The best tennis players of our sport look and act extremely self-confident, but we forget that it might be completely different under the surface. They are also experiencing uncertainty and doubt. Tennis is an odd sport. Some days, you feel like you can’t miss the ball even if you tried to, and other days you doubt if you can even hit the opponent’s half.
14-time Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal has been very outspoken earlier this year about his lack of self-confidence. He has not experienced the feeling of self-confidence despite the fact that he will go down in the history books as one of the best players the world has ever seen.
So if you sometimes get the thought that you are the only one struggling with confidence, remember that even the best players in the world struggle. The difference is in how you handle it. The professional players understand that it is possible to win several matches before the feeling of self-confidence will come back.
It is also important to remember that having high self-confidence doesn’t always lead to good performances.
There is a very fine line between having high self-confidence and having too big of an ego. If you are having too big of an ego, it often leads to not preparing well enough, or you might get a little bit too cocky in the way that you are going about your performance.
Therefore, we need to redefine our understanding of self-confidence. It is in the way you practice. It is in the way you prepare. It is your willingness to follow your gameplan no matter what thoughts and emotions you will experience during a match.
We need to remember that the act of self-confidence comes before the feeling. The feeling of self-confidence often arrives after a good performance. Not always, but often times. So the feeling of self-confidence is more like a bonus.
When Rafael Nadal talks about his lack of self-confidence, there is absolutely no doubt that he is talking about the feeling of self-confidence. Rafa knows that he can’t control the feeling, but everything that is in his own control in the preparation before matches will be taken care of with an extreme attention to detail.
The acts of self-confidence are all the things that you can control in your preparation before match. It is how you eat, how you sleep and the game plan that you will make together with your coach.
You do not need to have high self-confidence in order to have the opportunity to perform well. It helps, but it is not a necessity. Remember that the important thing is to act self-confidently. The act of self-confidence comes before the feeling.