How to Build Confidence in Lacrosse
Competing at a high level in lacrosse means you are athletic and have good stick skills. However, great lacrosse players possess a crucial and highly underrated characteristic: Confidence in themselves and their teammates. Becoming both physically and mentally stronger will take your game a long way and improve your self-belief. Read up on these confidence-building techniques and then go out and take charge on the field.
Believing in Yourself
One of the main setbacks for inexperienced players, regardless of skill and athleticism, is that they don’t believe in their abilities, especially in pressure situations. As a player, you have to be confident that you’re able to perform at a high level.
Hot Tip: Practice Under Pressure
Practicing while your body and mind are tired is a great way to prepare for pressure situations in a game. Integrate a pre-practice workout that includes weight lifting and cardiovascular activity. Before your next practice, work on your schoolwork and improve your mental fortitude. This routine allows your mind and body to perform under pressure after exhausting activities.
Many players tend to get nervous and tense up in high-pressure situations — they grip the stick tighter and close their eyes as they watch the action unfold. For the most part, players react this way because they doubt their abilities and are scared of making a mistake in a big spot. However, players need to fight their nervousness, relax, and simply enjoy the game. You need to have soft hands to catch the ball, so a tight grip on your stick leads to more dropped passes. Likewise, you need to control your nerves in order to play your best down the stretch.
If you’re on the field in an important game or important situation, your coach obviously believes that you can make big plays and come through when needed. If this is the case, you should be confident in your own abilities and trust that your coach is making the right decision.
Making yourself physically stronger is a great way to play with more confidence.
- Physically dominating your opponents makes you a much more assured player. Shrugging off hits, delivering hard checks, and intimidating opponents can really boost your self-belief.
- In addition to being able to deliver and absorb punishment, gains in strength can help other areas of your game, too. Your shot speed should improve, and your foot speed should also benefit greatly from some weight training.
With a stronger body, you’ll have less to fear on the field, and other players might fear matching up against you. Turning the tables and having other players dread guarding you is the ultimate confidence booster.
Much of your ability to perform comes from proper mental preparation. In order to thrive in big situations, you have to be able to mentally picture yourself prevailing against all odds. Setting goals for yourself prior to a season or game is a great way to be confident and reach the level of success you always envisioned.
Before the season starts, sit down and contemplate what you want to accomplish over the course of the year. Write down your exact goals as specifically as possible. Always think team first, though. Setting goals for your team, and then finding ways you can contribute to those goals, is a great way to build confidence.
Think about the Big Picture
Visualize yourself overcoming your biggest shortcoming, and picture yourself thriving in an area you’re not fully confident in. If you’re an offensive player having trouble getting your shots on cage, imagine ripping a perfect shot past the goalie. Visualize everything about the shooting, not just the ball going in the net. For example:
- Think about your footwork during the shot.
- Focus on how you use your upper body.
- Concentrate on proper shooting form.
- Pick your spot in the goal.
- Shoot the ball directly into that spot.
A great time to practice visualization is during your pre-game or pre-practice stretching. Your body and mind can relax a little during this time, and you can focus what you want to accomplish in the game. Players at various positions should consider the following situations:
- Goalies should visualize making big saves or throwing accurate clearing passes.
- Attackmen should think about making a great dodge that leads to an easy assist or shot on goal.
- Midfielders should contemplate how they face off or play tough defense.
- Defensemen should visualize how they will counter their attackman’s dodges, or picture themselves throwing takeaway checks.
While those aren’t the only situations a player should focus on, they are great building blocks for improving your mental approach and self-confidence. Picture yourself accomplishing greatness and you will be that much more likely to succeed on game day when it counts.
Cool, Calm, Collected, & Confident
Even if you aren’t the most talented player on the field, it never hurts to carry yourself like you’re a star athlete. You shouldn’t be arrogant or cocky, but you should believe that you’re just as capable of scoring the big goal or making the big save as any other player on the field. Improving your physical and mental strength will help you build a ton of confidence, making you a much better player overall.