People often forget what they want out of a situation and what their desired outcome really is. Many people see winning as the only positive outcome and this puts huge amounts of pressure on them. If you can’t believe in yourself, then others can’t believe in you either. So in competitive sports especially, it’s essential that children believe in themselves and their ability at an early age, but it’s also important that their belief is based on what they know of themselves to be capable of rather than what they (or others) say they’re capable of. Were talking about having the ability to prepare for competition, physically and mentally, so that when the pressure is on actions will always speak louder than words!

“I am the greatest” – Muhammad Ali famously said all the time before and after fights. This was a positive affirmation created to continuously push forward the feeling of greatness, this inspired him to win numerous world championships fights. He is a great example of a sports athlete who had a lot to say about his own abilities, but his beliefs were always strongly based on what he knew himself to be capable of achieving. This creates a strong winning mentality. Even if he was not this gifted at the start of his pursuit of greatness, his belief helped to create the athlete we know today, a True Champion.

Knowing where your strengths lie as a sportsman is of great importance but being able to identify where your weaknesses lies is equally if not more important, at least then you will know where your starting point is and what you need to work on. Working on your psychological element, your inner confidence and self esteem will see your outer game drastically improve.

It is common for children who are into sports to look at their own skill sets which are their key strengths, but what this does is it effectively allows them to hide from any weaknesses they may have, this then can have a direct effect on how they view their performances – or their potential to win. A child who is strong in the area of physical fitness and activity may start to begin to believe their failure to succeed in competition is solely down to a lack of their fitness. But in reality, the lack of such success is much more likely to be down to their lack of psychological fitness or some other aspect of preparation so if they can identify this weakness they can then choose to take appropriate action.

Now to be able to see themselves as potential winners, children must be given the opportunity to improve confidence in their abilities from being physically active and fit and having a strong positive mindset. A good balance in all areas will create a well balanced child and performer. Having an awareness of where each child believes their own strengths and weaknesses to lie is key for them to be able to move forward and improve. Also what a child believes and what a someone else sees can be quite different. A child with more physical ability is not guaranteed to win over a weaker opponent in a game if he doesn’t believe himself to be superior.

This is a method and skill set that can be learnt just like any other part of training and the grounding for competition. Telling a child that they’re in winning form on game day will have zero effect if the child doesn’t believe it themselves. Putting forward a confidence plan and ways to move forward in place long before competition day allows a child and athlete to feel positively prepared and feeling positively ready creates a positive, winning mentality.

Remember… You are the greatest!

Author's Bio: 

Karl Stringer is a Sports Performance & Confidence Coach, specialising in football and individual sports, with clients in the English Football League and athletics. Karl is a co-founder and Director of Esporte Ltd and Break Your Limits.
Karl works with professional athletes to help them achieve their potential and improve performance through confidence building and effective mental preparation, and delivers workshops, one-to-one, and group coaching sessions.