Have you ever listened to a coach discuss a sports player’s recent playing performance? It doesn’t matter if the results are good or bad; the coach most often attributes the performance to that player’s current confidence level. Great coaches know that players play up to their potential when they are feeling good about themselves. Isn’t this true in anything we do? To achieve success in any sport, task or activity, we must maintain a high level of personal self-confidence. The martial arts is emerging as a leading activity for developing strong self-confidence. After athletes perform poorly, they practice a little more and hope their problems go away, but most problems, or slumps, can be resolved quickly with mental therapy. Martial arts training teaches mental strength and better focus skills, giving the athlete a better attitude. When athletes become frustrated they often dig an even deeper hole for themselves until finally something positive happens on which they can build. How many times have you seen a quality baseball player go hitless in 20 to 30 at bats, then hit a single that starts a hitting streak? Look, for example, at Luc Robitaille, a superstar hockey player. He was always among the league leaders in goals until a few years ago when he scored only 23. He admits that he was upset because he wasn’t helping his team. The frustration only made him play more poorly. During the off season, he began a martial arts program. “I’ve spent many hours in the gym and meditating. It was good for me. Sometimes you can accomplish things you never thought of,” said Robitaille. When asked how many goals he would score the following year, he replied with a renewed sense of confidence, “I don’t have a number, but I know I’m going to score goals.” In the last three seasons, he has regained his scoring touch and has been successful. As you train towards your martial arts goals, ask yourself what areas of your life have benefited most from your martial arts experience. What skills have you learned that have enabled you to be more successful in other activities? Do you feel more confident when trying new things? It is important to remember that we all go through ups and downs in life. Our goal is for all students to climb up from the valleys more quickly, utilizing the inner strength and confidence the martial arts provides, and reaching the peak in everything they do! Confidence is important for a Black Belt, but you don’t have to wait until you are a Black Belt to develop this life-skill. If you want to know more about how martial arts can help you increase your or your child’s honesty or anything else regarding either our adult or children’s’ programs, please feel free to contact the Ultimate Youth Sports Team.