Back to Back Issues Page
Are You Self-Confident?-->, FF Insider#101
June 28, 2011
Welcome Back,

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Finish First Sports Performance is the official training/performance coaching provider for the Youngstown Phantoms USHL Hockey Team, the Robert Morris Univeristy NCAA Division 1 Men's Ice Hockey Team, and the Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship Organization.

Inside this Issue:

To bring you the very best information, this newsletter focuses on awareness of the training principles for young athletes, and how to use them to make sure your coach is on the right track. Enjoy!

1. Performance: Increased Self-Confidence for Better Performance

2. Performance II: Mobility and Stability in the Golf Swing

3. Special Announcements

4. Motivational/Inspirational Quote

5. Thank You


Increased Self-Confidence for Better Performance

By Jeremy S. Hoy,MS, CSCS, NASM, NASE, Performance Scientist

Listen to an interview of an elite athlete after a successful competition and you will almost never hear him/her say that they were completely shocked or surprised at their success. It is very unlikely that the athlete will say that victory was never expected. Instead, you will usually hear that the athlete was confident about his/her skills and that he/she was well prepared for the opponent.

So, what does this mean?

This means that the successful athlete had a specific level of self-confidence before the competition. And, research has proven, over and over again, that athletes with optimal levels of self-confidence are more successful.

What is self confidence?

According to the textbook Advances in Sport Psychology (3rd Ed, Horn, p.66), “self confidence is the belief that one has the internal resources, particularly abilities, to achieve success.” Self-confidence consists of physical skills, resilience, and cognitive efficiency. (Horn, p. 82)

Research has shown that different types of confidence relate differently to athletes’ performance. A study done in 2002 with elite swimmers found that physical skills were a strong predictor of success early in the competitive season (after pre-season physical preparation), while resilience and cognitive efficiency were stronger predictors of success later in the competitive season. (Horn, p. 82)

Researchers also found that self-confidence is a crucial component in mental toughness.

International-level elite athletes identified self-confidence as the most critical mental skill in defining mental toughness…U.S. Olympic champions, their coaches, and parents,…,identified self-confidence as a key mental skill in successful performance at the elite level. U.S. Olympic coaches indentified self-confidence as an important influence on their athletes’ performance at the Olympic Games, and junior tennis coaches rated self-confidence as an important mental skill for young tennis players. (Horn, p.81)

Another study showed that athletes and coaches believe that self-confidence is significantly related to performance, and it is a key discriminator between successful and less successful athletes. (Horn, p. 81)

Unlike most keys to success in sports, self-confidence is fragile. Too little will result in less success AND too much will result in less success. An athlete needs to have an optimal level for optimal success.

According to Mia Hamm, “the thing about confidence I don’t think people understand, is it’s a day to day issue. It takes constant nurturing. It’s not something you go in and turn on the light switch and say, ‘I’m confident,’ and it stays on until the bulb burns out.” (Horn, p. 66)

So, what does it mean to have optimal self-confidence?

All experts agree that optimal self-confidence is attained through proper sports preparation (I don’t like inserting shameless plugs, but remember, the mission of Finish First Sports Performance is to PREPARE athletes to perform their best when it matters most!).

Preparation is critical to nurturing optimal self-confidence.

Optimally confident athletes are competent and prepared. They have all the necessary physical and mental skills to achieve their realistic goals. They develop competence by being well-conditioned, mastering their sport’s fundamentals, developing and executing effective strategies to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses, and excelling at the mental skills necessary to create and maintain a flow mind-set. Optimally confident athletes play within themselves: They feel successful when they perform at the upper limits of their current capabilities but don’t worry about achieving goals that are unrealistic for them.

Optimally confident athletes are also well prepared. The conditioning that athletes do to improve their flexibility, agility, speed, strength, power, endurance, and cardiovascular ability should improve their capabilities and prepare them to execute skills and strategies successfully in competition. Moreover, the harder they work in practice to develop and automate skills and accomplish performance objectives, the more prepared they should feel for important competitions. Athletes can’t fool themselves. If they haven’t done the preparation, their confidence will fluctuate and often plummet when they can least afford it.

Confidence in the clutch requires that athletes pay the price in the off season, in the weight room, and on the practice field or court, preparing sufficiently to create an optimal level of confidence. (Sport Psychology for Coaches, p. 189-90)

As a reciprocal effect, self-confidence also motivates athletes to work harder. An elite athlete explained “when I feel confident, it just drives me on more and makes me try harder, raises my game and the intensity of my effort and preparation.” (Horn, p. 84)

Take a careful inventory of your self-confidence. Are you optimally confident? Or, are you setting yourself up for less than optimal performance? The expert sport psychologists all agree that through proper preparation, optimal self-confidence can be achieved, resulting in optimal performance in sports.

What are you doing to optimally prepare?

While there are many ways to become more self-confident, the intent of this article is to emphasize the relationship between self-confidence and success in sports. Self-confidence is an element of mental preparation, which can be cultivated through proper physical and technical/tactical preparation (for more on this, check out some of the past newsletter issues).

