What is athlete self confidence and how can it be fostered?

If you had all the confidence in the world – then imagine what you could do? Imagine what you could achieve. Imagine what you would DO. So why then do some athletes have a higher self confidence than others? Why can some athletes push themselves to exhaustion, to near failure, to the depths.. While others take the other road? Some would say the ‘easier’ road? It all comes down to self belief, and the self confidence that comes with that.

No one would argue that self-confidence is the cornerstone of all great sporting performances. But self confidence is made up from both self belief AND evidence (ie proof). We all have varying levels of self belief, but the level of self belief in athletes can vary widely. So to improve an athletes self confidence, we look at an athletes self belief and marry that up with EVIDENCE so they can improve their self confidence. As soon as you do that – PERFORMANCE will improve.

Self Confidence = Self belief X Evidence

Self belief on it’s own is hard to change. It is an athletes core beliefs, their values, their character. Ultimately it is who they are as a person and how they feel about themselves. This is established from a young age. The environment and early experiences shaped our individual belief systems.

So athletes with strong self belief often require little evidence to create self-confidence. They have an innate belief that they can do anything, achieve anything and can perform when needed. They believe that they can achieve the goal they set out for regardless of what they hear, what others say, and any other obstacles that may be impeeding their way.

Whereas athletes who lack self-belief require more evidence to prove to themselves that they can. They require ‘evidence’ from their preparation, or even past performance to BELIEVE before they actual do perform to their full potential.

I had an athlete who over the last season (maybe longer) starting doubting her ability. She would train consistently, hit great numbers in training, but come race day, was falling short of what she was capable of. She didn’t believe that she could race to a certain level – to a certain power number, or hit a pace target we set. And having those targets were actually causing anxiety around trying to hit them. So to begin with, we took away the expectations, to lower the pressure she put on herself. But that in itself didn’t help. So another change was needed. She needed a shift in her mindset….

So this season she has taken a step back from racing, to take away the pressure, and the feelings that were coming along with that and so in the background, we could work on mindset. So to do this, I started working again on the EVIDENCE for her. Without her necessarily realising, I wanted to create more evidence (proof) for her that she was capable. That she could achieve. So I set about writing a program for her that would allow her to SEE that evidence. We had repeatable, progressing sessions over weeks and months. Ones that she could see and ultimately feel the improvements. I’ve been throwing challenges at her in other ways, including virtual races. But NO expectations. To simply go out and RACE.

Well she had a breakthrough race last weekend: “I’ve got my belief back that I can push myself on the bike… a lot of that comes down to you. Thanks!”

It did not matter at all where she came in the race (although as a side note she came 1st) 😉 what mattered is she believed in her ability. She believed she could push herself. Because the EVIDENCE was there. The numbers, the data – it was all SHOWING her she could. So her CONFIDENCE in her own ability increased to a point here she was able to perform the way I knew she could… 🙂

THIS was a very proud Coach moment. As it was an area of my coaching that I have been developing and working on. Coaching isn’t simply about developing the best training plan, the best periodised programs, or the ultimate individual sessions. Of course, that is all part of the process. But a Coaching environment should be about developing real self confidence. Genuine, resilient self-confidence, which, when pushed (like in a race scenario) can withstand the pain, the pressure and the fatigue of both the training preparation and the race performance. As a Coach, we CAN improve an athletes self confidence, through the high performing culture we foster.

So – as an athlete, if you feel you lack self confidence, maybe you just need to right environment to shift that. Feel free to reach out if you want to learn more..

Racing to PBs, podiums and bigger things !

We had athletes take on a number of races over the past weekend, each with their own goals, their own journeys and their own stories, but one things remain constant. Each athlete took LOTS from their ability to race, and had ‘fun’ pushing their bodies to their physical and mental limits on the day. And that’s what it’s all about ! The results are a bonus!

GEELONG 70.3 IRONMAN
A slightly tougher day on course this year compared to 2020. With a little current in the swim and some nice wind to greet athletes on the bike. But this is what racing is all about. Facing what the day gives us and working our race plans around that. Pre-race chats, and athletes were confident – with a few nerves thrown in for good measure. But athletes can always go in with confidence with sound race plans in place – and this doesn’t mean just focusing on the outcome. This means having a sound PROCESS in place, focusing on your own personal performance – and not that of other competitors, and controlling what you CAN control – your self-control and your own mental discipline. And simply give 100% of what you have on that day. Do this, and you will give yourself the best possible chance to have a well-executed and enjoyable race day. (you can read more on our race day mentality strategies here)

Results:
Trav Hore: 35:33 swim, 2:34 bike, 1:59 run, 5:18:08 overall.
With a 15min PB from this course last year, and 7min PB overall. And a goal of a sub 2hour run. You couldn’t have asked for a better executed race. Trav is well on his way to a good showing at his next Ironman coming up! A strong all round performance and great confidence booster.

Ollie McNulty: 40:39 swim, 3:05 bike, 2:30 run, 6:27:57 overall.
We went in this race with one goal in mind. To have a nice consistent race as part of his training for his first FULL and get some take aways to assist us with the remainder of his IM build. And goal was achieved!

