How To Build Athletic Confidence In Two Steps
by: Jimmy Dabney
As an athlete, it can be frustrating when you practice regularly and never see the desired results. This can leave you questioning your dedication to the sport and your overall faith in the athletic development process. At times it may feel as if you simply cannot connect the dots of how to attain those desired results. Lucky for you, after years of watching athletes go through similar situations I have found two simple steps that build athletic confidence and help players ultimately attain the level of sport they desire. These two steps are strength development and application.
What do I mean by this?
Young athletes are growing like crazy. At times, this can make them feel awkward and as well as make it difficult for them to understand how to use their body, because physiologically their body is constantly changing. This exciting aspect of human anatomy, also known as puberty, presents an opportunity to take advantage of strength development and application. Being physically strong and applying new strength development to continue to refine and build their skill makes the athlete dynamic, explosive, and most of all& CONFIDENT.
With that said, there is a lot of hard work connected to confidence; focus, dedication and determination are a few words that come to mind. However, this process can be fun if the athlete's strength development occurs in a positive and uplifting environment. While learning challenging exercises like the deadlift, squat, or bench press, the athlete can build confidence by understanding the unique components of each move. The increase in knowledge on how each exercise can aide in their athletic development helps them become experts when it comes to their body and its movements. Coaches can continue to build an athlete's confidence in the weight room by tracking progress and sharing or celebrating key milestones.
As a coach, I am excited when I see young athletes conquer an exercise that they were uncertain about or had struggled with previously. What is even more exciting is when I see an athlete use their newfound knowledge and apply it to their sport. The application of similar movements to the lifts, like retracting the scapulae, engaging the core, incorporating hamstring strength and hip mobility while running, tackling or swinging demonstrates the knowledge the athlete has gained from the strength development. By breaking down and dissecting the movements of these big lifts into unilateral versions, athletes are able to connect them to balance, stability, speed, and force. These types of connections, from lesson to execution, are greats examples of confidence development.
The old saying “knowledge is power” seems to maintain its truth. By educating young athletes on strength development, connecting that to the necessary movements of their particular sport and then applying the newfound knowledge, we see an athlete’s confidence grow. As they continue to connect the dots on how one muscle or movement can affect their skill development they will continue to become experts on their body and how to utilize it effectively.
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