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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Building Confidence in Young Players

"Confidence comes from proven success." - Bill Parcells

Balance matters. Confidence finds middle ground between doubt and arrogance. Coaching empowers us to build or to destroy confidence. Constantly tearing down or belittling players doesn't inspire and sometimes ruins them. 

Finding ways to support players can empower them and us. 

Understand the power of stories. Abraham Lincoln had a series of personal tragedies, severe depression (Lincoln's melancholy), business failures, and election losses but became an American icon. Lincoln spoke in 1854, "“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

Find the power of physiology. Amy Cuddy discusses power positions, stress hormones, and confidence. Power positions raise testosterone and lower the stress hormone cortisol within a few minutes. "Adopting expansive postures causes people to feel more powerful." Cuddy adds, "fake it until you become it." 

See positives. "Catch people in the act of doing something right." - Pat Riley  People often respond to authentic praise. In The Vision of a Champion, Anson Dorrance opines that female athletes frequently internalize positive feedback. I like to say, "water the flowers." Self-belief can be instilled. "You can never be any better than you think you are."

Get acquainted. People share when we make it comfortable to share. Be willing to ask, "what are you afraid of?" I had a patient who was unhappy with his career and wanted to become an actor. He had nothing tying him to the area. "What's stopping you?" He answered, "my friends say that I'm not good enough." I replied, "I think you need new friends." Better to love a life of dinner theater than to hate being a banker. 

See the possibilities. Punctuation determines Impossible versus I'm possible. Risk taking is hard and exposes us to failure. But "you've got to get off the porch to run with the big dogs." 

Create activities where people can succeed. While "iron sharpens iron", so "a knife slices through butter." Even Usain Bolt once took baby steps. 

Word gets around. We don't always have to praise a player directly to get the message across. When we shine light to a player's confidant or parent, the word may have more credibility and volume than by giving direct feedback. When we praise publicly, in the print media or television, the praise universe burgeons. Dean Smith worked to praise players in the supporting cast who ordinarily received less attention. 

Share the four most powerful words: "I believe in you." 

Lagniappe:

Use similar sets to key different actions. 

"Fence" works best against man-to-man defenses. 

"Fence" with a head tap can expose the middle of a zone. 



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