I cannot over emphasis how important confidence is to a player's game. I believe in the quote, "Confidence is everything." Often confidence is the one thing used to describe a player's performance. For example, if a player is struggling people will say, 'he needs to find his confidence' or 'she has lost his confidence.' But if a player is excelling people may say, 'he is just playing so confident right now' or 'you can tell she is a confident player.' But how does a player get confidence?
Confidence is gained by knowing you are mentally and physically ready for the task at hand. There are a lot of things that could be said about the mental aspect of performing under pressure and at a high level but the basic principle comes down to preparation. As coach John Wooden said, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." Before you can take those big shots in a game have you put in the hours and consistent repetitions in the gym working on your shot? Before you make that dribble move on your defender in the game have you performed that move countless times in drill work and during practice? Wanting to take a big shot in a game is not so daunting when you have made that shot thousands of times already in an empty gym preparing for that moment. You'll meet those challenges with a quiet confidence because you are prepared, you knew this moment would come, you've trained with it in mind. Earn the right to excel when your opportunity presents itself.