The power of self belief is incredible. I have experienced this myself many times over with my own athletic career and seeing how it can be of positive (and negative) benefit for our athletes and fitness clients.
Many athletes will fail to ever realize their potential because of self-imposed beliefs about their abilities and how far they can go, whether it be in sports, or to a big university they would like to attend, a job they might want, a boy or girl who they think might just be out of their league, etc.. The list goes on and on. The simple truth about this type of thinking is that whatever you think about yourself, how you perceive your own abilities, and how you will perform on the athletic field is almost always going to dictate the outcome of your own performance.
For some this comes naturally, as in they are very talented in what they do and they know that they will perform on game day. Some call this arrogance. Some call this confidence. Whatever you call it, you can always tell that the best athletes have a calm assurance about themselves. There is no doubt or hesitation whatsoever because they know that the preparation is there and all they have to do is execute.
On the other hand, the athletes who tend to not do so well are usually very unsure of themselves, have low self-esteem, and will always talk themselves down. This usually comes out from outside influences (coaches, parents, friend, teammates) and years of being told they simply aren’t good enough.
I struggled with this sort of thing for years. When I played football early on in my career, I had a very hard time getting rid of the thought that (as a wide receiver) I would drop or not catch the football. Once I had a drop in a practice or a game, it would ruin the rest of my day and the drops would be more and more frequent. Why? Because all I could think about was “I hope I don’t drop the football!” It changed my JV year of football when one of my coaches came up to me and said “Johnny, I believe in you. You are going to drop the ball every now and then – even Jerry Rice did and look at him now.”
(In fact, Jerry Rice had 15 dropped passes as an NFL rookie, or about 1 drop every game.)
That was all I needed to hear and it instantly improved my confidence in myself on and off the football field.
The lesson here? Always speak highly of yourself. You don’t have to be an arrogant and cocky athlete, but you must believe that you WILL do great things. No one who was ever a major success in any part of their life got there by being timid and weak. Mental toughness is a huge part of being successful in sports and it all starts with the power of believing in yourself.
I believe that you can do great things – now you just have to believe in yourself too. Don’t let YOU hold you back. I understand being “realistic”, but you will never see how far you can go unless you set your goals in that impossible range. Dare to be great!
Until next time,