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Unlocking the Mind Game: Techniques for Developing Lasting Confidence in Football

Updated: Jan 9

Confidence is one of the most desired mental qualities for footballers and athletes. But, you might have noticed that feelings of confidence don't always stick around, especially in difficult moments. This blog will tell you or your child how to turn up-and-down confidence into long-lasting self-belief on the pitch.

A goalkeeper in soccer taking a goal kick

We know confidence as being the belief that athletes have in their ability to succeed in their sport. This belief comes in several different types and from multiple sources. Footballers can feel confidence in their skills and the preparation they've put into playing at their best in their next game. They can feel confident in their ability to focus their mind on what they need to under when under the pressure of the game. And, they can also feel confident that if they have a setback, they'll bounce straight back. This high level of self-belief helps the best footballers to think, feel and play better on the pitch. But where do they get this from?

Key sources of confidence

See if you or your child have sourced confidence from these before:

  • Improving your ability

  • Experiencing success on the pitch

  • Feeling physically and mentally prepared

  • Seeing players similar to you perform well

  • Support from coaches, teammates and others

When building your or your child's confidence, the sources of confidence that have been most important and impactful in the past should be focused on, along with any other sources you think might be beneficial. Because confidence can be fragile, it's important to rely on stable sources to make it lasting. Relying too much on uncontrollable sources (e.g., the score or the opponent) is why confidence can yo-yo and leave you or your child lacking belief when it's most needed. If we can develop confidence into true self-belief, it becomes more robust and allows players to face setbacks and challenges, and still maintain a belief that they can succeed.

5 ways to build confidence:

  1. Get to know you and your confidence

  2. Record evidence of success

  3. Introduce pressure into training (Remove time and space, increase fatigue)

  4. Practice using mental skills

  5. Identify and develop YOUR signature strengths

4 ways to make confidence last:

  1. Continue your confidence development

  2. Put self-belief triggers into the environment

  3. Focus on the process and the controllables

  4. Take confidence from multiple sources

Too often players accept that their confidence will just be up and down, out of their control forever. They remain a 'confidence player', only playing to their potential when the stars align and that magic confidence appears. But, it doesn't have to be this way. By committing to the strategies above and an ongoing process of confidence building, you or your child can develop lasting confidence that has you backing yourself before every game.

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