I don’t need to sell anyone on the importance of confidence in swimming and diving. Simply put, it’s an absolute must – It separates the good from the great, and the elite from everyone else. Our 1-1 mindset program is all about practical volleyball-specific exercises players can do to improve their mindset. Here are 10 practical ways to build confidence:
1. Make a list of all the times you have succeeded at a meet (i.e. best wins, practices, etc.). Confidence is all about what you focus on, so start focusing on all your successes. Athletes are often critical of themselves, but it’s really important to focus on their success lists. The physical list will help you recognize all the times you’ve succeeded, hit new milestones, or exceeded expectations. It will help you remember that you are a talented athlete, especially during uncertain or unfamiliar situations.
2. Make a list of elite swimmers/divers who do the same technique as you. If you’re favorite elite athlete uses a certain stroke, breaths, turns, or dives like you, then you know you’re doing it the right way. You won’t doubt your techniques if you recognize it’s the right way to execute your skills
3. Improve your body language before meets and practices. Find out what confidence looks like to you (everyone is different) and use that body language before/during practices and meets. Keep your head held high with a focused look on your face and, as a result, you will look more confident while feeling more confident.
4. Create a Confidence Anchor. This is more a psychological tip to help you feel more confident. When you feel confident or are performing well, do some physical gesture (i.e. hand clap, pump fist, etc.). Then, before your event, do your gesture to act like a prompt and remind you of all the times you’ve succeeded. This good old fashioned classical conditioning will help you feel more confident.
5. Visualize yourself succeeding. Try creating a vivid image in your head by using all 5 senses and lots of details. Don’t just visualize winning – visualize the whole process of your event like getting set, approaching a turn, breathing, and touching the wall on the last lap.
6. Make a list of your best qualities. This list should include all your best qualities in your event, school, and life in general. Seeing all your best qualities and positive contributions will help you realize your worth as an athlete, student, and person.
7. Pray and read Scripture. This should be number one because it will help you in every area of your life. Confident people know what they believe in. When your faith grows, your confidence will grow as well.
8. Make a small goal every day that you can accomplish. Make an attainable goal every day and put all your efforts into achieving that goal. When you consistently achieve your smaller goals, you will feel more confident setting and accomplishing a larger, long-term goal in the future. As Michael Phelps stated, “the more you dream, the more you achieve.”
9. Create a highlight tape of yourself. Use this video and include all your best moments like fastest times, best dives, close wins, etc. When you watch the highlight video back, you’ll realize how talented you are and you’ll feel more confident in your abilities. You’ll be able to see yourself executing the correct techniques and dominating meets.
10. Do something better than anyone you will compete against. Try to do one thing – like a small skill or technique – better than anyone else you compete with. Put all your effort into mastering this skill and you’ll definitely feel more confident in this skill in particular. Overall, you’ll feel more confident because you’ll have an “edge” on everyone else.
*** 11. Do something other people aren’t doing. Whether it’s running, starting a nutrition program, going to bed early every night, daily mindset training, etc. When you are doing things that others aren’t willing to do consistently you will undoubtedly build confidence.