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Helen Davis looks at how you can become a selfconfident athlete

What makes a confident athlete?

Confidence is one of those priceless traits that athletes consistently attribute to their success; but who is the confident athlete? According to research, the confident athlete is the person who thinks about themselves and the action in hand in a different way to those who lack confidence. Confident athletes think they can, and they do – they never give up. Typical characteristics include using positive self-talk, visualising positive images and having positive dreams of success. Confident athletes can imagine themselves winning, performing well, focusing successfully on mastering a task, rather than worrying about performing poorly or the negative consequences of failure. This confidence is no accident, it is usually as a result of particular thinking habits; habits that when consistently practised, enable athletes to use their self-confidence to enhance their performances.


Most dictionary definitions of confidence will include phrases such as “a belief in one’s powers” or a “state of assurance”. There are a few related concepts to self-confidence that are important to mention: optimism and self-efficacy. Optimism is defined as a tendency to expect the best possible outcome – this is an athlete with a propensity to look for opportunities to score, to win, to excel, regardless of the circumstances. Self-efficacy refers to the conviction that one can successfully execute the specific behaviour required to produce the desired outcome. Taken together, confidence, optimism and selfefficacy make up the “I can do it” belief; a belief vital for sporting success.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Meeting our readers at events and swims over the summer, I have been struck by how you are never too old (or young) to have a swimming adventure. I hope that the inspiring stories between these covers inspire you to take on your own swimming challenges. In this issue we look at how you can improve your pacing by taking your training outside, long-term contributor Terry Laughlin writes powerfully about how he has kept swimming through his cancer treatment, we meet ultra swimming legend Jaimie Monahan and Becky Horsbrugh’s 80-year-old mum proves that it is never too late to take to the open water. Plus, a new wildlife column, nutrition, training, wild swimming and swimrun wetsuits and event reviews. It’s another bumper issue! Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming. Jonathan Cowie Editor
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