Caroline Houston: 54:08 swim, 3:36 bike, 2:25 run, 7:08 overall. 2nd F65-69
A longer day on course than planned, but in the same token, this race was thrown into the mix only a month or so ago. Why not! We said, with last years races wiped off the calendar, why not race 2 halves within a couple of months. 😉 And although she didn’t want recognition for her 2nd place finish – recognition is being given! Out yourself on the start line, no matter how many in your age group, and you are entitled to bask in your glory! 🙂 Well done C on a positive attitude and your discipline to training and racing as always.

Esther Toh: 36:24 swim, 3:09 bike, 2:24 run, 6:17:46 overall.
What a fantastic video wrap up Esther posted in our private FB group. Goes to show her attitude and outlook on racing. The main message? She ENJOYED racing the Half IM again. She did her first (and only other) HIM in 2013 prior to starting coaching with CPC last year and she didn’t enjoy herself. She didn’t think she would actually do another one again. But alas, here she is, 8 years later. She put in tremendous amount of discipline and work to fit her training around her family and work commitments, and is a testament to ‘getting the job done’. A solid race. WELL DONE.

Darren McKemmish: 38:54 swim, 2:56 bike, 2:01 run, 5:47 overall
Always with a smile, he started and finished in that fashion! Darren went into this as a training race – for bigger fish to fry in the coming months as he prepares for his first Ironman. We set a solid race plan leading in, and our goals were pretty much smack on! A great confidence boosting race, with a solid ‘training race under his belt, as well as some key takeaways that will lead him in good stead over the coming weeks.

CLICK HERE for Geelong 70.3 Race results

2XU TRIATHLON SERIES, RACE 5 STKILDA

Elise Fookes put her runners back on after focusing on cycling for the past few years. Without us preparing specifically for this event, we thought ‘why not’! Go out. Have fun, and enjoying being back out on the start line of a triathlon again! The plan? Letting go of any expectations, and simply racing to feel and for fun! The result? “the half distance I did 3years ago almost felt easier than the sprint!” 😂 We had a great chuckle at this – as short course racing does NOT mean easy racing. Well done Elise for putting yourself out there even when not ‘race ready‘.

BULLA SKY RUN 22KM
A tough 22km trail run from Mt Buller Village, Mt Stirling to Mt Buller Summit and return to Mt Buller Village, covering 1200+mtrs of elevation

Louise Organ: A solid performance with a podium finish! 2nd Female over the 22km distance. Louise summed up her race afterwards: “Pretty brutal climbing up Mt Stirling and Mt Buller. Awful weather the day before, and training with a broken toe foe a month. Ready for a wine and a shower!”. A well deserved break now Lou, great work!


Race Day Mentality

As you start to lead into a key race, it is important to go back and reflect on your training, to review the goals you had written down for your race and how well you have prepared for them. How has your race build gone? Has it gone to plan? How are you feeling about race day?

But at the same time, it is important to remind yourself that goals are OUTCOMES, and as you head into your race, you can actually be better served to focus on the PROCESS when it comes to race day, rather than the outcome (the result).

Regardless of what your race day goals are, your RACE PLAN should be your ultimate focus. Those individual tasks throughout the race that are in your control. That is your plan and focus. If you can keep your focus on these, the outcome will almost always take care of itself.

Your goal – is your desired outcome. What you want to achieve.
Your system/process – is what will get you there.

It is important to be aware of what is going on around you, including your fellow competitors, but at the same time not be distracted from your own effort and strategy. Remember – your race should always be about personal performance, and not the competition. Self-control and your own mental discipline is what you can focus on and what you can control. When you are in control, you will be calmer, have ease of mind, and make better decisions.

So here are some of the areas that you can focus on and work on executing well:

– Race preparation – including the week leading in and the night prior
– Your warm up – allow time and focus
– Your race equipment – be prepared and organised
– Race fueling and hydration plan – and following through with it
– Your pacing and effort – what you have trained for
– Your form and posture – as fatigue kicks in, form can slip, so bring your focus back
– Mental mindset / mental fortitude – how you stay focused, in control and positive, even if things aren’t going to plan

If you give 100% of what you have on that day – how can you loose?

The work has been done to up to this point. All that is left now is show up to your race fresh both physically and mentally, and do as many things as possible in your control; as well as possible and then let the result take care of itself.

So it’s time to get out of your own way. Commit to focus on yourself, and what you can control, and you will give yourself the best possible chance to have a well-executed and enjoyable race day.

The Festive 5 Challenge

The final wrap up to our 2020 build / season / year is our Festive 5 ! 
A take on the well known ‘Rapha Festive 500’, but ours with a twist to help ensure everyone can gain the most from the challenge, and make it applicable to you and your goals. Ultimately the purpose behind the challenge is to add a little focus and a training spike over the Xmas/NY period when a lot of people tend to have some extra time up their sleeves.

