Following on from my blog last week (www.just4keepers.com/how-to-develop-confidence-in-you-keepers), I spoke to several of my keepers at Just4Keepers of East PA, and for several of them they step onto the field more concerned about making mistakes than confident in their ability to be successful. In this blog I’m going to focus again on building confidence, and how to conquer the Fear of Failure.
In order to reach the elite level in their chosen sport, athletes need to have talent, dedication and the desire to constantly work hard to improve their game. While ability and work ethic are essential skills, there’s another important characteristic that sets top level athletes apart from others: confidence.
No matter what your skill level or motivation to play, confidence is something that can be improved and can make all the difference on the field. While a lack of confidence can have a devastating effect on your performance, faith and assurance in your ability can take your game to the next level.
When you feel confident, you’re more focused, and you play harder and better. Just like physical skills, confidence is something that requires practice.
Here are some more tips and thoughts on how to become more confident.
Do Not Fear Failure
Confidence boils down to the battle between faith and fear. A lack of confidence means you’re afraid to fail. A fear of failure will paralyze you if you allow your fear to alter the way you play your game or sport. Fear is a powerful emotion; don’t let it get the best of you.
The best professional goalkeepers know they’re going to miss saves or make mistakes from time to time, but because they have confidence in their ability, they never give up. An example of a Top Athlete no fearing failure is Michael Jordan. During his career he missed more shots than he made, imagine what might have happened if he stopped playing hard because he was having an off-shooting day. The only way to avoid missing shots is to stop shooting.
Do not be afraid to fail.
Focus on Doing Your Best
Whenever a team steps on the field, their objective is to win. The desire to win, however, shouldn’t cause you to lose sight of your most important goal—doing your best. The best team doesn’t always win, it’s the team that plays the best that usually wins.
There’s no shame in losing if you do your best. Sometimes your opponent is simply better than you. Instead of worrying about wins and losses, focus on doing your absolute best.
The wins will come if you and your teammates play hard. Focus on doing your best rather than being the best.
Have Faith in Your Teammates
Don’t try to carry the team all by yourself. This will only put more pressure on you, and you may eventually crack. Your confidence will suffer as a result.
Have faith and trust your teammates. When a team works together, it helps every individual become a better player. If you really want to have more confidence in your game, try to make your teammates better. If you know you’re making your teammates better players, then it will be easier to have faith in yourself.
Start off Easy
A simple way to improve your confidence is to start with something easy. For example, a gentle warm up at practice focusing on fundamentals, or a structured pre game warm up that progressively works the keeper up to be prepared physically and mentally for the game (www.just4keepers.com/pre-game-keeper-warm-up)
Above all, the best thing you can do to improve your confidence is practice.
Confidence is based on evidence and experience, and this comes from practice. If you constantly work on your skills, you’ll know what you’re capable of and have more faith in your ability. You’ll be able to relax and perform with confidence in games because you’ve put in the time during practice.
Confidence is one of the most important traits for a Keeper. All great Keepers have confidence in their own abilities, which helps them take on challenges and play hard regardless of their opponent. Being a good player in any sport isn’t just about training and practicing in the gym or on the field, it’s also about working on the mental side of the game that separates an average athlete from an elite athlete.
How do we Conquer the Fear of Failure?
Fear of failure manifests in many ways in sports. Goalkeepers who are anxious or tense when competing are often afraid to fail or mess up. Fear of failure can also cause your athletes to try too hard, which leads to “overthinking” mentally.
Diagnosing Fear of Failure
It’s not enough to know that Keepers experience a fear of failure. What’s more important is to know what types of fears hold athletes back.
As you can see from the list below, fear of failure often relates to what keepers assume they think others think about them (or social approval).
Signs of fear of failure:
- Fear of losing a game. Keepers badly want to win and are afraid they won’t succeed.
- Fear of negative social evaluation. Keepers fear others will view them as a failure.
- Fear of embarrassment. They’re afraid to embarrass themselves in front of others if they don’t perform well.
- Fear of letting others down. They do not want to let others down– coaches, parents or teammates.
- Fear of putting in the effort and not ever getting the “payoff” or not playing to their potential. They don’t want their hard work, talent and long practices to result in nothing (e.g. wins, trophies, etc.).
- Fear of not performing up to others’ expectations. Young Keepers worry about not meeting others’ expectations.
- Fear of being rejected, losing respect, or not gaining approval.
- Fear of making mistakes and not performing perfectly after having worked so hard.
Helping Keepers Overcome Fear of Failure
- To help Keepers with fear of failure, it’s best to understand the specific fear and address it head on. Take fear of embarrassment, for example. If your Keeper has this form of fear they worry too much about what others think about them. They need to play for themselves instead of being concerned about what others think.
- Help Keepers focus on success instead of worrying about failing. Many Keepers with fear of failure focus on all the wrong things. They think more about not making mistakes than completing the Save. These Keepers need to set small goals that help them focus more on success. One option: keepers should see a good result in their minds before they execute it.
- Keepers with fear of failure need to learn how to perform efficiently instead of perfectly. The idea here is that your Keeper DOES NOT have to be perfect to perform their best. They often want to over control their performance (due to their worries about making mistakes). They need to understand that mistakes are a natural part of sports. The goal is for your Keeper to trust in their skills so they can play more freely and feel less tight or controlling.