A lot of times athlete's and coaches spend a lot of time talking about confidence. It is easy to understand why- if an athlete does not trust him/herself how can they expect to perform at optimal levels? However, more is needed than just confidence. An athlete needs trust.
Levels of trust:
Trust in themselves to know how to perform the skills necessary for optimal performance
Trust in their body- the knowledge that they have trained their body to execute the skills
Trust in their training- believing that the time spent practicing/training is helping them to move towards his/her goals
Trust in their coaches- believing that those around them have the knowledge and ability to train us appropriately
What happens if the athlete lacks any of the trust factors listed above? If an athlete lacks trust, he/she will often over control their performance, which often times leads to mistakes. The athlete may demand that he/she perform perfectly every time he/she steps out onto the field. If and when a mistake occurs, his/her focus becomes fixated on that mistake- over correcting to try and prevent it from reoccurring. Fear of the mistake happening in the future pulls his/her attention from the present and places it into the future. Without being able to focus in the moment, he/she will be unable to fully understand what is happening in the game and know how to respond appropriately.
An athlete who trusts him/herself knows and believes in his/her ability to be flexible with his/her performance; knowing that he/she will know how to respond to factors in the game to make plays. Instead of being focused in the past (by thinking about past mistakes) or the futures (by fearing a mistake will occur), he/she is in the moment, fully aware of his/her surroundings. His/her confidence combined with trust allows this athlete to be unstoppable!
Athletes spend a great deal of time and energy practicing for their sport; it is important that the athlete also trusts that training and their overall ability if they want to perform at their optimal level.