Build Rock Solid Confidence in 9 Steps

You dream about being a top referee. You sleep and wake up with the game, and you are willing to do whatever it takes. Are you confident that you will do a good job? Confident enough to excel? I ask you only because without confidence, you are bound to fail. Maybe you think you are already confident enough. Imagine the game Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich (or Panathinaikos vs. Partizan Beograd) with a couple tens of thousand supporters, millions in front of the tv and huge billions at stake. Still confident? Good.

Confident RefereePlayers, teams and supporters feel that you are not confident enough and eat you alive. And when they start, you just sink into misery, making your self-esteem and confidence disappear.

How can you raise your level of confidence? An easy and powerful technique is on the way with this post, so just keep reading.

You can make the first step believing me that confidence is already inside you. Maybe it’s playing hide-and-seek with you, but it’s already there. You just need to access it, anchor it and fire the anchor any time you need it.

What does salivation do with confidence on the court?

Confident DogDo you know Pavlov’s dogs? The man is a Russian Nobel laureate, Ivan Pavlov, who anchored his dogs by ringing a bell when feeding them. Later, he found that even when no food was delivered only ringing the bell made his dogs salivate. He anchored the sound of the bell to the taste of delicious meal.

Do you remember the scent of your first love? How do you feel when you smell it? The good news is that by eliciting a memory (using only our minds and senses), we make the same imprint on our nervous system as when actually living the experience.

So we just elicit confidence, then anchor it.

You can do it in a couple of easy steps. Feel free to read it before you actually try it. This is the first NLP technique I tried back in 2009 and it was a blast! I just felt totally surefooted and congruent.

The 9 steps to go out there like a lion.

  1. Stand up, close your eyes, and go back in time until a point where you were absolutely confident. It can be any experience. Even shaving your beard perfectly, building a beautiful castle in the sand, or saving someone from drowning into water. It can be a perfect moment on the court as well. Anything. The only important thing is to feel the confidence
  2. Go back there and relive the experience as detailed as possible. See in your mind’s eye what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Be extremely detailed. Take the time here, the more thoroughly you do this, the better your results will be. Keep drilling down to more details until you feel the same confidence you felt back then. Notice your body language, posture and the feeling inside you. Give it a shape, a place in your body, notice the color of the feeling if you want.
  3. Imagine a circle a couple of inches above the floor around you. Imagine yourself standing in that circle with full confidence. Feel the enormous power and the unbreakable belief in yourself. This is your circle of confidence! If you want, you can anchor it more by making a fist, for example. The key in anchoring is to do it right before the feeling reaches its peak.
  4. Take a step back, out of the circle and leave the feeling there. It may seem strange at first, but you can do it. Just leave it there. Look around, count he corners in the room. It means breaking the state. You shouldn’t feel the confidence at this point. It’s in the circle (and in your fist), where you left it.
  5. Imagine the next time you have a game. Make up the moment you enter the court, in your mind. Close your eyes and travel to that moment. Chose something that is before the game and is always there. I use the move when I put on my whistle and step onto the court.
  6. As soon as you start seeing what you will see, fire your anchor. See what you will see when you enter the court, hear what you will hear, and fire it by stepping into the circle and MAKE A FIST! Notice the difference. This step can be fast. Step in as soon as you see the scene and feel the absolute confidence for as long as it feels right.
  7. Iterate. You can repeat steps 6 and 7 a couple of times to anchor it more. The more you do it, the bigger footprint you leave in your nervous system, the better your end result will be.
  8. Break the state (open your eyes, count the corners) and try firing the anchor. Make a fist and notice how you feel. If you anchored it well, you should be able to feel the perfect confidence right there.
  9. Future pace. Imagine your next game and a game more further in the future. See the moment that fires the anchor. How do you feel?

You have three anchors now; making a fist, stepping in the circle and your pre-game moment. Fire any one of them to be in the confident state. Use the circle to strengthen your anchors, especially after bad games.

Actually, it’s much faster to do it than to read and apprehend it for the first time. Feel free to try it for your next game and notice the difference. Remember firing the anchor when you need a confidence boost. Use it often to re-anchor it from time to time. It will last longer.

Your turn!

Try it before you leave a comment or just write about your way! How do you deal with confidence issues on your games? I appreciate your contribution.

About Peter

Peter Papp is an enthusiastic supporter of open-minded referees, international basketball referee (FIBA) and NLP Master Practitioner. Peter is the founder of

  • It takes just one second to break down your confidence. To get your confidence back is a real art!

    • Peter

      I agree Mark, and firing your anchor at the right moment is the ultimate solution 🙂

      • Mark V

        🙂 exactly Peter. Well said. Nevertheless a real challenge altogehter.


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