Bad Practices Hurt Your Confidence?

You're feeling great all day, then you wreck a drill. After that, you start doubting yourself and thinking about how badly you messed up. Your confidence tanks and a good day turns into a bad one.

Why does your confidence fall apart? A great day of practice or a great start to a game turns into a downward spiral, because you constantly renegotiate your self-esteem based on how you're doing. That means you're self-critical after every few plays, deciding if you're good or bad at your sport and you really believe it.

How do you let mistakes just 'roll off your back?' You practice mindfulness. Specifically, you take yourself out of the equation and look at your situation objectively. That includes not 'believing all your own press' or not buying into and believing every thought you have is true.

  • Did you mess up?

  • Yes.

  • Was it bad?

  • Doesn't matter. There's no need to judge yourself.

  • What do you do now?

  • Focus on the present moment and what demands your attention.

The clues about where your attention should go are all wrapped up in the mistake you made. Focus on reading the play, reading your opponent, the specific mechanics of the skill you were trying to pull off. Identify what you need to focus on to be successful. You might even watch and learn from a teammate or do a mental walkthrough of your next rep.

The second BIG thing for you is noticing when you're negotiating how good, bad, skilled, or 'bush league' you are based on the last play. You can't always choose your thoughts, but you can choose what gets your attention and what believe. When you decide to focus on thoughts about how bad you believe you are or how your coach must see you, you make a choice to change your own self-confidence mid-practice.

Learn to let the last rep go by being aware of your thoughts. Notice when you're getting down a rabbit hole and recognize 'I'm just deciding to be hard on myself. I don't need to do this right now.' As many times as it takes - and it will take a lot of practice at first - get out of your head and focus on what's happening in front of you.

Practice your mental game with Win Your Warm Up. WYW is an online mental skills training program that's built into your pregame routine. Before practice, log-in, watch a 5-minute mental training video and begin your warm-up. Subscribe to Win Your Warm Up: be focused and feel ready every day.

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