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Sports Psychology: How To Build Self-Confidence In A Young Athlete

Athletes of all ages are always looking for ways to be more confident, focused and relaxed when they compete in their respective sport or sports.

There are many techniques which can be helpful to them including visualization, positive self talk, meditation, guided imagery, prayer, self-hypnosis and hypnosis.

Young athletes frequently become anxious prior to the first game of the season, a playoff game or a championship game.

Some competitors find it hard to stay calm, focused and relaxed when they are being watch by a scout or a recruiter.

Some maturing athletes get anxious as they move on to the next level of competition.

That is, a high school player may be uneasy in his first college game.

Similarly, a minor league baseball player may be very nervous the first time he plays in a major league contest.

Many athletes learn to overcome this anxiety simply by playing in a lot of events. Competing frequently on a regular basis helps them to sort out what they need to do and change in order to “enter the zone” and perform to their fullest potential.

Recently, a twelve year old very talented tennis player came to this author’s office as she was quite anxious about an upcoming national tennis tournament.

She expressed worries over the level of competition, the size of the crowd, the importance of the event and the travel associated with this tournament.

She was also very concerned about performing poorly and disappointing her parents.

To help her to relax, several strategies were suggested and implemented.

First, she decided it would be best if her parents did not watch her play.

Second, she utilized music prior to stepping on the court to fine her energy and her rhythm.

Third, and perhaps most important, she needed to develop some perspective on the importance of this event.

Since her goal is to be a professional tennis player, this author told her that there is “no reason to be nervous.”

She was reminded that on her journey to being a professional tennis player, she will play in hundreds of tournaments. This reminder made it easy for her to have some perspective on this “upcoming big event.” And this advice helped her to reduce the intensity and the meaning that she was assigning to this tournament.

The patient noted, “I never looked at it that way before. This sure makes a lot of sense.”

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