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Build a Winning Mindset By Cultivating Confidence

Updated: Jan 26

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

-Abraham Lincoln

In the world of sports, physical prowess is just part of the equation for success. An athlete's mental strength plays a crucial role in their performance. Before you can dream up and work toward accomplishing your long term goals, it’s important to developing a robust set of values, beliefs, and confidence.

Sport psychology emphasizes the development of a mindset that integrates values, beliefs, and confidence to foster success as an athlete. This mindset is essential for achieving peak performance and maintaining resilience in sports.


Creating Strong Values

Values are the foundation of an athlete's character and drive their decisions and actions.  Values are how you set your standard for what you define as good vs bad, beautiful vs ugly, and the thing you strive for vs avoid. They are the things you've learned from your parents, friends, teachers, coaches, teammates, people in your community, and those you look up to and admire. 

Tips to Define Your Values:

  • Identify and write down all the people who have impacted you in your life, people you respect, and those you love. 

  • Make a list of all the qualities that you admire most about each person. 

  • Circle all the characteristics, behaviors, and actions that you would like to emulate. 

  • Identify your top four to five qualities.

  • These top qualities represent your core values.

  • Now, take a moment to define what those core values mean to you.

Key Core Values Include:

  • Commitment to Excellence: Striving for continual improvement and setting high standards in training and performance.

  • Discipline: A disciplined approach to training, which includes consistency and adherence to routines, is vital. Discipline helps create a strong work ethic.

  • Respect: This encompasses self-respect, respect for teammates, coaches, opponents, and the rules of the sport.

  • Teamwork: In team sports, understanding the importance of working together towards a common goal is essential. This includes, embracing cooperation and collaboration, and recognizing the importance of collective effort in team sports.

  • Sportsmanship: Upholding integrity, fairness, and ethical behavior in all aspects of the sport.

Values are your passion and purpose, the words you live by. It’s how you talk your talk. 


Develop Empowering Beliefs

Beliefs shape your perspective and response to challenges.  Beliefs are your actions, they are the things you say and do that validate your core values, be it how you act each day or what takes priority when faced with difficult decisions. Identifying your beliefs help you to understand what you want, what you are willing to give up, and the things that are important to you. 

Tips to Identify Your Beliefs:

  • Write down times in your life when you lived up to your core values. This includes times when you stood up for someone or for something, peak experiences, and moments of failure. 

  • Think about the little things you do each day to either live up to these values or how you compromise them.

  • It’s important to ask those you trust to critique you as well.

Key Beliefs Include:

  • Self-Efficacy: Believing in one's abilities and skills is crucial for achieving goals. If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust?

  • Growth Mindset: Viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning from both successes and failures.

  • Resilience: Mental toughness helps athletes cope with setbacks, maintain focus, and bounce back from disappointments.

  • Positive Thinking: Focusing on strengths and possibilities rather than limitations.

  • Visualization: Using mental imagery to envision success and rehearse strategies for competitions.

Beliefs are the habits that define you. It’s how you walk your walk.  If you have stayed true to your beliefs, strong work on building a solid foundation! If you have found that you tend to compromise your values more than not, take some time to think about why? Once you figure out your why, you can then make a plan or make adjustments so that you can walk your walk!


Defining your values and creating habits that solidify your beliefs allow you to act with integrity. Once you are able to act with integrity, you will have a clearer picture of how to create and work toward accomplishing your goals, which in turn cultivates confidence.

Cultivating Confidence

Confidence emerges from a foundation of strong values and empowering beliefs. Cultivating confidence involves developing daily plans and strategies that reinforce and enhance your sense of self-assurance.

Here Are Some Ways to Build And Maintain Confidence:

  • Goal Setting: Setting clear, achievable goals helps track progress, guides training, and provides motivation.

  • Focus and Concentration: Training to maintain focus during competitions and manage distractions is essential. This includes controlling the controllables, and performance routines.

  • Anxiety Management: Learning techniques to manage performance anxiety can greatly enhance confidence. This includes developing relaxation techniques and positive self-talk.

  • Preparation and Planning: Thorough preparation for competitions includes physical, mental, technical, and tactical readiness, e.g., pre and post performance routines.

  • Adaptability: Being able to adjust to changing situations in competition demonstrates confidence and flexibility.

In the end, how you talk your talk and walk your walk determines your priorities, provides you with meaning, and it serves as your inspiration when you are faced with adversity.  Developing mastery as an athlete involves more than just physical training; it also requires cultivating a robust mental game. By nurturing strong values, fostering empowering beliefs, and building unshakable confidence, you can enhance your performance and achieve your unique level of mastery. This approach to athletic development not only leads to success in sports but also contributes to the growth of a well-rounded individual. And remember, we can't do it alone, so if you need more support give us a call!

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