We’re not all Derek Jeter but we can certainly steal (at least) a fraction of his confidence. “Confidence is not just a thought, it’s an emotion and a behavior,” explains Dr. John F Murray, a clinical and sports psychologist and author the Mental Performance Index. “You have to carry yourself correctly. Don’t slouch—keep your shoulders up, head up—and move quickly.” One of easiest ways to be confident is to act as if you are confident. Mentally, get your confidence up before the game by recalling a positive experience. “Run the tapes of moments when you performed at your best,” suggests sports psychologist Dr. William Wiener. Keep the confidence up during the game by being task-oriented. “Don’t focus on a play that just happened,” says clinical health psychologist Dr. Jayme Albin. “Instead, think about what you need to do next.” Break down each play into smaller steps (dribble the ball here, kick the ball to your wing man, etc.) and give yourself a mental star when each mini goal is achieved. Remember to think and talk positively. Don’t say things like I can’t do this. Instead, remind yourself: I can trust my teammates. I have control and I deserve to be here. It may feel cheesy to throw yourself a mental pep talk but thinking positively will get your body performing positively.
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