Category: Public life articles


Source of the article: Ami nélkül Szoboszlai Dominiknak sem menne: önbizalom a sportban –

Confidence does not grow on trees like apples. It is the result of conscious effort"..

This quote comes from one of my dear to my heart teachers. And she was right. Indeed, it's not an inborn gift, an athlete needs to work on his self-confidence every day.

The three internal factors of self-confidence

Self-confidence has many internal factors to consider. Yet there are three essential aspects that are fundamental. These include confidence in physical ability and fitness, so "conscious training has its results". It has a special role when the player is out of shape and needs to be aware of what he is capable of physically and the training work he has put in will always pay off in the long run.

On the other hand, it also includes confidence in cognitive efficiency: "I can achieve my target, I can do it.". The"Big target" set small goals to achieve, so that the results achieved in the individual stages will boost the player's confidence and provide motivation for further tasks.

Thirdly, the belief in coping with difficulties is also an important factor, according to which "learning from difficulties becomes strengths". Years of endurance and effort in sport, including regular training and coping with difficulties, reinforce the feeling that "I can cope with the challenges ahead". Constructive criticism and learning from mistakes promotes personal development and optimal self-confidence. 

The athlete needs to recognise and accept his or her strengths and values. If he sees his mistakes as an opportunity for improvement during the more difficult periods, he will also focus on his positive self-esteem. But the question may arise: what is the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem? What is the relationship between the two concepts?

The relationship between self-confidence and self-esteem

It is necessary to differentiate between self-esteem and self-confidence, although the two concepts are related. Self-esteem is a more stable factor, including our strengths, areas to improve, human values, while self-confidence is more situational. So, like performance, self-confidence depends on the situation, fluctuating as a natural phenomenon. 

Let's see an example. A player is full of confidence under the leadership of his current coach and performs excellently. Over time, however, the team's performance decreases and the coach is fired from the club. With the new coach, the athlete has less sympathy, receives less positive feedback, becomes uncertain of his/her own abilities, and his/her performance decreases compared to before. If he has a positive self-assessment, he can accept that the situation makes him play worse than he does and that he is actually more qualified. I would add that in many cases, this requires the involvement of a sports psychologist.

If his or her self-esteem is low, he or she will discount his or her own knowledge instead of consciously analysing the situation, and his or her self-confidence will be reduced. Think about it, what you have been able to do for a long time, you already have the ability to do, so you can do it again and again!

External components of self-confidence

In addition to internal factors, a number of external environmental conditions can also be considered as relevant. 

This includes a realistic level of competition, or even the right sporting equipment, as well as the team's performance and its future perspective. For example, in a team where the athletes have ambitious plans but their skills are not in balance, the team's performance is probably going to be a disappointment and this will have a negative impact on the team members' self-confidence.

However, in my work, I experience that a supportive environment is the best way for a player to cope with challenges and keep his confidence stable on and off the pitch. Positive feedback and support from family, coaches, teammates and other communities play an essential role in keeping self-confidence at optimal levels. Emotional support, honest interest and well-timed positive feedback from those close to you is worth its weight in gold!

The presence of communities outside sport is also interesting. During my career I have had teammates who played guitar in a band, others who went on organised forest tours, and players can be part of a community while studying at university. From this perspective "has several legs" the athlete and emotional support comes from several directions, which speeds up the process of optimising self-confidence during difficult times.

The confidence of the team

In parallel to the athlete's individual self-confidence, we can also talk about team self-confidence. This is the belief of all the members of a group in the team's ability to perform successfully and achieve common goals. This type of self-confidence plays an important role in the quality and effectiveness of teamwork. Usually, teams with stable self-confidence are backed up by supportive coaches, supporters and management, dealing with successes as well as failures at team level.

Each player has a defined role and responsibility for the success of the team by default. When an athlete successfully completes the responsibilities assigned to him/her on the interests of the team, his/her self-confidence increases, which has a positive effect on "emotional infection" the confidence of the team. However, this requires clear obligations and expectations from the coaching side and from the club's management in terms of role efficiency. 

It is often the case that the team is productive and efficient, with members performing at a high level. However, realistic self-assessment and optimal self-confidence are also essential aspects of managing success. When team members believe that even "beans are meat" and efforts are enough, they do less and less to achieve the current target. This can lead to unpleasant surprises in individual and team sporting performance.

The team's self-confidence is also positively related to its cohesion. This is facilitated by the type of coaching attitude that does not primarily encourage better performance through criticism and competition between team members, but motivates players by focusing on the measurable improvement of the team and individual in relation to themselves and by encouraging each other.


As legendary basketball coach John Wooden said earlier: "Do not let what you cannot do impact what you can achieve". Developing a positive self-esteem and keeping self-confidence at an optimal level is a life long process, and the athlete needs to work on it both mentally and physically. Sport psychologists can support athletes in choosing and applying suitable strategies and techniques to maximise their sporting performance. 

I often hear it said that competitive sport is not healthy. I prefer to look at this from the point of view of what competitive sport can bring in a positive way. The values of commitment, dedication, endurance, focus and personal development that are built up over the years can be used not only on the field of play but also in other areas of life at the end of a career. In this way, years spent in competitive sport can also provide positive self-esteem and optimal self-confidence in civil life.

