Confidence (part 2).

Maxims of Confidence.

The ingredient that most footballers’ desire is confidence.

Confidence is the most consistent factor that distinguishes highly successful footballers from the others.

How and where does a player gain in confidence?

Can confidence be trained in the same way that a player learns to pass and shoot?

The footballer can acquire confidence by performing techniques and skills that he/she is good at.

The footballer can practice his /her skills over and over again in order to increase confidence.

The football coach can inspire confidence by planning and executing worthwhile and productive training sessions.

Confidence has to do with self-belief, the belief that the footballer can successfully perform a task.   An expectation to succeed.

The self-confident footballer trusts his/her own abilities.   He is indifferent to how others perceive him because he is confident in his own ability.

Footballers are confident when they are selected to play in their most favoured position.   They gain confidence when they fully understand their role within the framework of the team.   Footballers are confident when they have maximum fitness levels.   They gain confidence from knowing that they can sustain their performance for the full ninety minutes and can outlast their opponent. Physical conditioning is one of the highest rated strategies utilised by coaches to develop self – confidence in footballers.

Footballers and teams gain confidence from winning games.   The more successful they are, the more confident they get.  Footballers and teams on a losing streak can try to be positive by not looking for faults and blame within the squad.   They should look to formulate a plan which they can believe in.  

Footballers lacking in confidence can set small goals and complete one step after another thus gaining confidence from accomplishing each goal.   If small pre-set goals are realised confidence will increase in small increments, this helps to build more confidence.    Football  confidence is enhanced by using mental strategies such as focusing on appropriate goals,  optimizing arousal by self – talk, and visualizing successful performance to enhance feelings of confidence.

The term ‘earning the right to play’ is often heard in football circles.   This means to make sure that mistakes are kept to an absolute minimum in the early phases of the game.   This helps to consolidate the team effort and sustains confidence.   Players and teams who make untimely mistakes and concede early goals often never recover and the game can be lost.   

Footballers should use the achievement of process goals in order to build confidence.

Footballers can increase their personal confidence by acting in a confident manner.   Copy the body language of confident players.   Assimilate the mannerisms of confident players, how do they look?   How do they act?  How do they feel?    Seeing someone else perform successfully serves to enhance confidence.

Act confidently in a game; if you go a goal down don’t let it show in your body language.  Hold your head up, shoulders back, give your opponent the impression that you cannot be phased out, keep them guessing.

Footballers can increase their confidence by being less cagey and nervous about their approach to the game.   Players can take risks and not worry too much about the result, let the results take care of themselves.

Footballers can endeavour to remain relaxed when they are under pressure, this can help to focus on the task and not get involved in all the emotions.

When the abilities of footballers are even, the winners are often the players with most belief in themselves.   Footballers with confidence play to win and are willing to take chances to achieve victory.   They possess an approach and attitude to the game which, ‘never gives up’.

Many footballers gained confidence as a child because they were, “good at football”.

Some footballers gained confidence because they were compared favourably to current international players.

Professional players can gain confidence from the mere fact that they are professional footballers and the status and platitudes associated with that vocation.

Professional footballers can reinforce confidence in themselves by perceiving positive comments about themselves in the media (this can also work in reverse when negative comments are published).

Footballers can build confidence by visualising past situations when they achieved success, “you don’t become a bad player overnight”. (Refer to chapter on anchoring).

Footballers can gain confidence by making a good tackle or getting a good touch of the ball early in the game.     

Footballers can regain lost confidence by eradicating self-criticism, going back to basics and playing as simply and uncomplicated as possible.

Managers and coaches can benefit a footballer’s confidence by complimenting him/her on his/her performance and confirming that he/she is a good player.

A belief in the coaches’ leadership qualities is a recognized source of confidence for players. (see section on Machavelli)

Confidence can be instilled at an early age.   It can depend on how the footballer’s parents have dealt with them at as a child.   Parents who are too critical, too demanding, over protective and discouraging can have a negative effect on the child’s confidence.    

Confidence can be built on experience.   The experienced player has ‘been there’ many times in the past and can deal with all contingencies.

The footballer’s confidence can be enhanced by not necessarily thinking positively but by thinking realistically.

The footballer’s confidence can be improved by mastering their personal techniques and skills.

The footballer can gain confidence by demonstrating that they possess more ability than their opponents.

By being physically and mentally well prepared for games the footballer can obtain maximum focus for her/his performance.

A good physical perception and presentation of oneself helps the player to be confident.

Good social support from coaches, family and teammates helps the player to feel confident of his/her worth.

A footballer’s confidence can be enhanced by a strong belief in his/her coach’s skills in decision making and leadership abilities.

A footballer’s confidence can increase by watching teammates perform successfully.

Playing on their home ground in front of their own supporters can make players’ confident.

Sometimes the feeling that luck is on your side and the breaks are going your way can be a source of confidence.

It is proposed that female players gain confidence from social support; more so than their male counterparts.

When players or coaches describe themselves as under pressure, they are really identifying a lack of confidence in dealing with a situation.

Successful players build strong inner confidence by concentrating on their contribution to success or failure.

Confidence is built on experience, with the greatest boost going to the player having the knowledge that he or she has been there before and knows what to expect.

Confidence comes from success, and success in Soccer is more likely if you run out onto the pitch knowing that you have done everything you could to prepare for situations that might bring pressure.

Confidence comes from success and the feeling that one can deal with adversity.   Achieving small goals regularly, and feeling good about it, is the way to build confidence and coping skills for the big goals.

Because we know that performance follows attitude and that attitude is based on the confidence a player feels in a given situation, then every player clearly needs training in using positive self-talk and rejecting negative self-talk.

Clever Coaches work hard to create an environment that limits the possibility of negative interference.   Teams at home have the advantage because they can more easily control their environment and minimise distractions.

Of all the relationships that can influence the player’s self-confidence, the one with the Coach is the most powerful.   The Coach, with the control of selection, feedback, and so on, has the power to shape the player’s attitude positively or negatively.

Coaches must criticize a player when his or her performance does not meet the required standards, but in an environment that is mainly positive and supportive, any criticism is relative and should not damage self-esteem and confidence.