Is there is a more confident pose than this one of Megan Rapino celebrating after she scores a penalty versus Holland in the last World Cup Final? Possibly not. One would imagine she has practiced that shot, the game winning penalty, thousands of times, and imagined, it may be for the trophy on the biggest stage of soccer. That preparation can be a factor in leading to this players confidence. But is there more to her confidence? Is her confidence simply the result of preparation, or is it a combination of her work and the feedback and encouragement Rapino has received her entire life. Debates about how to best build your players confidence and in turn improve performance are a hot topic these days.
Self-Confidence = Self-Belief x Evidence.
I saw this equation in an article this week and it made me think. I don't disagree with this thinking, in fact, I agree with much of what the coach was saying in his article about confidence and its importance in a persons sporting career. So how can we put this equation to work for us this weekend and beyond?
I think it goes without saying, that Rapino has become one of the most successful players in the history of the game. But there is more to it than hard work and talent. The importance of positive encouragement and critical feedback from parents, sibling, teachers, and yes for sure, coaches should not be overlooked. At some point, Jill Ellis, former USWNT must have said to Rapino, "If we get a PK Megan, you take it, I believe in you." This belief from those in Rapino's environment, like her coaches and teammates, combined with the preparation that she could make the shot, may have been the form of "evidence" she needed that she was good enough, and the difference in her performance.
I think sometimes we can forget how much our players depend upon us for positive feedback and constructive direction to improve. A player can use our feedback as a source of "evidence" of improvement, and in turn impact self belief. This weekend, as my groups compete, I'm going to attempt to impact each players belief in themselves by intentionally looking for the positive things they do on the field. I won't ignore situations when a better decision was needed by an individual, but maybe by "catching them doing good" on concepts where previously I've pointed out improvement was needed, I can provide them with enough evidence they are developing. Will this build thier self belief and confidence? I have to think it will.
As always, I challenge all of you coaches to join me. Try "catching your players doing good" over the next few weeks and see if it plays a role in producing a more confident person/player.
Have a great weekend coaches!