THE INSIDE DETAILS: 

Commences: Xmas Eve – Thursday 24 December, 
Concludes: New Years Eve – Thursday 31st December (8 days inclusive)
The Challenge: Complete YOUR challenge over the duration of the 8 festive days, as you see fit. Indoors or out. Poor or OW. Trails or road. You choose!

Here are some challenge options you could take on: 

FESTIVE 500 RIDE CHALLENGE
The Ultimate
:
Ride 500km over the 8 days.
The Consistent:
Ride 50km a day on 5 or more days
The Half:
Ride 250km over the 8 days
The Conservative:
Ride 50min/day over 5 or more days

FESTIVE 50 RUN CHALLENGE
The Ultimate:

Run/walk 50km over the 8 days
The Consistent:
Run/walk 5km/or 50min day on 5 or more days
The Half:
Run/walk 25km over the 8 days

FESTIVE TRI CHALLENGE
Swim/ride/run your way over the 8 days:
The Ultimate: 500km riding, 50km running, 5km (or more) swimming over the 8 days
The Consistent: 50km riding, 5km running, 500m swimming / day on 5 or more days
The Half: 250km riding, 25km running, 2.5km (or more) swimming over the 8 days
The Conservative: 50min riding, 50min of run/walk, 50min swimming on 5 or more days

Or any other alternative that works for you! (and why not make up a name and share with us?!)

Follow along: 
More details will be realised and shared over the coming days and we’ll get the chatter started! 
FACEBOOK: All details, info, chatter and more will be shared in our FB group here
STRAVA: If you are on strava, why not follow us online here

CONFIRM: If you are joining in, and what challenge you are up for, as I will program accordingly and provide some guidance on how to tackle the challenge based on your goals.

Your biggest competition

It can often be the biggest challenge as a Coach, to help an athlete stay concentrated on their journey and not focused on what others are doing. Athletes can easily be lead, or swayed based on what another athlete is doing (or not doing).

Yet they seem to forget that every athlete has a different skill set. Every athlete has a different athletic ability, a different background, a different home life/dynamic and different goals.

By all means use others to push you when your session asks you to be pushed. Use others to help drive you, or stay focused, or help you get out of the bed in the morning. But when YOU need to go easy. Go easy. When YOUR session asks you to focus on YOUR aerobic endurance, focus on that. It is there for YOUR purpose and for YOUR progression.

And so this is why it is so important to not focus on others, but to look inwards. Remind yourself of your goals, your purpose, yourself… ‘Look in the mirror. That’s your competition…’

The key is CONSISTENCY over TIME – what you do in one particular session, or one particular week is not going to make or break your season / key race. BUT what you do week in, week out, CONSISTENLY, with PURPOSE, and PROGRESSION is what will help you get to your best performance potential come race day. And you can only do that when you are training for YOU.

So don’t worry about what others are doing. Don’t worry that you are doing less, or more, or different than them. Because you ARE different…. And that’s the amazing thing about you. 😉

Self Care Sunday

No matter who you are, what you do, what role/s you have in your life, you must take care of yourself – ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’. Rest and self-care are so important for the mind, the body and the soul. Regardless on whether you are an athlete or not.

It is shown, women especially find it difficult to take time for themselves and to prioritise their our own self-care. It often takes an illness, an accident, an injury, burn out or simply ‘cracking’ under the pressure to remind us to give ourselves the time and care we need.

When we are stressed out, self-care is often the first thing we let go of – and I’ve seen it within a number of my athletes, so I can only assume that it is happening more broadly.

During stressful times such as many are currently experiencing, our brains can go into fight-or-flight mode and our perspective narrows. We can be so busy trying to solve problems that we are stuck in a “doing” mode and can become anxious and overwhelmed. And many may not have a ‘go to’ list of self care activities that they can lean on during these times so we simply don’t even go there. And this doesn’t mean you have to go away on a retreat (although how nice would that be right now?!) It can be as simple as taking 10 minutes to yourself – and NO, scrolling on social media doesn’t count!

Here’s a simple list of some ways you can give back to YOU that don’t take much time at all, but the benefits can be wide ranging.

– Focus on sensations around you, sights, smells, sounds… these can help bring you to the present moment
– Go for a walk and breath in fresh air – leave the phone at home / in your pocket!
– Listen to running water / take yourself near water. t is one of the most soothing sounds and the energy from water can be drawn within.
– Take a hot shower / bath and play some relaxing music. Take your time. Don’t rush.
– Get creative, draw, journal, play some music, do a puzzle… These simple activities can bring your focus back.
– Get back to nature, do some gardening, go for a walk or sit and take in the sights, sounds and smell of nature. Nature is so healing.
– Turn the lights AND TV off, light a candle and read a book or listen to a meditation..
– CONNECT with others – it is so important while isolated. Call a friend (txt doesn’t count), facetime, zoom. OR meet at a park, go for a walk with them. Connection is key to our fundamental being.

So remember: self care is not self indulgence, it is self preservation. Take care of yourself – starting today. What will you choose? 🙂