How successful would you be with Phelps-like Confidence? Michael Phelps is known for having one of the best mental games in the world of swimming. Why do sports-minded people think that Phelps is so mentally strong?
Maybe Phelps is successful because of his ability to come from behind keep a lead better than anyone. Maybe Phelps is so good because he can achieve a zone focus on command under extreme pressure. Maybe Phelps is so successful because he simply thinks he can win every time he gets in the pool.
Likely, it is all of the above! However, what really separates champions, such as Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff, Ian Thorpe, and Grant Hackett, from the rest of the swimming world is unwavering self-confidence.
Phelps has tons of confidence that developed from hours and hours of training, superior coaching, and mucho, mucho past success. But he also thinks in ways that support his confidence.
You may not have the luxury of Phelps-like success to bolster your confidence, but you can get the best coaching and train harder than anyone else in your sport. BUT… training harder and working with the best coaches do not guarantee that you will achieve Phelps-like confidence in sports.
Why do so many swimmers that despite past success, massive amounts of training, and superior coaching, do not develop the confidence to believe fully in their ability?
From my experience working with athletes for almost 20 years as a mental game coach, athletes that lack self-confidence sabotage their own confidence with unrealistic and strict expectations, doubt, and what I call negative self-labels or self-descriptions.
Athletes such as Phelps are able to take control of their confidence and block out the doubts and negative thoughts to perform their best. For example, the morning prior to his record performance in the 400 meter IM, Phelps did not feel at his peak.
“I knew this was going to be the hardest race. I was emotionally dead, almost physically dead and I had to step up. I didn’t feel good this morning, didn’t feel good in warm-up so I tried to block it out and think about what I did in training and use it in the race.”
~Michael Phelps after breaking his world record in the men’s 400 meters individual medley.
At any one time, you either ad to or take down your own level of confidence. Having Phelps-like confidence means that all the practice, training, and coaching you get leads to higher, consistent levels of competitive self-confidence.
Developing a confidence resume is a great way to develop competitive self confidence. A confidence resume is a list of past achievements or facts about your swimming that will add to your confidence on race day. Past success, quality of training, good coaching, qualities of technique are examples of what to list in your confidence resume.
Your goal is to take confidence to the meet and not wait for it to magically appear. One way to do this is to fuel your confidence with your resume prior to getting on the blocks. And make sure you shoot down any last minute doubts!