"Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Self-confidence is having confidence in oneself”
It's the biggest game of the season; it's the cup final. You’re going into this game as favourites. Your relaxed maybe a little too relaxed. You warm up before the game. You are constantly looking over your shoulder. Watching and analysing the opposition. They warm up like an army preparing for invasion. They are together, always. They are focused. Their faces can only be compared to Spartan warriors before battle. They are determined, determined to give all and everything for the win. Your head drops. Thoughts of doubt start to enter your mind. You question your own ability. Am I good enough? The opposition now stand in pairs 5 yards apart! All you hear is the repeated bang of their war drums. A blur as the ball moves from stick to stick. Their passing, hard and accurate. You start to feel under prepared. The opposition’s war beat gets quicker and louder. Bang bang bang bang bang. It's intimidating. You feel insecure. You turn to your captain and say. "This Sale team look really up for it!"
Confidence is now depleted from the opposition. We can see them start to miss passes. They miss time shots. It's falling apart. We have won the first battle. The most important battle. The psychological battle is ours. 1-0 Sale.
Confidence is a massive part of life as a whole. You need it as much as your lungs need oxygen. It's integral for success. Without confidence you doubt yourself. You find it hard to perform. You make excuses. You shy away and hide behind mistakes maybe blaming other people for them. You start to feel nothing is ever going right. You focus solely on what going wrong. Your Self esteem starts to disintegrate. You lose faith in yourself.
This person I'm describing above was me. I remember a wise person once telling me. “David stop it. Why do you do this to yourself? You are better than that. "
It took me a few days maybe a week to realise. But I did! These wise words are right. I am better than that. I have the potential to be even better. I am the best at what I do.
These thoughts of belief then hit me. I started to believe in me. I believe in what I do. But most importantly, I started to focus on what I can do. Hear that guys "can". Not "can't"! Its makes me laugh when I look back on the last year. But the experience I gained from it is crucial. It's all about self belief. The confidence in yourself. Trust in yourself. This feeling I have right now reminds of when I was younger. It makes me feel younger.
It's been a while reminiscing...but here we go.
I was 20 years old. I was asked and recruited for Team Legless for the 2005 Sale tournament. I couldn't turn this down. This year was an important one for me.
Lets jump forward slightly. So we were in the final of the tournament. We were actually playing quite well. It was a day of hard play and hard drinking. For me I was sober. I didn't really drink much back then. I was on the sidelines and I was stood next to T and Savs. We were drawing 1-1 in extra time against Leyland Foxes. The whistle went and extra time was over. T got us all round and starting organising flick takers, no one really putting them self forward.....I piped up...
"I'll take one... I'll go first."
Okay!!! To put this into perspective, I had at this point never seen a penalty flick never mind taken one. There was a look of shock from some players. Who is this quiet guy volunteering to take a flick, but not just a flick? The first Flick!
T and Savs turned to me and acknowledged the request.
“Okay let Dave go first."
We were all huddles together. Words were directed at me, but I couldn't hear anything I was zoned out. My mind was all over the place. What have I just done? I was shaking slightly I was nervous beyond belief. My family were in the crowd...other teams were cheering and jeering. I picked up the ball in my left hand. I almost dropped it I was so shaky. With my stick in my right hand and the ball trying to escape my left, I walked towards the D. As I moved closer the keeper just kept getting bigger. This guy was huge. I felt like a small child trying to make his way past the big show. I stopped at the penalty spot. I dropped the ball on the spot. It wouldn't stay still. I fumbled with it to get it to stay put. I looked around at my team, they were all cheering me. I looked at the crowd. I didn't know what to focus my eyes, or my thoughts. I closed my eyes and In that instance everything went quiet. All I could hear now was my breathing and my heart racing. I started to focus. I focused on what this day was about and how much winning this trophy meant personally to me and my family. I didn't feel any pressure. I felt this was my duty to deliver. It was inevitable. My breathing slowed to a complete stop. My heart followed. I was composed. I had belief. I was confident. I smiled and with that smile I opened my eyes. I set myself, raised my head. I looked dead into the keepers eyes, staring him out. He looked away. The whistle went. I took a deep breath and flicked the ball. As the ball left my stick the whole world slowed down. The ball moved in the air so slowly I could see each and every imperfection. Then fast forward. Swoosh the ball hit the bottom left of the netting just above the back board. Inch perfect. I was already fist pumping the air before I realised it had gone in. I just knew it. I saw it. I believed in my ability. I trusted I would deliver and I duly did. From that I believed I inspired confidence in the rest of the team. We went on and won. I was proud. I was happy. We won my Gran’s trophy. This was a big moment. :)
I want to finish on a few things. Confidence is found in many different things. It builds up and drives a person forward. It gives them belief, the ability to never doubt themselves. Each individual looks for confidence differently. Personally for me it takes moments of inspiration to get me up for it. Be it, an outstanding tackle by Nick, a Full stretched diving stick save from H, a blinding run by Goldsie, a rocket of a shot by Danny, a defence splitting pass from Mark, the strength Lyndon shows on the ball or an inspirational team talk from Rob. I believe in this team, I believe we are the best. I believe we can win against anyone. I believe in us, I believe in me.
“To be a great champion you have to believe you are the best...And if you are not, Pretend “- Muhammad Ali
Oh and George thanks for the shout outs. This one is for you!