconfident – and they will hopefully make you feel confident again!
1. Believes even during tough times. This trait is so important because you are going to be faced with tough times a lot during your sporting career, school life, or personal life. Remember that confident people continue to believe during these tough times – even if the situation first appears hopeless. An example of a really tough situation that a lot of athletes face is dealing with an injury. Injuries can be devastating for athletes, but just keep believing that you’ll recover and you’ll come back stronger than ever! Doing this will ensure you’ll come back confident as well!
2. Humble. Unfortunately, confidence can transition into cockiness or arrogance, which no one is really a fan of. Stewart Stafford explains the difference perfectly: “Confidence is when you believe in yourself and your abilities, arrogance is when you think you are better than others and act accordingly. You could say that arrogance is false confidence and that the person displaying it is overcompensating for their inner inadequacies.” Obviously being arrogant or cocky is not a good thing, so confident athletes remain humble instead. They choose this path because they recognize that there is always room for improvement, they appreciate their teammates’ efforts as well as their own, and they understand the consequences of acting arrogant or cocky.
3. Resilient. No matter how prepared we are, we will always experience setbacks – it’s just a fact! However, what separates confident athletes from unconfident athletes is their resilience. Elizabeth Edwards says, “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good.” The injury example works for resilience as well: If a confident athlete gets injured, their abilities and skills are going to suffer. However, confident athletes recognize this, accept this, and attempt to do whatever they can to recover from the injury, even if they aren’t at 100% following the injury. Confident athletes just never give up!
4. Optimistic. Remaining optimistic is a great trait that confident athletes have. Being optimistic means that you always see the light at the end of the tunnel or that you truly believe everything is going to work out in the end. As you can imagine, this is a great trait to have when the other option is to be pessimistic – which means you always see the negative side of things. When confident people are optimistic it means that they trust their skills and abilities to be enough for the situation they are facing. This is also beneficial for their teammates and coaches because everyone likes having a positive person around!
5. Doesn’t worry about how others view them. It is very easy to be caught up in other peoples’ opinions or worrying too much about peoples’ view of you. This happens more frequently nowadays because of how popular social media is. Now people aren’t just worried about opinions, but they’re also concerned with how many “likes” or “comments” they get from other people. This is a natural tendency and most people do this; however, confident people tend to not do this! They don’t care about how other people view them because they are perfectly secure in their own opinion of themselves! They know their worth and ability, and they don’t feel like they have to prove it to other people.
6. Great body language. Even if you’ve got a smile on your face, your true attitude can be spotted by slumped shoulders, crossed arms, eye rolls, and lackluster efforts. This kind of body language is indicative of low confidence, unwillingness to try, frustration, disappointment, or just an all-around poor attitude. Trust me – no one wants to play on the court with or sit on the bench next to a person with this kind of body language. Luckily, confident athletes have great body language! They don’t have the need to show poor body language because they feel excited for the upcoming competition, they are encouraging of their teammates (even if they are on the bench), and they don’t get frustrated or disappointed easily.
7. Aggressive and relentless on the court. How do we score points in volleyball? We get an ace, a serve, or a block – those are the three ways to score! And how do we do those three things? We remain aggressive on the court! This means that confident athletes attack the ball to score when the opportunity presents itself – they aim for an ace when they recognize a hole in the opponent’s serve receive – and they give full effort when they block. Also, they allow their team as many opportunities to score as possible by prohibiting the opponent from scoring by playing defense relentlessly! Confident athletes stay on their toes on defense, accurately anticipate where the ball is going, and move quickly to the ball. Confident athletes are able to do all these things accurately because they believe they can!
Incorporate these 7 traits into your own personality to become a more confident athlete today! You an do it – you just have to believe that you can!
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