Every day I get calls from athletes who feel they lack self-confidence. I am currently working with a skier, a swimmer, a bowler, a tennis player, a pitcher, a second baseman, a golf pro, and two football players. All these people are trying to believe in themselves a little more and trying to raise their self-confidence.

Yesterday I received a call from a baseball player who is playing triple for a major league team. He is concerned because he has been on a hitting slump. Plus, he fears his lack of confidence will keep him from reaching the major leagues. Obviously, he’s under significant pressure and, to make matters worse, he’s second-guessing himself.

It is important to understand that players, parents, coaches, and therapists spend a lot of time building confidence in young people. And there are many ways to help people believe in themselves and their physical abilities. I have dozens of them.

Bedtime is a good time of day to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. When you’re ready to go to sleep, you can use this quiet time to empower yourself instead of dwelling on everything that went wrong during the day or worrying about what might go wrong tomorrow.

Before you go to sleep tonight, make a list of seven times in your life when you felt very comfortable and good about yourself. It can include a good grade, a great game, a prize you won, succeeding at something that was difficult, or working hard to master a task or finish a difficult project. One of my patients loved to remember how he felt when he learned to surf. Another like to revisit the best basketball games of him.

One swimmer I worked with liked to go back to her best times and competitions where she hit the wall for the first time at the end of the race.

As you get ready for bed, take a minute to review each of these experiences and accomplishments. When you’re done, just relax, get a good night’s sleep, and maybe dream about some of your goals, your positive accomplishments.

Do this for three weeks. Stacking up your positive memories like this on a daily basis can help you build your confidence.

And the next time you’re out on the field or court, take some of these thoughts with you and see if you begin to feel more relaxed, confident, and focused in this new state of mind.

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