The Sport Information Resource Centre
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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Athletes practice and train to be able to duplicate what they have learned from these sessions come match time. Being instinctive during a game allows for consistency and proper execution. To be able to compete at your best, an athlete’s trust in the skills learned and developed during practice can lead to better performances and build mental toughness.

In team sports, players are united in the pursuit of accomplishing a set of goals. These goals can be team goals, individual goals or goals set by the coaching staff. This creates a situation where every individual has a role to play, and whether big or small it has an effect on the outcome. Accordingly, an athlete who is competent with their play is likely to make the team performance that much greater. Trusting what you have mastered during practice minimizes the controlling tendencies and makes movements automatic. The trust in your mastery of skills enhances accuracy, confidence and complexity of your abilities.

Trusting your ability in competition can lead to:

  • Better decision making as you are less likely to second guess yourself
  • Use of better techniques and better plays to avoid mistakes
  • Taking smart calculated risks and not over analyzing
  • Not thinking too far head or focusing on past mistakes

Trust in your ability to make that last minute catch builds self-confidence and eliminates doubt. But before you can get to make that big catch in an effortless manner, you have to learn it in practice and not during competition. Competition is where you take what you have learned and put it to the test. As you do more repetitions and develop your skills you attain muscle memory. Muscle memory allows you to execute plays without having to overthink about movement.

Trusting the skills you have learned and developed during practices allows for performances to be automatic. Athletes who trust their game are usually the athletes who want the game to be in their hands in tough situations. The trust they have in their skills makes their performance seem effortless.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Curry L, Maniar S. Academic Course for Enhancing Student-Athlete Performance in Sport. Sport Psychologist. September 2004;18(3):297-316.

2. Kruger-Davis M. WHEN I MISS, IS IT SELF DOUBT?. Australian Clay Target Shooting News. August 2013;66(8):18.

3. Moore W, Stevenson J. Understanding Trust in the Performance of Complex Automatic Sport Skills. Sport Psychologist. September 1991;5(3):281-289.

4. Stevenson J, Stephenson P, Hoffman M, Jager T, Vanengen E, Pinter M. Effect of Training for Trust in Putting Performance of Skilled Golfers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. June 2, 2007;2(0):67-85.

5. Stevenson J, Moore B, Brossman M, et al. Effects of Trust Training on Tee and Pitch Shots in Golf. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. June 2, 2007;2(0):47-66.

6. Vieira D, Palmer S. The Coaching Skills Self-Efficacy Scale (CSSES): A validation study among a Portuguese sample. Coaching Psychologist. June 2012;8(1):6-11.



The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.