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Be confident: It will all go well

Martijn Veltkamp explores the deeper thought processes around improving your sports performance

Many famous athletes will tell you self-confidence is key for good performance. If you expect to be able to win before the start of a race, then the chances of winning actually increase. Confidence is not only relevant for professionals though. It has an impact on all levels of sports. Here three tips to get and keep confident.

1.    Be prepared: If you want to perform really well in an event, then it gives a lot of confidence to know that you did everything you could in order to be optimally prepared. It will be a comfort to recap your preparation activities before you start the race. In addition, it will help if you already know the route or stadion where you will be racing. You could actually visit is, or explore it digitally.

2.    The right people around you: Your social environment has quite an impact on your confidence. If a coach has doubts about you, or a friend, you tend to copy that. Therefore think about who you trust. Who are people that really want the best for you, and also are able to judge your athletic performance? Learn to trust their feedback, and ignore negative signals from others.

3.    Don’t let doubts get you down: Not all people are equally self-confident. Even many professional athletes doubt themselves before a race, and yet it does not always hurt them. So, is a lack of faith really so bad? Probably not. A lack of confidence will only block your performance at the moment you link low confidence to negative expectations; ‘I am full of doubts, so today will not be my day.’ Not the doubt itself, but the related thought is what negatively affects your performance. What helps is to learn to accept your doubts and worries, and learn that they do not mean that you will underperform as a result of them.