Have you ever been suddenly thrust into a new role for the team and questioned if you were prepared?
Having a new role on a team can be an anxious time, even if it is for a few games or one competition.
Athletes get sick or injured all the time and you have to be ready to accept a new position…
At any time, one of your teammates might become injured and you might have to replace your teammate.
Would you feel ready to take on a new role? Are you confident that you can perform at a high level in a new role?
Performing consistently is all about confidence, but confidence is not an all-or-nothing proposition.
One of the biggest misconceptions by athletes is that some believe you either have confidence or you don’t.
In sports, athletes often say, “I’ve lost my confidence.” But there are many levels of confidence.
However, you do want to have stable confidence. And you’ll find many ways to steadily build confidence even if you are not the star of your team.
Let’s look at a prime sports example: the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback situation.
The Eagles traded for and signed Sam Bradford to a $35 million two year contract in 2015. Bradford was the incumbent starter for the 2016 year under a new coaching regimen. The Eagles also signed free agent quarterback Chase Daniel to a 3-year $21 million contract.
Then the Eagles traded up in the 2016 NFL draft to select top quarterback prospect Carson Wentz. Wentz was expected to learn from the two veteran quarterbacks over the next couple of years so he could eventually take over the reins in a few years.
Unfortunately, during his first pre-season game, Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs and never saw game action for the duration of the preseason.
After Bradford was traded a few days before the regular season, Wentz was thrust in the starter’s role for opening day.
Wentz felt ready stating he kept sharp, ready and confident by consistently paying attention to his mental preparation and doing his “mental reps.”
WENTZ: “The whole time, I was just getting ready for whenever this time would come. I knew I was ready. I knew I was taking the mental reps, being out the last couple of weeks, even going out to the first preseason game. I was developing at a fast pace and now it’s here. I’m confident in myself, I’m confident in this team. I’m excited for it.”
Wentz has been playing his sport for years and knows football is football, even if he is playing at the NFL level.
WENTZ: “There’s nothing different I need to do now. It’s still football. Still be the same guy.”
If you adopt Wentz’s positive approach, would you become overwhelmed when you get your chance to start?
How to Improve Your Confidence When Waiting For Your Shot
Practice with the mindset that your chance at playing is coming soon. Create mental scenarios during practice reps where you are playing as the starter.
Practice with a swagger. Imagine yourself performing well in games as the starter in a new role.
List the reasons you deserve to play and contribute to your team. Confidence is a long-term project based on years of practice and competition, but momentum can change often during competition.