#51: Don’t Try This At Home…Confidence Quick Fixes That Don’t Work

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Are you trying to lift up your daughter’s confidence through quick fixes? 

Picture this: your daughter comes up to you and says, “I don’t think I’m good enough to win this competition or even make it to the official team lineup.” That’s alarming! Your athlete is starting to deal with confidence and esteem issues. Now, you want to come up with something that can help her, a quick fix, if you will. 

It would be so easy to treat our athlete’s confidence “issues” with quick fixes!

You’d probably want to find a fast solution and deal with it as much as possible and move on. But that’s not how you should go about this. It’s like putting a bandaid on your athlete’s broken bone. You’re not helping her in the long run. You’ll end up making it okay for a while but then, it’ll come back and the more you give her these quick fixes over time, the more her self-confidence will tamper down and the more she’ll rely on you or on others for validation. 

Quick fixes are the things that we so badly want to work on. They are like band-aids. A temporary fix that might work short-term, but won’t work long-term. Or, like playing whack-a-mole. One problem pops up, but there are plenty more to follow!

What are these quick fixes? 

I often see parents using these fixes in their attempt to build their daughter’s confidence that actually either cut confidence in the long run or simply won’t last long.

Quick Fix #1: Praise

Praise is such a double-edged sword. If you get praised, that obviously means you did a great job and that you know what you’re doing. And every athlete craves that praise and it helps boost their ego, knowing that someone –especially their parents appreciate and sees their hard work. 

It’s really tough! We want to praise our athletes and make them feel good. However, if athletes are relying on praise and external validation to build their internal confidence, they will always be at the mercy of other people rather than themselves. 

They will continue to work for that praise rather than work to improve their performance and themselves. In everything they do, they’ll always look to compliments and praises to measure their performance. 

But I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t recognize your athlete’s accomplishments. However, superficial praise based on outcomes and performance alone will leave them only wanting and needing more of it to feel confident. Praise based on performance can also lead to unhealthy expectations that athletes put on themselves to gain the approval of those giving praise.

Real confidence comes from athletes being internally validated. When athletes know their value, worth, and measure of success isn’t outside of them, it’s within them.

Quick Fix #2: Focusing On Outcomes

When athletes rely on their performance and the outcome of matches to determine their confidence, they will always be on a roller coaster. To her, it’ll always be high scores → praise → being good enough. Therefore, they’ll focus more on the outcome, on trying to get a better outcome to feel validated. 

“Outcomes” – wins/losses, stats, and performance – are a part of an athlete’s experience and can provide data to adjust moving forward. However, if athletes are placing all the emphasis on outcomes as the measure of how confident they feel, they will always be up and down with the score. Their mindset will always be about their scores and how high they can go. 

Outcomes are reliant on so many factors besides just the player. In a team sport, there are a lot of factors that affect the outcome of the competition, and oftentimes, your daughter influences the outcome by only a small percentage of the game. Using them to fuel up your athlete is like eating candy. Athletes will feel confident for a moment, then crash with the next (inevitable) loss or poor performance.

Lasting confidence comes from an athlete’s ability to shift her focus on the process. The daily, small things that will ultimately lead to the outcome that she wants. There’s a popular saying that it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey of getting there. And that’s important to your athletes. It’s the process of working hard and growing herself that is what matters most. 

Quick Fix #3: Fake It Till You Make It

We’ve all heard the phrase… “fake it ‘till you make it!” It sounds good, and that it actually might work. Not feeling confident? Just fake it and eventually, it will come!

But, “fake it ‘till you make it” is the perfect example of the superficial confidence we want to avoid. 

Why? Because it doesn’t last. It might work at the moment, but at its core, this principle cannot help athletes develop true lasting confidence. It’s like trying to be someone you’re not. It’ll only make you feel better for a short period and when it wears off, your athlete will deal with being true to herself and it shrinks her confidence even more.

We can’t fake…

  • Proper preparation
  • Intentional self-talk
  • The ability to come back from mistakes (if we don’t have the skills to do so)

These are all things athletes need in order to have real, authentic confidence on the court/field and in life. “Fake it ‘till you make it” is fake confidence. It will fill athletes momentarily, but ultimately will leave them crashing and needing more.

Real confidence comes when athletes have systems in place. They have routines, rituals, and habits that lead to their success so they don’t have to “fake it.” There’s nothing better than being original and true to yourself. That’s pure confidence. 

Quick Fix #4: Google University

You can probably go searching the interweb for advice, tips, tricks, or a youtube video that will help solve a problem. As if the problem is a broken sink, an error in your computer or a wardrobe malfunction. It’s not like that. Your athlete is dealing with internal issues with her confidence and self-esteem. It’s not some household problem that you can easily google a quick fix or watch a youtube tutorial on how to fix it. Your daughter’s mental well-being cannot compare to trivial household problems. 

Like all quick-fixes, this likely won’t work long-term

And, it wastes a lot of time, the “fix” might not work. And you could end up damaging your daughter’s confidence even further. 

Here are the needed keys to cultivating the mindset skills that lead to lasting confidence:

  • Proven skills that build on one another
  • Intentional practice
  • Accountability
  • Just like any other skill that your daughter practices in her sport!

For athletes to develop this long-term confidence, they need to incorporate mindset work just like they incorporate the physical part of the game.

It doesn’t take long – but “quick fixes” can only go so far.

There’s a story that’s a really good analogy of what I’m trying to point out here: 

So I had to buy these basil leaves for the pizza that I’ll be making and at the store they had these pre-cut basil leaves for $2.99. 

And it was a bundle and there was a lot so I’d end up with a lot of leftover basil leaves after the pizza that could go bad in a few days. I thought I could work with that. But then there was this basil plant beside it and it had a lot of leaves. It was for $3.99. So if I bought those little pre-cut basil leaves, I’d have more than enough for my pizza but the rest would likely go bad in a few days. 

Whereas if I got the plant instead, sure I’d get more leaves cuz it has a lot more leaves and there’d be a lot of leftovers, but it won’t die. It would just keep growing and producing more leaves. So that gives me more leaves for the next pizza or for some other recipe that needs basil leaves. There’s so much I can do more with it for only $1 more. There’s hardly any difference between them but one could offer only short-term benefits while the other offers long term. 

Choose the basil plant rather than the pre-cut leaves.

Don’t wait until your athlete is struggling to try to teach mindset skills.

Don’t wait until you need a “quick fix” to realize how important the mental side of the game is.

She needs these skills front-loaded! Which is exactly what we teach in The Elite Competitor Program.

Enrollment for the program opens again at the end of March! Get on the waitlist for exclusive bonuses by going to www.kristinabreanne.com/ecp


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