The power of confidence

Confidence = goals, says Millwall's all-time leading goalscorer Neil Harris and sports psychologist Andy Brownrigg

From the Premier League’s deadliest hitmen to a Sunday League goal poacher, one thing inspires them all to ripple the net: Confidence.

More after the break

Confidence does for goalscorers, what spinach does for Popeye.

“Everyone knows goalscorers thrive on goals, they take confidence from it and when it dries up it affects them,” said former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson of his misfiring striker Fernando Torres.

Millwall’s number nine Neil Harris has been in the business of plundering goals for 14 years.

Wearing the blue and white of Millwall, the veteran striker has scored more than 120 goals, making him the Lions all-time record goalscorer.

FourFourTwo Performance caught up with The New Den’s Lion King to find out just what fuels his goalscoring knack at the tender age of 33-year-old.

And sports psychologist Andy Brownrigg lays down some foundations on how to build your self-confidence.

Look the part

Andy: If you act confident, you will feel confident. Try to sustain a confident pose no matter what is happening to you in the game. Many performances have been won through confidence alone, and many have been lost due to a lack of it.

Neil: Body language is crucial. If you look like a confident player, you, your team-mates and supporters will have more confidence in your performance. Just doing little things like giving your team-mate a high five shows that the whole team is together and feeling confident. You need to show your team, the other team and the fans that you are together as a team.

Have faith in your ability

Andy: If you think you can, you are probably right, if you think you can’t you’re also right. Discard all negative thoughts to ensure a high level of confidence by replacing inner thoughts of negativity with thoughts of confidence like ‘I can beat this person.’ Your thoughts should always be motivational as opposed to judgemental.

Neil: Having a positive mindset is huge. If you don’t have faith in your own ability or back yourself, nobody will. You have to be positive when you run out onto the pitch. It’s also important to think positively on the training pitch as this rubs off on your performances. I’m always telling myself ‘the ball will come my way and when it does I will score.’

Preparation fuels confidence

Andy: Being in good physical condition is a key component for feeling confident.  Good training and proper nutritional habits can give you the belief needed to maintain performance at the highest possible level.

Neil: Every individual is different. Some players will lift weights the day before a game to feel or look stronger. Others will change their diet. As long as you eat the right things and look after yourself, there is no reason why you shouldn’t feel confident come the big day.

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