What are you doing today to improve your self-confidence?

Performance II:

Mobility and Stability in the Golf Swing

By Brandon Monin, MS, CSCS, TPI CGFI, Performance Scientist

The terms mobility and stability are often used when describing problems with a golfer’s swing. Unfortunately, they are also frequently used carelessly by strength coaches and other fitness professionals who truly don’t understand what they mean or how they are different, or even how to properly train for each.

Meanwhile the majority of golfers have no clue what they mean or how it relates to them.

In this article, I am going to explain these two terms and how they relate to you and your swing.


This is the combination of normal joint range of motion and proper muscular flexibility. This is a must for proper swing mechanics and for any golfer to prevent injuries. Mobility allows the body to move in all six degrees of motion, therefore giving the ability to perform any motion without having to sacrifice stability.

Mobility allows for the generation of elastic energy between muscles, and therefore establishes a base for efficient power production. In other words when a muscle stretches it produces energy.

The more a muscle stretches the more energy will be produced,--this is also known as the stretch-shorten cycle.

There are three rules of engagement allowing the stretch-shorten cycle to be most effective.

• No Time Delay- a pause during a motion or stretch of a muscle will limit or decrease elastic energy and in turn decrease power

• Moderate Stretch- over stretching the muscle can cause injury

• Fast Stretch = More Energy- the faster you stretch a muscle the faster it wants to return to a relaxed state creating a greater energy and power potential


This is the ability of any system to remain unchanged or aligned in the presence of change or outside forces. That is a good summary of what many areas in our body that are defined as stabilizers (such as the lumbar spine or low back) are asked to do in order for us to create movement throughout the body.

Stability is created by combining three things:

• Balance

• Strength

• Muscular Endurance

For example if you wanted to shoot an arrow with a bow, you would need to keep the bow and arrow stable as you pulled the string back—you would need to have good balance, strength, and local muscular endurance.

This is the same principal involved in creating a powerful golf swing. The ability to keep one part of the body secure (stable) while stretching and contracting adjacent segments allows us to generate speed and maintain a consistent posture throughout the golf swing.

Within the golf swing there is a normal pattern of mobile and stable segments that work in an alternating pattern. The pattern is important for a golfer to have a consistent and powerful swing as well as reduce the risk of injury. If the pattern is altered dysfunction and compensation will occur.

Normal Stability/Mobility Pattern during a golf swing (at various joints):

Pelvis/Sacrum/Lumbar Spine
Cervical Spine/Neck

Thoracic Spine

Information provided by the Titleist Performance Institute


  • In observance of the July 4th Holiday, Please note that the training center will be closed on Saturday, July 2, Sunday, July 3, and Monday, July 4. Normal Business hours will resume Tuesday, July 5, 2011.
  • Thank you to all the coaches and trainers who attended Coach Hoy's presentation "Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey" at the Pennsylvania State Strength and Conditioning Clinic last weekend (June 17th) at Juniata College. For those of you who missed the clinic but would be interested in learning more about the information presented, please send Coach Hoy an email requesting more info at
  • Hot Item!...Get your Finish First Sports Performance apparel with the new hockey available dry-fit performance shirts at our store Online Store.
  • Coming Soon: We have finally (after about 2 years) found a company to make our trademark logo New Era hats and have an order on the way to the world training headquarters in Robinson as we write this. If you do not have one of these fashionable hats and want want, stop by the gym and pick one up--but hurry, we have a limited stock--if you can't make it to the gym, these should be available online in the next 2 weeks!
  • Finish First Sports Performance is still making progress on the new World-Class training facility...we are hoping to move forward soon, which would allow us to give you drawings and details in the next few weeks.

    Finish First Sports Performance will be having an Elite NHL (pro) style hockey camp in 2011. Mark your calendar for August 1 - August 5th, 2011 for the most comprehensive and educational camp available...and finally making a home in Pittsburgh. Camp features daily on-ice sessions with Pittsburgh Penguins Power Skating coach Marianne Watkins, NHL veteran Jay Caufield, and NHL veteran and coach Rick Tocchet. Of-ice instruction will be led by Finish First Coach Jeremy Hoy, with nutritional coaching by a licensed sports dietitian, a daily training table (post workout nutrition)...and many other included items and performance related benefits to be announced soon. The camp will be limited to a select number of roster spots and players will be selected based on experience, submission of a completed application, and coach recommendation. More specific details about this camp will be revealed soon. Just a reminder...mark your calendar and stay tuned--this is a don't-want-to-miss camp!

  • Thank you to the Pittsburgh Penguins for including us as part of the training team in the recent girls hockey camp. It was a great event and it is always an honor to be a part of youth programs to help promote proper training and nutrition. Thank you to all of those involved.
  • Congrats to all the Pittsburgh hockey players selected in the NHL Entry Draft 2011. Also congrats to former Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) selected, Scott Mayfield and Matt Mahalak. Congrats again and keep up the great work!

Motivational Quote

"Everyone has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases."
-- Jeremy Collier

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

For Finish First Insider backissues #1 - 29, click here

Back to Back Issues Page