Self-Esteem vs Self-Confidence

We will talk about building confidence (and self-esteem) in your young athlete soon. For now, it helps to understand the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence.

Self-Esteem is a general feeling about one’s self.

Self-Confidence is a feeling about accomplishing a specific task.

There is overlap between the two, but they are very different concepts.

It’s possible to have an athlete with low self-esteem and high self-confidence. You might see this with athletes that practice well and perform poorly in games.

On the other hand, you can also have athletes that have high self-esteem and low self-confidence. These players are typically the ones that put out a lot of effort during games and aren’t phased by distractions.

Of course you can have low in both and high and both. Also, you can’t just be high or low, as all of these measures of the self are on a continuum.

I think in younger athletes (12 and under), these concepts get muddled because typically the players that put out the most effort excel, so the advantage goes to the players with high(er) self-esteem. Also, you can build the self-confidence of playing in front of crowds, this is achieved through experience.

If you have an young athlete that’s struggling during competition, the solution may not be more practice, they may need to address their self-esteem rather than self-confidence.