Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Boost your confidence
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo

Self-confidence is a key part of being a successful athlete.

It reflects what you think about yourself and your self worth.

Sport can help to improve this.

If you enjoy sport and really get into it, setting goals and achieving them will improve your self-confidence and your performance too.

Self-confidence allows you to take risks. When you have enough confidence in yourself to know that if things do go wrong, you can put them right, you can take it that bit further.

If you do not enjoy your sport this will not help your confidence one little bit!

So think about it before you kick, lob or bowl that next ball and do your confidence a favour.

Do you need to boost that confidence?

Confidence should be based on observed reality and the achievement of performance goals.

You should be confident that you will perform up to your current abilities.

Good self-confidence comes the following areas:

  • A realistic expectation of success based on well practised physical skills
  • A good knowledge of the sport
  • Respect for your own competence
  • Adequate preparation
  • Good physical condition

    The success attained should be measured in terms of achievement of personal performance goals, not achievement goals such as winning.


    Do not be negative about yourself and find out which of the two types of confidence you fall into then take action!

    Boost your confidence

    It is important to note which type of self-confidence you have:

  • If you are under-confident, then you will not take necessary risks.
  • If you are over-confident, you won't try hard enough and you could lose.

    Under-confidence means you will suffer from fear of failure.

    You may blame yourself for faults that lie elsewhere, which will damage your flow and disrupt your enjoyment of sport.

    Here you should use suggestion, visualisation, and effective goal-setting to improve your self-confidence and self-image.

    Over-confidence is dangerous. It can set you up for serious failure that can devastate the self-confidence you should have.

    Over-confidence is confidence not based on ability but a result of misleading advice.

    This may have come from pushy parents or coaches trying to help you without understanding your abilities.

    Alternatively it could have come from vanity or ego or positive thinking or imagery not backed up by ability.


    To increase your confidence before and during sport start saying the right things and talk positive!

    Here are a few examples of phrases you can use to make you more positive.

  • Take it one shot at a time
  • In the next scrum I'll get lower and push up
  • Come on David (or whatever your name is) - you can win this!

    Focusing on specific tasks and get a task orientation in mind to get your confidence up.

    Here are a few examples of phrases you should not use because they will put you in a negative frame of mind.

  • I'm useless, I'll never do this
  • I can't believe I'm doing so badly
  • At this rate I am never going to score

    These examples focus on your performance in relation to others and are consistent with ego orientation.

    Set yourself some goals

    Goal setting is the most effective way of building your self-confidence.

    Set measurable goals, work towards achieving them and when you have, set some new goals.

    Work towards achieving them too and you will prove your ability and increase your confidence.

    Your achievement will give you the confidence and self-belief that you need to be able to achieve higher and more difficult goals.

    Providing that you have the self-discipline to carry it through!

    Example of a goal

    Set yourself the goal that you will go to all your training sessions for a month.

    By fulfilling this you will know that your skills will have improved with practise and as you should be better in your sport this in turn will improve your confidence.

    Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
    Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

    Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us