Confidence Is Overrated

I have worked with hundreds of athletes who come to me for “lack of confidence” or “low confidence” in their performances.

Well, what if I told you that the truth about confidence is…You don’t need it.

Not even a shred of it is necessary for brilliant performances in any sport or field. Yep, that’s right, you don’t need any confidence to compete to your potential greatness.

But first, why do I teach such sports heresy to athletes of all ages when they are looking to me to help them build confidence?

Because, the first step in building confidence is letting go of the need for it. You see, athletes (especially young athletes) hold themselves back from their best performances when they show up to competition and don’t feel confident. They then, incorrectly, judge themselves lacking and therefore start thinking about performing and trying to control their movements, which just doesn’t work.

In other words, it’s the thought that you need confidence when you don’t have it that creates tension, tightness and nervousness that actually hurts your ability to perform.

Athletes, and people in all endeavors for that matter, do amazing things every day with zero confidence.

I once asked a coach who had brought his team to the NCAA championships three times and had years of Division I success in his sport, “Coach, how do you help your athletes build confidence?” His answer was, “The only way I know how to build confidence is to have some success…and then you get the confidence.”

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Well, think about it for a second. We don’t start out with confidence, do we? We start achieving things from scratch. You’ve got to get your first win sometime, right? Let’s take this to its logical extreme and see if my theory holds up.

We were all babies once, right? And we wanted to walk because we saw adults around us walking. We end up walking because we possess two character traits, even as a baby:

  1. Drive/Desire: We want to walk, just like we want to achieve and win in our sport.
  2. Perseverance: As babies, we aren’t afraid to fall down and get back up again.

Those two things are all you need to achieve anything.

We had zero confidence about walking when we decided to walk. Babies don’t even have the ability to comprehend confidence. And yet, they teach themselves to walk.

Don’t get me wrong—confidence is helpful. I help athletes build confidence every day, and the way you do so is to continually revisit your past successes and what it is about you that made that success happen.

Remind yourself of your proven skills, abilities and talents at least as much as you review your errors for corrective action. Nobody can do this for you. Everybody has the ability to do it easily and everyone has many successes and talents to draw from.

Start with the idea that you do not need confidence to have an amazing performance, and you will actually be building confidence at hyper speed.

Craig Sigl’s work with youth athletes has been featured on NBC TV and ESPN. Get his free ebook: “The 10 Commandments For a Great Sports Parent” and also a free training and .mp3 guided visualization to help young athletes perform under pressure by visiting:

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