How much does confidence change your game?
Disclaimer- By no means am I a psychologist or specialist in sports psychology or confidence,
but here is my story.
I was recently listening to a podcast by my new partner, Mandy Close Kavanaugh, called
Inspired by Her. In one particular episode she was interviewing Oregon State Gymnastics
coach, Tanya Chaplin, and she was talking about self talk. Her message about changing the
negative things we say to ourselves into more productive “what can I do differently next time”
commentary really struck a chord with me. I have always considered myself a confident person
but felt the need to earn my confidence by doing and proving.
“I think I can play Division 1 soccer in college” was my self talk.
I wouldn’t let myself actually believe it until I got there.
I broke my foot my senior year in high school which caused me to red shirt my freshman year in
college. Coming back from an injury was something I’d never had to overcome before; I always
had my training, athleticism, and a healthy body to rely on. So, not only was I stepping onto the
collegiate field for the first time, I was also trying to re-train my body to play my sport.
What I wish I knew at the time was my mind and thoughts also needed training. Your inner voice can
lift you up and push you to keep working hard or it can drag you down and convince you that
you can’t do it. For this reason, my first two years were not my best work. I told myself I wasn’t
good enough and I played victim to my injury. I didn’t know how to open up to anyone about my
frustration or feelings so I just kept struggling forward without much passion or confidence.
Eventually, after a coaching change and a lot of self-reflection, I was able to slowly work my way
out of my ‘funk’ and earn my way to being part of the core starting team. I found that I was at my
best when I was having fun and not being overly critical of myself!
My key learnings from reflecting back 25+ years of playing sports:
1. Playing at an elite level is hard enough; don’t make it any harder on yourself.
2. Learn and grow from your mistakes but don’t dwell on them. You need to be your
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Our minds need training too sometimes!
4. If you aren’t finding enjoyment with what you are doing then you won’t find success.
If you have any feelings about trying to play college soccer, please don’t hold yourself back from
learning more. Visit our page or message me for a free consultation!