Why would I want to stick out MORE by being the best?”
....Said no man EVER (okay I’m exaggerating).
But if you coach women, you know what I’m talking about. Your female athletes don’t necessarily say this out loud, but their subconscious brain is SCREAMING it at them daily.
You see it in their performance; they play down to their teammates, don't take the last shot even though they are most likely to make it (is it fear of failure or fear of success?), don't score ‘too much’, play a great game or great half and then self-sabotage by playing down to a lower level of performance.
I know a little bit about this. I always wanted to be the best. And yet even I felt at a very young age the social COST of being the best. And it made me change my performance.
I stuck out on my high school team, I was from a different part of town, I was higher socioeconomically than many of my teammates, I was the arguably the best player as a...
In my opinion, one of the great joys of playing sports is that I can let out my inner bitch without apologizing. (and please don’t email me about using the word bitch… it’s the word that resonates with me.)
But it is an interesting thing isn’t it... when you really think about it?
We are allowed to be rough and aggressive and competitive in a way that isn’t necessarily socially acceptable in everyday life (and dare I say for women in particular). Sports is this pure area that allows us to be free from being ‘nice’, even as we teach sportsmanship and leadership and all those other great attributes.
I get that. YOU get that. But do your ATHLETES get that?
Often times women still pay a price for being aggressive on the playing field, or they perceive that there will be a cost.
So many don’t take advantage of this safe space to let it all go. Whether it’s because they are nice ‘Christian girls’ (as one coach told...
"Confidence is simply that spiritual space where you feel free to focus on only those things you can control.” - Jerry Lynch, The Way of a Champion
When I was a younger athlete, I believed that my accomplishments would lead to confidence. That if I did this or accomplished that, I’d walk around with confidence all the time. I remember looking at college athletes, and later, Olympic athletes and thinking, “Wow, they must never doubt themselves or get nervous in a game. They must not mess up during a play they’ve done correctly 1,000 times in practice.” I assumed that if you were ‘that good’ or had accomplished ‘that much’ you were past having to struggle with confidence.
But it’s not that way at all.
What I’ve learned from playing with and against some of the best players in the world, and also from being around multiple high-level athletes from several Olympic sports, is that your confidence...
By Olympian Courtney Thompson
“You should exercise unrelenting discipline over your thought patterns. Cultivate only productive attitudes… You are the product of everything you put into your body and mind.” -I Ching
In my experience, it’s pretty safe to assume that everyone wants to be confident. No matter what you are doing: Playing a game, giving a speech, on a date, or taking a test at school, it’s going to be infinity more enjoyable when you feel good about who you are in that moment. In other words, confident in your own skin.
I know from personal experience how painful it is to NOT be truly myself in a given moment. It’s a feeling, in my opinion, significantly worse than losing or failing or any of the things we spend time worrying about.
This is my challenge to the athletes I work with: Fight and work towards being your true self, nothing more and nothing less, in every environment you...
In my experience with literally thousands of athletes, I’ve typically come across two main types of athletes:
1. The athletes that are the same on and off the field in regards to their personality and characteristics. (more common)
2. Athletes that are remarkably different on the playing field and off. (less common)
This is what I mean. An athlete can be shy off the field and really turn it on when the whistle blows. Or they can be sort of the same; introverted in the classroom, on the field, in the locker room etc. The same is true for more extroverted, bigger personality types. Some stay the same whether they are competing or not. Some are the life of the party but sort of fade back when playing their sport.
The shy, introverted athletes are the ones I want to focus on today. Specifically, the ones that are more reserved in their personal life, BUT would play better if they were consistently more aggressive on the field.
It’s likely that, if you’re reading this blog, you know already that a little thing called confidence has a big impact on performance.
Maybe you’ve seen your son or daughter struggle with confidence and are feeling helpless, searching for answers anywhere you can find them. Maybe you’re a coach who spends time trying to convince your athletes they’re capable, to no avail. Or maybe you’re an athlete yourself, wondering why the one thing holding you back from being your best feels so elusive.
I’m not here to tell you what you already know: Confidence matters.
But I won't just tell you about why confidence matters, I will dig deeper into why confidence seems to be a particular struggle for a particular type of athlete: the high school aged athlete. Then, I'll wrap my blog up by giving you a free download of my new guide designed to build confidence: 4 Quick Hits to Confidence.
I'll begin by telling you about:
Imagine you possess all the material success you’ve ever dreamt of. You have a career full of accomplishments, you live in the house you’ve always pictured, and you hold the respect and admiration of your peers, colleagues, and friends.
In other words, you’d expect to be wildly confident in yourself, right?
Well, not exactly…. While we all picture a future where we ‘arrive’ at our most confident selves, the reality is that’s not how confidence works.
When I'm working with athletes, it’s easy for me to look at the ones who have been successful and think, “Now, that’s confidence!”
However, many times I don’t know the backstory of how they got to that point. So while, at times, I'm witnessing true confidence, the result of hard work, failure, and perseverance other times I'm seeing mere “surface confidence”, or an unsustainable, skin-deep confidence that doesn’t...
If you've never met me, I suppose you could say one of the last things people think about me is, "Wow, this woman really lacks confidence". I teach confidence, I speak in front of hundreds of people regularly about confidence, I try to exude strength and confidence in everything I do.
I FEEL confident most of the time, but there are also times when I don't. During these moments of obvious uncertainty, I learned to put into play some skills to snap out of it.
Through all my talks and lectures, even I need a reminder sometimes. Even I need to make sure my confidence is coming through in all that I do; during one notable season of my life, it wasn't.
I was playing professional basketball. At first I was excited to share the news, but quickly grew tired of the onslaught of attention I was receiving when I revealed my chosen profession.
So I stopped telling people.
Instead, I'd say I was in "athletics" and try to leave it at that. Basically, I started...
If only I had a nickel for every time I heard that from a coach when they were asked, “What’s the difference between coaching men and coaching women?”
Which brings me to a question that has literally been nagging me for years:
This question is really tough for me because I have this knee-jerk emotional reaction that screams ‘Of course NOT!’
But then a quieter voice asks, ‘Hmm. Do we? And, if so, what can we DO about it?’
In my work with male and female athletes of all ages, I will say there are clear differences between the two. And two things stick out for me: Men somehow know that appearing confident is beneficial, even if it’s just a façade, and the ‘fake it till you make it’ principle really does work in regards to confidence.
But, that’s just my opinion.
We did what...
No one wants to hear about
Athletes like YOU have amazing stories of struggle and loss. Stories that make the greatest difference don’t always come from Olympians. Take, for instance, the story of the sophomore offensive tackle, Jonathan Meldrum, who battles depression and “remembers the scrimmage drill that had him considering suicide.”
That’s a REAL story that might help the 31% of undergrad students who suffer depression feel less alone and more hopeful.
And I know you have a story like that: one that can make a BIG difference to someone out there.
Likewise, you have amazing lessons you’ve learned from your experiences. If you can share those with each other (maybe not right after a loss, but after a time), you can help one another...