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The best advantage any athlete can have is a great sense of self confidence. That inner feeling of trusting your instincts and skills will aid you more than any other factor when game time rolls around. A self confident player can take the field, court, or arena and be poised and prepared to play his or her best. Just like athletic skill, self confidence must be practiced and maintained. A player cannot expect to immediately excel at a sport, so he or she should also be prepared to complete activities that will build his or her self confidence. Many coaches work in drills or activities into their regular practices that will boost a player's ability to trust his or her decisions in the event.

Self confidence is important in every sporting event or activity, but it seems more so in an individual sport rather than a team sport. In team sports, you can rely on your fellow teammates to assist with plays and boost your spirits if you happen on a rough patch of play. Individual sports make players focus within, requiring athletes to create internal motivation that teammates would usually provide. Additionally, athletes who compete in individual sports are more likely to feel magnified effects from losing. In a team sport, if an individual does poorly, the team can adjust their strategy. However, in an individual sport, it is up to the athlete to perform at top levels consistently. Regardless of the sport or activity in which you are engaged, achieving and maintaining your self confidence will enhance your performance.

If you are part of a sports team, look for ways to build your self confidence through building team confidence. For example, your football team might be a leader in defense, but your quarterback sacks help put them there. Your doubles tennis team may be ranked in first place, partially thanks to your strong serving ability and excellent back hand form. For every praise of your team, find a way praise to yourself. This may be difficult at first, since athletes are schooled in the ways of teamwork, with the old adage "there is no I in team," but your personal self confidence will boost the overall performance of the team. However, it should be said there is a fine line between self confident praising and boasting. Whereas self confidence can enhance a team, boasting or arrogance can destroy it. Rifts form between teammates and you may find yourself separated from your fellow athletes if your attitude turns you into a braggart.

The best way to gain and maintain your athletic self confidence is to practice whatever sport in which you are participating. It does not matter if you are five or eight-five, practice will reinforce you knowledge of the game and your confidence in your performance. When you know you can successfully execute a play or have truly mastered a specific skill, your self confidence will grow. Learn from your mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up over a mistake, loss, or missed opportunity, find a way to better your playing level. If you are having difficulty in one area of the sport, focus on it during practice. Establish a mindset that positively reinforces your skills in order to build your self confidence and do not allow yourself to think negative or harsh thoughts regarding your performance.

The best athletes are not those individuals with the greatest skill level—they are the ones who are truly confident in their capacity in the game. Regardless of what sport you choose to pursue, trusting your own judgments and skill level is a sure fire way to be successful in the athletic area

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