Dr. Amber Shipherd on Building Confidence, Self-Efficacy, and Positive Self-Talk

Are you your own best cheerleader? Or do you consistently doubt yourself and your running? The answer may dictate how successful you are as a runner.

Self Efficacy

Self-efficacy is one of the most important concepts in the world of performance psychology. Most of us understand this idea as “confidence” but it’s actually more specific than that.

The American Psychological Association definition of self-efficacy is:

Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments.

Self-efficacy reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior, and social environment.

These cognitive self-evaluations influence all manner of human experience, including the goals for which people strive, the amount of energy expended toward goal achievement, and likelihood of attaining particular levels of behavioral performance.

In other words, this mental skill focuses on your ability to believe that you can get something done.

Maybe that’s a 15-mile long run, the training required for you to run a 3:29 marathon, or even setting appropriate goals.

Runners with high levels of self-efficacy often say, “I can do that” because they believe they have the fitness, the skills, the experience, and the knowledge to accomplish a specific task.

But many runners fall prey to doubts and negative thoughts. A lack of positive self-talk leads to a spiral of negativity and plummeting levels of mental toughness.

Many options can help, including the use of mantras:

This leaves us with so many questions:

  • How can we better prioritize our mental fitness so that we believe in our abilities?
  • What are the sources of self-efficacy so we can draw from them during training?
  • How can we use mantras for running to our advantage?
  • Are there strategies for building confidence training (or self-efficacy training) into our running?

To help us answer these critical questions, I invited Dr. Amber Shipherd onto the podcast.

Self-Efficacy Expert Amber Shipherd on Confidence

Dr. Amber Shipherd

Dr. Amber Shipherd is an assistant professor and performance psychology program coordinator at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She’s also a certified mental performance consultant and owner of Next Level Mind Consulting.

She is a member of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee Sports Psychology Registry and an Executive Committee Member with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

And thankfully for us, she’s an expert on self-efficacy!

She joins us on the Strength Running Podcast to discuss the intricacies of confidence:

  • Why confidence is not nearly as valuable as self-efficacy
  • Strategies for building self-efficacy while running
  • Mindset traps that sap confidence and leave you doubting yourself
  • Best practices for incorporating imagery and personal affirmations in your running

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Listen to the entire episode:

Links & Resources from the Show:

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