• Michael Patterson

Building Confidence


The degree of certainty that you have about your ability to be successful in rugby. It can be general such as helping your team win games or it can be specific and refer to your ability to be successful in performing a task like tackling for example.


Confidence that is greater than actual ability should be termed false confidence.. not overconfidence. A rugby player or team with false confidence can experience a variety of undesirable consequences.


Yes, being confident in your rugby ability is important for a number of reasons.

  1. Performance – people who are more confident will perform better.

  2. Emotions – confident players are able to remain confident and relaxed under pressurized situations.

  3. Concentration – confident players can clear heir mind of worries about their performance which allows them to concentrate on what they are doing.

  4. Goals – confident athletes set challenging goals and are more relentless in their pursuit of them.

  5. Strategies – most confident players have a play-to-win attitude.

  6. Momentum – confident players are able to reverse negative momentum by having a never-give-up attitude.

So.. where do you find this confidence?


  1. MASTERY – developing and improving your skills.

  2. ABILITY – demonstrating your ability by outperforming your opponents or teammates.

  3. PREPARATION – being prepared mentally and physically.

  4. SELF-PRESENTATION – feeling good about yourself, your body, your appearance, your fitness etc.

  5. SOCIAL SUPPORT – receiving encouragement from people around you in and out of rugby.

  6. LEADERSHIP – having faith in the leadership ability of the coaches and their decisions.

  7. OTHER PLAYERS – seeing other players of similar abilities to yours performing successfully in matches or practices.

  8. ENVIRONMENT – feeling comfortable in your club, school or with your teammates.

  9. SITUATION – seeing breaks in matches going your way and having a feeling everthing is going to be alright.

Now that you know where confidence can come from, how do you improve your own confidence?


Building your confidence will take time. The following is a list of recommendations on how you can work to improve your confidence.

  1. Hard Work – don’t take any shortcuts in your training and preparation for matches. Earn the right to be confident through hard work.

  2. Be Realistic About Success – every player measures success differently. Make sure what you consider successful is achievable. For example, deciding that you must be able to kick a 40 metre drop goal is a goal, you are going to be sorely disappointed as this is likely not achievable at your age/level.

  3. Focus on Improvement – have belief in your ability to get better at rugby. Don’t judge yourself in relation to how other players are doing. Focus on areas in the game in which you have improved and areas of the game in which you want to improve.

  4. Develop Persistence – regularly carry out position specific practice in which you focus on specific elements of your game. Developing these skills will set you apart from other players playing your position. Ensure you enter each practice session with something you want to improve.

  5. Mental Preparation – plan what you want to happen and imagine yourself being successful. Think about what could go wrong and how you will positively respond to it.

  6. Self-Acceptance – do not be too critical of yourself. Remember you will always have another chance.

  7. Physical Self-Presentation – always display a confident demeanor regardless of any mistakes that you make. Never reveal to an opponent that mistakes might affect your confidence. Walk with purpose during breaks in the game. Keep your shoulders back which forces your chest and torso out. Posture demonstrates power and confidence. Always look straight ahead and not down. Keep your chin up. Communicate clearly with teammates at a normal volume and use positive sentiments when communicating with your teammates and when you self-talk, never negative.