The authors of the article are Levente Szántai and Attila Szikora

Filed under: Public life articles



Source: A kiégést észre kell venni, különben nagy baj lehet –


Burnout in sport

Burnout is a common issue that affects many athletes, but is often discussed as a taboo subject. Burnout is a condition that happens when someone is exposed to long-term stress. And they can no longer cope on their own. Take the case of a young footballer who is showing symptoms of burnout. His coach reacts like this: "Don't you want to go to the training?!". Or "You are not committed enough!". Overtraining, overload, injuries and the pressures of competitive sport are common stress factors. If these symptoms appear, it is important that the athlete takes a break in time. It is necessary to rest and to find out what is causing the stress with the help of a professional.

This article explores the problem of burnout from a player's perspective. But it is equally relevant for coaches, club managers, parents and all people involved in sport. It can help us to become more sensitive to the signs of burnout in our environment.

Reasons for burnout in athletes

There are many reasons why athletes burn out, one of the most common being the lack of positive feedback and reinforcement. As a result, the player becomes dissatisfied with his situation and his self-confidence decreases. Coaches often try to achieve success with their players through inadequate communication. This can result in burnout and, in extreme cases, retirement from the sport. It can also lead to the leaving of a team-mate who has been a support in the player's life. The lack of a partner can have a negative effect on his motivation. Positive reinforcement can therefore be asked for and received by the player from someone other than his coach, someone who is credible to him, as a coping strategy. It is also useful to give positive feedback to yourself when you have done something well according to your own expectations.

The next reason for burnout can be monotony, overwork and, at the same time, lack of rest. Basically, it is the responsibility of the professional staff working alongside the coaches to prepare the players adequately for their current match. However, the sports psychologist can also be a warning system, recognising the signs of overwork. The chance of being selected for the team usually makes players present themselves as tough and tireless, which is not an honest communication to the coach. Therefore, a sports psychologist can play an important role in recognising overwork and, in consultation with the player, can report it to his coach. Signs of overwork include fatigue, mood swings, loss of motivation, loss of appetite, frequent illnesses and injuries, sleep problems, stagnant or decreasing performance. As well as the already mentioned decreased self-confidence.

Other reasons may be too high expectations of the player, too difficult or unrealistic goals A good example of this is a case I had with a youth footballer. Under pressure from his parents, he was selected for a very strong secondary school after finishing his primary education. As it was important for the family to continue high level studies, they wanted to motivate their child by saying that if he did not get at least a 4 average in his semester, he could temporarily give up football. However, for the player, football was the first priority, so the training sessions meant that he was unable to fulfil the academic requirements. Finally, by discussing the situation with the parents, the young player's burnout was prevented.

The burnout process

The burnout process can be divided into five stages. If the athlete is intervened in one of the first four stages, a complete burnout can be prevented.

In the idealism stage, the player throws himself into training with great enthusiasm. He often sets himself unrealistic goals. In my experience, this is very typical during the pre-season, when a player is new to a team. In such cases, the player wants to show that he has more potential than his performance in the previous season. That's fine, it's about setting realistic goals. And to achieve them step by step, the right strategy must be defined.

The realism stage the player realises his own abilities, potential and limitations. It is then that he creates a more realistic image of himself. However, this requires self-awareness, because it can be disappointing if he or she is not able to achieve the goal he or she has planned and desired for so long. A strong network of relationships, family support and consciousness can be important at this stage.

If the player enters a stagnation stage,, his enthusiasm and performance decrease. His interest in training tasks and matches is reduced. This is often perceived by the coach as a lack of commitment on the field. The coach thinks: "I have another player who is more motivated, I'll put him in instead." But this makes the footballer even less motivated and leads to further burnout. This is usually when the player or his coach asks for the help of a sports psychologist. After all, the athlete is no longer performing on the pitch in the way he or she was hired to perform.

In the fourth, frustration stage, the athlete's own expectations no longer match reality, leading to serious frustration. At this point, the player often escapes into training and the compulsion to prove the training work becomes dominant. While his private sphere is reduced, his relationship with his team-mates and coach deteriorates. His private life also suffers. In this case, a longer process of sports psychology is needed, usually combined with a change of club and a process of integration into the new team.

In the apathy stage, apathy and disinterest are the most common symptoms. The player is introverted, depressed, hopeless and lacking in enthusiasm. He does not set new goals for himself for fear of real or perceived defeat. He finds no joy in sport or in his private life. This condition can lead to health problems, mental disorders and injuries. At this stage, the athlete's identity is being questioned and the end of competitive sport is being considered.

Burnout prevention and handling

The well-trained coach manages his or her athlete's strength, looking for methods that result in a diversified workload. He sets realistic goals for his player and focuses on the overall development process. Not just temporary success. He sees the player as a partner and takes his professional ideas and feedback seriously. It is useful to indicate to the player what he was good at during a training session or match. Then discuss what he needs to improve on. Giving clear, concrete instructions, positive criticism and supportive communication are essential to prevent burnout.

Another important aspect is that there should be periods between training sessions and matches when the athlete is allowed the "luxury of rest". When they can do something completely unrelated to their sport. Recharged, they will perform more effectively, which ultimately leads to team success. It is also the athlete's responsibility to consult a sports psychologist if he or she is experiencing symptoms of burnout. They can learn a variety of relaxation techniques to help them cope with tension and relax effectively. During the process of sports psychology, the footballer can focus on himself and develop self-knowledge. He learns to recognise, accept and take seriously the signals of his body.

All in all, the balance between skills, challenges, private life and sport is an essential factor in preventing burnout. In my work, I have noticed that athletes are nowadays less and less secretive about the fact that they consult a sports psychologist. Realistic self-assessment involves recognising that they need professional support to protect and develop their mental health.

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