A confident young athlete is a joy to behold, evoking awe and admiration from teammates, coaches and supporters. It’s easy to discern the overt signs of confidence in a player – positive attitude, self-assured body language, unabashed enthusiasm for the game – but pinpointing the intangibles of self-confidence can be more challenging. To help you recognize a confident player, here’s a list of characteristics they often display.
Whether they’re interacting with teammates, coaches, teachers, parents or peers, confident athletes are able to communicate respectfully and effectively to achieve their aims. Effective communication skills empower a student-athlete to advocate for themselves, seek solutions when they encounter challenges, and inspire their peers and teammates to achieve greatness.
The capacity to self-reflect helps confident student-athletes glean valuable lessons, especially from their failures. Being able to objectively review past events helps these composed competitors identify lessons learned and decide how to implement new strategies in the future.
A confident student-athlete gives their best effort in every practice, scrimmage and game. These competitors know that consistency is the key to their success. Working hard isn’t something they think much about – it’s a habit driven by their commitment to excellence.
Along with a strong work ethic, confident athletes find a way to execute their coach’s instructions. On game day, when the stakes are high, self-possessed athletes trust themselves and their coaches enough to remain calm and apply the strategies they’ve been practicing all week.
When a confident student-athlete is struggling – as we all do at times – instead of giving up, they stay focused on their goals and remain steadfast in their efforts. If these exceptional athletes encounter difficulties, they look for ways to understand what their coach is asking for and to meet the required standards. In other words, they’re not afraid to ask for help.
While parental support isn’t a characteristic of student-athletes themselves, parent involvement is a vital element of young athletes’ confidence. Having a strong foundation of love, support and understanding at home can give a young athlete the self-belief to push beyond their comfort zone without worrying about negative consequences if they make a mistake.
The next time you see a cool, confident student-athlete, remember that a lot of time and effort went into creating that unflappable façade. Confidence is a skill that can be learned, like any other. If you would like to develop more self-confidence, try setting some goals for yourself and taking consistent steps toward your desired state. With time, consistency and effort you, too, can become a more confident player.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.