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Confidence is a Choice!

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Mindset Made Simple Tip #98 –Watch or listen HERE.

Check out the links below to register for one or both of the FREE workshops I am offering this summer along with a 4-week workshop for your players who could use a mental game tune-up!

It was Game 8 in the Women’s College World Series.

This was a winner’s bracket game, but every win REALLY matters at this stage.

The Florida Gators are down a few runs against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls. Florida’s Coach Walton lifts a starter for a pinch hitter…the old righty vs. lefty move…to give his team every advantage possible.

BUT, looking at the stats, I am sure there were parents in the stands with much better ideas!

The pinch hitter who entered the game was 1 for 12. WHAT? She was hitting .083 in pinch-hit situations?? What kind of move is this?

I know better than to question the coach who watches practice every day and knows the mentality of his players, but I am sure there were a few in the stands and a few thousand watching from the comfort of their homes who were thinking “REALLY?”

This is a great testament to the fact that you earn your playing time in practice, not in games!! (I hope every player reading this hears this loud and clear!!) If I had a penny for every time I have heard “she never gets a chance to show what she can do!” She gets a chance every day she walks on the practice field…and those reps and opportunities add up!

This substitution did not intrigue me because of the stats, the pitching match-up, or the game situation.

It intrigued me because this kid…who, when looking at statistics and by all outside measurements, had not been successful this season (and she hit .167 last season)…got a 2 strike hit!


Physically, she battled and found a good pitch to hit. It seems so simple to those of us not in the batter's box!

My question is, how did she do it mentally?

How did she circumvent her innate negativity bias? How did she walk to the plate and leave her 1 for 12 record behind? How did she step up when her team needed her even though everything else said she had a very small chance of being successful?

She made Coach Walton look like a genius!

All of us put kids in very similar situations. Maybe we have been in this situation ourselves.

We haven’t been successful according to standard measurement, BUT we have put in the work, have found success in other ways and know we can physically complete the task ahead of us.

I am sure this kid knew she could hit the ball. It just hadn’t been her time…YET!

So often, our propensity to dwell on what has gone wrong in the past and our inability to shut out the outside world, including expectations and all of the “what ifs” keep us from succeeding in these situations.

Thinking like this saps our confidence!

How can we be confident with a 1 for 12 success rate and a previous .167 average?

If I had to guess, this young woman, called upon to help her team win and advance has an optimistic outlook on life. Maybe that is why her coach called on her. As Kay and Shipman state in The Confidence Code, “Optimism is the sense that everything will work out.”

But optimism without action is not enough!

Kay and Shipman go on to say that while optimism allows us to believe that everything will work out, confidence is that voice inside of us that says “I can make this thing work.”

We have a choice when we face tasks that we have prepared for but have not yet found great success in.

We can worry or we can visualize. We can count all that has gone wrong, or we can focus on all that has gone right. We can come to terms with the fact that everything will work out...if we can focus on things that help thing work out!

It takes discipline of thought, discipline of feeling and discipline of action.

Confidence is a choice we can all make!

A choice?

Yes! We get to decide how we interpret our successes and failures. We are going to fail! Kay and Shipman contend that failure is “the most critical partner to confidence.”

They say we need to fail over and over so that “it becomes a part of our DNA.”

But if we fail over and over, how in the world will we have the confidence to perform?

We keep trying. We keep working. We keep learning and we control the stories we tell ourselves!

The stories we tell ourselves about our “failures”…the 11 times we didn’t get the pinch hit...make a difference in how we approach pinch hit #14.

To get where we are, even when we face set backs, there are undoubtedly success stories that we can recount.

This is where our highlight reel comes in. Take the time to make a list of your personal top 10 ESPN successes. Write down every detail about what you were thinking, how you felt, your approach, the environment, what others around you were doing and any other significant detail.

RELIVE THEM. Relive them when you are feeling good. Relive them when you need to remember your competencies. Relive them to remind yourself that YOU CAN MAKE THINGS WORK!

You can choose to VISUALIZE what you want instead of worrying about what you don’t want!

We can also choose confidence by measuring our successes by effort and improvement…things we have control over… rather than an outcome we don’t control!

We control our effort. We chose to do things to improve. We don’t control whether the ball is caught, even after the best contact.

In this way, confidence is a choice. We either move forward or we stay stuck in things we can’t control!

Take time to WRITE DOWN 3 THINGS THAT PROVE YOU ARE MOVING FORWARD, getting better or becoming the player or leader you strive to be.

Keeping our successes, both the highlights of our performances and the daily grind work we put in, serve as small deposits in our confidence bank. These memories become our default way of thinking when the pressure is on.

But like everything else, we need to train ourselves to relive and record these experiences. We must make our thoughts work for us.

The more we train ourselves to focus on what we have done well, when we start to slide down the slippery slope of negativity and self-doubt, our new default is our list of achievements and successes!

This is choosing confidence. And it appears that the pinch hitter decided that she could make things work…and she did!

Now she has a new highlight for her reel!

Make that reel, write those lists, manage the moments and have a great week.. and register now for the upcoming workshops (links below).


P.S. Please remember to share the links below with your athletes and colleagues.

June 15 @ 11:00 am EST - Focus and Peak Performance FREE workshop for coaches/leaders – Click HERE

July 12 @ 12:00 pm EST – It Starts with You, Coach! FREE workshop for coaches and leaders – Click HERE

Starting June 8 @ 12:00 pm EST - SSB College Athlete Summer Virtual Mental Performance Program – Daytime – Click HERE

Starting June 9 @ 9:00 pm EST - SSB College Athlete Summer Virtual Mental Performance Program – Daytime – Click HERE

Julie Jones

Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946

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