Ever heard “you’re only as good as your last goal/game/result”, as a way to encourage continued effort i.e. if my last result was a win, then if I want to keep up my success/reputation I need to win again, so I need to keep working hard and practicing and doing those things that helped me to win last time. Potentially quite a helpful phrase then.

However, if your last result was a defeat or just a poor performance, it’s unfortunately all too easy to let your last result disproportionately affect your confidence. If you’ve ever been full of confidence, but had one poor result/performance/game and suddenly your confidence becomes shaky, then maybe it’s your thinking that’s gone wrong, rather your talent, technical skills or your capability. This needn’t be the case! Solid confidence, acquired and built up over a period of time through hard work, past successes and belief in yourself by you or from others, can withstand a negative result or poor performance (a great example is given in Ben Hunt-Davies’ book Will It Make The Boat Go Faster. Ben’s tells the story of the GB men’s rowing eight winning gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. In their heat the crew came second to the Australians, which was not plan A. The guys knew they’d not delivered their best and were determined to put things right in their race off to get to the final, and then in the final itself. And they were able to think like that, rather than capitulate, partly because of the confidence that they’d built up over two previous seasons of increasingly successful rowing).

Everyone has past successes in their lives, caused wholly or partly by them, and these can’t be taken away, so are a great source of ongoing and lasting confidence. Don’t let your confidence be dependent on your last result.