Loading ...

Prescribing Confidence | Welcome and General | ConnectedCoaches

ConnectedCoaches uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to the use of the cookies. For more details about cookies how we manage them and how you can delete them see the 'Use of cookies' part of our privacy policy. Click the cross to close this cookie notice. X

Home » Groups » Welcome and General » blogs » Nick Ruddock » Prescribing Confidence
Welcome and General

Leave group:

Are you sure you want to leave this space?

Join this group:

Join this space?

Add a new tab

Add a hyperlink to the space navigation. You can link to internal or external web pages. Enter the Tab name and Tab URL. Upload or choose an icon. Then click Save.

The name that will appear in the space navigation.
The url can point to an internal or external web page.
Login to follow, share, and participate in this group.
Not a member?Join now

Prescribing Confidence

Avg: 0 / 5 (0votes)

What’s the worst bit of feedback you have given your athletes recently?

I know, bit of a strange question really, but as my own worst critic, it’s something I think about often ...

Here’s mine - ‘be more confident.’

I’m not sure what I was expecting, perhaps the athlete to internally flick a switch and feel competent to perform a skill they clearly have self belief issues with, but really, the feedback was and is useless.

By way of definition, confidence (or self confidence as we are referring to here) is 'belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities.’ Confront an athlete with a skill they lack self belief in and their likelihood to perform that skill with 'confidence' is limited.

So is confidence something an athlete can fake? Is it something they can just switch on after being asked to be more confident? I think not …

My feedback to the athlete would have been more appropriately communicated as; ‘be more aggressive.’ Aggression can be consciously adjusted by the athlete by doing something harder, faster or with more conviction. Perhaps that's what I meant, as aggression could be interpreted as a bi product of confidence.

Confidence is something that needs developing and nurturing over time, often built through a gradual progress of skill development and a positive environment. There are of course several other factors that would influence how much or little confidence an athlete has when performing a particular skill, including the environment and equipment, mood, their warm up, the coaches expectations and attitudes, or the relationship the athlete has with them.

It goes without saying that our job as coaches is to create an environment that breeds and nurtures confidence, elevating our athletes' self esteem and psychological stability.

I asked professional stunt man Richard Dwyer of his view of ‘building confident kids,’ a motto of Richards company, Flair Gymnastics;

Being a confident person is your God given right and without confidence you will certainly NOT be performing, achieving or living, loving or being your best in life.

There are many opinions and definitions of what confidence is, so to keep things simple and for clarity of the word 'confidence' in this blog, when I use the word confidence I mean;

“Complete and total belief in yourself and in your own powers and abilities”

Confidence truly is a state of mind.

When someone is in a position of authority, as a child you take their words as ‘gospel,’ believing them to be speaking the complete truth and their words can powerfully flatten that inner confidence that you were born with, so we end up having our minds poorly programmed.

Sports like gymnastics, where goal setting and reinforcement of positive behaviours is rewarded and celebrated, breeds a confident self. Correctly trained sports coaches who OWN their minds and love passing on their knowledge to others are trained to use confidence as a tool to help achieve goals and this becomes a positive feedback loop in the brain leading to more and more confidence and more and more goals being achieved.

It is no surprise then that our role as coaches is crucial in the development of our athletes confidence. I ask Richard what prevents athletes feeling confident in their performance...

The one and only ‘thing’ that stops us from choosing to feel confident, or as I have heard some people say “I’ve lost my confidence” is the same thing that stops us from doing anything in our lives and that one thing is FEAR.

In summary, FEAR is a thought about a future event that may or may not happen.

It’s our mind working out the worst possible scenario of what the future looks like and then our minds meditating on (going over and over and over) that negative thought or event, that is actually unlikely to happen.

So how do we grow, build and cement our confidence? I asked Richard ...

I believe the answer to this is simple, but it takes consistent practise - by achieving goals. And to go for our goal we must first eliminate fear and see failure as feedback.

Here is my simple confidence formula; Confidence is a MASSIVE contributor to happiness because progress = happiness.

Confidence is a bi-product of achieving goals so you MUST first be able to overcome fear if you are to gain true inner confidence.

Valuable advice from Richard who has confronted fear as a high level athlete, professional stunt man and now in the world of business.

So next time you ask an athlete to ‘be more confident,’ consider whether they are able to apply the feedback, or whether we need to think of better ways to grow confidence more organically through smarter coaching.

Have a great week!


If you enjoyed this you can find all my other ConnectedCoaches blogs here.

Login to follow, share, comment and participate. Not a member? Join for free now.

Comments (2)

Nick ... I had the very same experience a couple of weeks ago. One of our defenders was struggling a little with some of her passing and we had spent quite a bit of time working on some specifics - looking for longer, more penetrative passes ... exploring some different techniques ... putting her under pressure in training. We worked on this in training and I did some individual work with her in the warm up. Mid-way through our game against Germany she was getting into that phase again and what did i shout to her ... "just be confident!" If only it were that simple! On reflection and after reading this we've (mostly I) have been working on some other methods to support her ... some trigger words to link back to our training work, visualisation and imagery ... certainly better than the "be confident" request!
Avg: 0 / 5 (0votes)
So easily done. I find that most of the time substituting the word 'confident' for 'aggressive' seems to do the trick, as I am often wanting the athlete to go 'all in' as opposed to being cautious. Thanks for taking the time to comment, let me know how you get on!
Avg: 0 / 5 (0votes)
Well we've just had our Euros and I think I managed to refrain from the prescription route ... and the girl in question played very well and with great confidence ... hopefully there is some correlation to the work we've been doing! We have similar issues with caution with our girls ... we also want them to go 'all in' more but the challenge is to get them confident in their teammates that defensive cover is in place and that the aggression is the right thing at the right time. Still a work in progress ... will keep you updated!
Avg: 0 / 5 (0votes)