8 strategies to boost your confidence

In this post, sports psychology expert and best-selling author Jim Afremow, Ph.D. shares more mental toughness secrets used by elite athletes; focusing on the role of confidence with an excerpt from The Champion’s Comeback: How Great Athletes Recover, Reflect, and Reignite.

With confidence you can race at your best when it matters most. Here are eight strategies for boosting your confidence:


Strategy No. 1

Give yourself a mental high five after executing a workout or race as planned.
Positive self-reinforcement is like making a deposit in your confidence account.


Strategy No. 2 

Reflect on your past successes and highlights. This will lead to better running in the future. Replay these magic moments in your mind and feel how good they felt at the time. Later, when you need an extra boost, it will be easier to draw on these feelings.


Strategy No. 3

Remember a particular occasion when you triumphed over a difficult challenge, such as overcoming a poor start during a race or bouncing back from an injury. Write down some of the keys that made this success possible. Memory is the prelude to memorable performances.


Strategy No. 4  

Think about the compliments others have paid you and your abilities. Remember what teammates, friends, coaches, and family members have said about your athletic prowess. They are the ones that know you and what you are capable of.


Strategy No. 5 

Mirror and mimic what your running role models did to become champions.


Strategy No. 6  

Stand in a confident posture—feet apart, chin up, chest out, with a broad smile.


Strategy No. 7  

Repeat this to yourself prior to a competition, “I’m prepared and I trust my training and preparation.”


Strategy No. 8 

During key moments of a competition, command yourself to “Believe in yourself!”


Adapted from The Champion’s Comeback: How Great Athletes Recover, Reflect, and Reignite by Jim Afremow, Ph.D. (Rodale, 2016). 


Check out other Rundamentalists posts by Jim Afremow, PhD:

Interview: Forget 'Win or Lose', think 'win or learn'

Interview: How to optimize your performance on race day

Interview: Legs are ready, is your mind?

"Identify the challenge, prepare yourself to conquer it, and then approach it with confidence...."

Jim Afremow PhD


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