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Winning Ways:
Life, In the Zone

Wednesday, November 10, 1999

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Physical Fitness Advisor

Confidence. Athletes must work everyday to build on it and maintain it. It is the tie that binds with skill to create an athlete that is difficult to compete against.

Athletes who are successful maintain a confidence level that is pretty stable and hard to shake. If they do lose it, they have the ability to get it back quickly. On the other hand, there are some athletes whose confidence level changes from day to day, match to match, point to point. A drop in confidence can result from a bad loss, an injury, or things that have nothing to do with your sport. A sudden spike in confidence can come from a big win, enhanced fitness, or watching a video of yourself doing everything right. But I've found that the best source of confidence comes from past success. Once you start setting and meeting goals, you'll find it easier to dig deep down into yourself and find not only the will to compete, but also to succeed.

Want to improve your confidence? Try these suggestions...

  1. Learn From Your Failures
    Learn from them and then forget about them. Take any positive feedback you can from a bad loss. Carrying mistakes into the future will not help the cause at all. Correct them and move on.

  2. Improve Your Fitness
    The fitter you are, the harder they fall. Once your level of fitness improves, physical, mental or emotional stress no longer becomes an issue. So it's always in your best interest to commit to getting fit.

  3. Set Goals
    Your goals should be goals that you control. Have daily, weekly and monthly goals and keep a record of your results. The goals should be challenging but realistic. The more goals you set and meet, the more confidence you'll feel.

  4. Improve Your Preparation
    Once you believe in your preparation the better off you will be. Precision and predictability are not always bad things. Going into a match feeling prepared is a great confidence booster.

  5. Think Positively
    Confidence is a feeling and is influenced by the way you think, what you say to yourself, and how you act. Be positive! If you find that hard to do, then just be neutral. Once you slip into the negative self-talk it's hard to get out.

As a conditioning coach, working with athletes who believe in themselves and their abilities makes my job so much easier and fun. More often than not, I feed off of their energy that in turn takes our workouts to another level. The key to maintaining a healthy level of confidence is to remember...Never Give Up, Never Give In.

Photos by Art Redd

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Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig? Send it to If your question is used in an article, you will receive a free Team Conditioning Systems t-shirt.

For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives.

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