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How to Boost Your Confidence and Play Like You Are Capable

September 3, 2017



We all know players who are so unrealistic about their skills and successes that the rest of us just have to shake our heads and laugh. No matter what the stats say they are convinced (and constantly try to convince us) that they are the best player on the team or maybe even in the league. These players have never taken a bad shot, thrown a bad pass, or lost their assigned matchup.


What they lack in recognizing the obvious they more than make up for in confidence! However, we also all know players who are much more successful than they realize. Maybe you're one of those players and if you are then this article is definitely for you! First of all, you're not alone.


Most players are much more aware of their weaknesses and strengths than they are of their strengths and successes. From the time we first picked up a ball and started playing our coaches have pretty much left us alone when we did things correctly but boy did they react when we did something wrong.


Play a great game and afterwards we might get a nod and a "Good job," but play a bad game and the stuff hits the fan. Sound familiar? As a result our focus has been centered more on the things we can't do instead of the things we can do.


The truth is that as a player you've had many more successes than failures - if you only know where to look. It's just that many of you don't look at yourself as successes because you, your coach, and your parents have all set the bar pretty high and you might be confusing good with great.


As a result you may think that being successful only means being your team's leading scorer, being named All League, or making a game winning shot. While these are great accomplishments they should not be the only way you measure success.


What about working hard every day in practice? What about grabbing a key rebound in crunch time or making the pass right before the pass that resulted in a big basket? What about drawing the 4th foul on your opponent's leading scorer so he has to leave the game early? I could literally go on and on all night!


Just because it isn't immediately recognized by everyone (or sometimes anyone) doesn't mean it's not important. The crucial thing is that you know!


Why is that so important? Author Jack Canfield calls it the poker chip theory of self confidence. If your self confidence is represented by a small stack of 10 poker chips, it doesn't take many bad or unlucky things to happen before you're stack is gone and you're out of the game. However, if your self confidence is represented by a stack of 1000 chips you can be more aggressive, take more chances, not stress out over a minor setback and stay in the game longer. The key is to get your stack of self confidence chips as high as possible and then keep adding to it.


How do you do that? Well obviously it's an ongoing process but a good place to start is by compiling a simple list of all your current strengths and successes. Write down every success you've ever enjoyed whether it was in a game, during practice, or in an individual workout.


If you've done something well, write it down. The first 25 or so should be easy but after that you might have to really expand your thinking but try to get to 50 or even better 100!

After you have your list look at it at least once a week and anytime you do something successful add it to the list. Remember your goal is to get your stack of confidence chips as high as possible.

Whenever you don't play well look at the list; anytime someone tells you you're not very good, look at the list. Whenever you wonder if you have what it takes to be a player, look at the list.


Let's face it - there's a lot of negativity in the game of basketball. However, no one is going to believe in you if you don't believe in yourself. Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can or can't you're right!"


Making a success list will help remind you that you can!

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