The Power of Confidence

Confidence is often easier to recognize than to define

By Jeff Epperly

One thing I love to look for when I attend a sporting event is confidence. There is nothing better than athletes competing and performing when they are confident. And when an entire team plays with confidence, well, that is pure symmetry with a little “awesome sauce” poured on top.

What is confidence? It’s often easier to recognize than to define. But confidence is simply a state of mind that stresses faith in one’s abilities and one’s powers. When we see it, there is a decisiveness and efficiency in movement without hesitation. There is also within the athlete an awareness of the moment and a relaxed mindset free of worry that has an indomitable will to win. 

Sometimes we describe someone playing with a high level of confidence as being “in the zone” or that they are “hot” or that they have a lot of “belief” that they can win. And if a teammate is involved, then together as a team they believe they can do it and are able to play trusting each other and their abilities to perform.

How about those Wolfpack and Wildcats? These two football teams have a lot of belief in each other and in their ability to get it done when it matters. Both teams won big football games this past weekend during crunch time. Columbia Falls beat the top-ranked Dillon Beavers 28-21, and Glacier outlasted the Missoula Sentinel Spartans 63-62 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Having watched these teams play, one thing that stands out is their confidence that they can do whatever it takes to win. So far this year, they are perfect at it.

The Bigfork Vikings football team is also growing in their confidence. A young team with several talented athletes at their skill positions, this bunch continues to improve and will be looking to make a run in the playoffs at the end of this month. In addition, the Eureka Lions are playing with a lot of confidence as they too continue to pile up wins. By the way, Bigfork and Eureka play each other in a couple of weeks. That should be a good one.

What is so interesting about confidence is that it cannot be faked or conjured up. In some respects, it needs to be earned by preparation and continued passion to understand the game. When it is not genuine confidence, it turns into conceit and arrogance that can turn back on you and undermine your performance. In this way, there must an honest evaluation of one’s abilities so that confidence can be legitimate.

The recent cross-town volleyball match between Glacier and Flathead was a great example. The girls from Glacier were able to rise to the occasion against a young, energetic Flathead team. Nikki Krueger was awesome in her performance, and just from watching her, you could tell that she was going to lead her team and make plays when her team needed it. There are so many momentum changes in a competitive volleyball match that it often turns into a game of persistence and fortitude to simply outlast the other team. Good teams are next-play teams and maintain their focus on the next point. Having a teammate like Nikki gave the Wolfpack confidence, and it was great to watch in such a crazy-fun atmosphere at Flathead High School.

Yes, when I go to games, I go looking for confidence. It is amazing when teams and individuals have it.  It is why we watch and what every team hopes to have when they enter the arena of competition.

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