Sport is just like life, it's filled with up and downs. There are times when you just can't lose and other times when the luck just always seems to go the other way. Life can be especially tough when we are dealing with challenges that are out of our control. Now here's where my story comes in.
For the best part of 2013, I have been struggling with a back injury. Now, I've dealt with a lot of injuries, countless actually. But this one was quite devastating as it took away the biggest weapon and the life of my game, my serve. Coming back from this injury has been one of the biggest challenges of my career. I was shocked to see how much it affected my confidence. What I quickly found was recovering confidence can be tricky. I have made a set of rules that helped me along the way. It came through trial-and-error and a handful of somewhat tragic losses. Thankfully, my losses weren't in vain; they paved the way to self-reflection and some mind-blowing insights. As they say, "the only tragedy in losing or failing is not learning from it".
If you're lacking confidence, try these steps to regain it. It worked for me!
Competing is when you leave it all on the court, so to speak. You come out and give it your all even if you aren't at your best, strongest or most confident. Many times it’s the best effort and the most hustle that wins, not the better player.
Leave fear at the door.
Don't bring fear in, it's evil and will just stop you. Conquer fear by accepting that you may have to allow yourself to be put in some uncomfortable positions, perhaps even over and over again. It's not easy and you may not succeed the first time around, but if you keep at it, learn, and adjust to your mistakes along the way, you will eventually come out the conqueror.
Visualizing what you want to achieve is most effective. Reflect on what parts of your life need change so you can to get to where you want to be. Evaluate your mistakes and how you can improve them. Visualize the behaviors you want and the end results. Seeing yourself there in your head makes it a reality in life. Post pictures on your Pinterest boards and on your fridge of sayings and photos so you can help yourself visualize.
Believe in you!
Take a chance to believe in yourself. Never bet against you! Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it, so to speak. Act, speak, think and behave in a way that speaks to self-belief. Any self-belief that is lacking will soon catch up if you walk the walk.
Surround yourself with positivity and support.
It's hard to get anywhere without a support team. Build a team of cheerleaders who encourage you when you are down. Personally for me, my family and team encouraged me even when I could not see progress. That kept my spirits lifted and allowed me to continue to stay strong. In a world filled with people who are going to say you can’t, why not build a team that says "yes you can"!
Preparation is crucial. Whatever you are trying to achieve takes work. Even being a couch potato takes hours and hours of sitting around in order to be good at it. To successfully build back your confidence, work has to be done and it has to be done right. In my case, hours on the court and gym. Paying the price and taking time to prepare builds confidence in itself and is never time wasted. If you're not willing to do the work, well stop reading right here! If you are, then you are more than welcome to continue on to point 7.
Get back up
Along the way of coming back from challenges, you may fall. Don't worry about it. Get right back up. Keep chugging, keep fighting, and don’t stay down. Being on the ground is not the place to be, it's dirty down there. Fall down 9 times, get back up 10.
Someone else has it worse
Just when you think you've had enough, and you're thinking "woe is me", life is unfair, remember someone else out there has it worse. Be happy that you have a chance to fight another day and don't waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Enjoy the battle.
Enjoy your life!
Take a break from your struggles sometimes to smell the roses. Take some time to do things that you enjoy. It's ok to get your mind off things so you can come back strong and refreshed.
This method is tried and true for me and I am seeing results. I would love to know if this works for you or some of the methods you have used to regain your confidence.
Look good, play well