Basics of Confidence

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Hello Canadian Girls Basketball Family,

There’s a lot of research supporting the fact that girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem, as well as lower levels of depression.

Playing basketball has helped me overcome doubts in my potential in life, my holistic value as a woman, as well as my body image. But confidence is something I learned needs exercise and practice every single day. Here’s what else I’ve learned…

  1. Confidence is a skill, and you need to refine it with focus, effort, and consistent repetition. If you’re feeding into your lack of confidence, you’re strengthening that negative skill which translates to the court. Re-train the way you think.

  2. Confidence is earned through preparation. If you train your mind and your body to execute a certain movement the exact same way EVERY SINGLE REP, it will become second nature. Just like walking. WORK ON THE BASICS. That’s when great fundamentals combine with your personal swag and your game elevates. And that’s when the game becomes really fun. Constant, mindful and purposeful repetitions are key to building confidence. Pay your dues, you don’t get good without working hard.

  3. Be nice when you talk to yourself. My senior year at Minnesota I was really struggling to score the ball. One day before practice, Rachel Banham told me that every time she has the ball in her hands and makes a move and takes a shot, she narrates it to herself in a positive light (her exact verbage was something along the lines of “shake n’ bake, Kobe!! Splashh!!!!” but you get it). So I tried it. And it worked. So you should try it too 🙂

  4. Learn from your (perceived) failures. I put “perceived” in parentheses because failure is a subjective term. How much you take from a lesson is up to you – learn to learn from pain and discomfort. Be better from it and raise your standard.

Tips to improve your mental game

  1. Figure out what confidence looks like and means to you. What fuels your confidence? 
  1. Keep a training/practice/workout diary. You should already be logging your shots, but keep track of how you feel, what you did well today, and what you want to be better at tomorrow. You’ll read back on early entries and see your progress as well as understand things from a new perspective.
  1. Focus on one day at a time – you’re not finished but you’re progressing.
  1. Establish a plan for what you will do when things aren’t going well. Do you have a shot quote or word that will help you refocus? Do you need a deep breath? Find a strategy to defend yourself against those doubts. 
  1. Figure out what your signature strengths are, and determine what separates and elevates you against your competition. 
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