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Sources of Self-Confidence
By: Andrea Furst (profile)
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How many times have you said or heard other players say, “I bogeyed the fifth and then I lost my confidence”, or “My confidence is gone”, or “I have to get my confidence back in my swing”?

How many times have you said or heard other players say, “I bogeyed the fifth and then I lost my confidence”, or “My confidence is gone”, or “I have to get my confidence back in my swing”?

Self-confidence is talked about like it is a fragile and hypersensitive characteristic that declines and disappears on a whim.

This conceptualization of self-confidence makes self-confidence very vague and intangible. It does not have to be that way!

It is beneficial to know where you derive your self-confidence, in a similar way to knowing your strengths. Knowledge of your sources of self-confidence will enable you to have a more complete understanding of what works for you and your game.

Do you know what your sources of self-confidence are?

To assist you in developing a thorough knowledge of your sources, it is valuable to review Vealey’s (2001) nine sources of self-confidence in sport.

1. Sources of Achievement

(1) Mastery: Developing and improving skills.

Mental Note: Include drills and activities in your practice schedule that allow your progress to be identified and accomplishments to be acknowledged. Monitor your progress to optimize the benefits of your practice.

(2) Demonstration of Ability: Showing ability by winning and outperforming opponents.

Mental Note: Include competitive opportunities in your practice to lift your ability to compete in competition. Take every opportunity to be competitive and when you do win, it is solid evidence that you have what it takes to win again.

2. Self-Regulation

(3) Physical and Mental Preparation: Staying focused on goals and being prepared to give maximum effort.

Mental Note: Work on both your physical and mental skills to ensure optimum resources to meet the demands of competition. Make preparation high on your priority list to maximize readiness for the competitive environment.

(4) Physical Self-Presentation: Feeling good about your body and weight.

Mental Note: Ensure that you emphasise your physical appearance and health in your training so that you can maximize positive body language. Have a strong physical presence.

3. Social Climate

(5) Social Support: Getting encouragement from teammates, coaches, and family.

Mental Note: Have people in your support system that sincerely support your golf career. Keep in regular contact with these supportive people.

(6) Coaches’ Leadership: Trusting coaches’ decisions and believing in their abilities.

Mental Note: Develop an effective working relationship with your coach so that you get what you need and want.

(7) Vicarious Experience: Seeing other athletes performing successfully.

Mental Note: Watch other golfers or other athletes who are doing a ‘good job’; note how they are ‘doing it’. Feed off and learn from their successful performances.

(8) Environmental Comfort: Feeling comfortable in the environment where you will perform.

Mental Note: Set up your practice and competitive environment to ensure you have what you need to perform. Eliminate short cuts and excuses.

(9) Situational Favorableness: Seeing breaks going your way and feeling that everything is going right.

Mental Note: Take the ‘wins’ when you get them; small or large. Embrace things going well and reward yourself whenever you get the opportunity.

It is worth reviewing what aspects of these sources provide you with self-confidence in your game. By knowing what lifts your confidence levels it then makes good sense to include these regularly in both your practice and competitive schedules. This will enhance your ability to maintain your self-confidence levels rather than have them decline or disappear following adverse or undesirable events.

There is no doubting the link between self-confidence and golf performance. It is recommended that you know your sources and you incorporate them regularly so that you have the ability to manage your levels of self-confidence from within, rather than them be dictated to you.

Knowing your sources of self-confidence helps build real data to build real self-confidence that endures.

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