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5. Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants was able to help lead his team to the World Series last year. All the announcers would say is how he was a rookie who played like a veteran. I recall watching much of the playoffs in 2010, and all the announcers could talk about was Posey’s confidence. Posey’s source of confidence, according to a blog I read, is that he knows his staff well. He also has opposing staffs figured out and seems to hit with ease. In just the second year of his career, his name is thrown out there with the Molina brothers, Johnny Bench, and Carlton Fisk. If he avoids the “sophomore slump” in 2011, look for him and the Giants to succeed.
4. Number 4 honors actually go to a coach and his entire team. This is hard to admit as an alumnus of a conference rival of this school, but I give the nod to Butler University and coach Brad Stevens. They now head to the Final Four for the second straight year. The Bulldogs saw adversity in 2011 and, unlike in 2010, were unable to completely run the table in the Horizon League. They lost to UW-Milwaukee twice and to Valparaiso (my alma mater) for the first time in nearly two decades. Now, as they dance deep with the bigger schools for the second straight year, the late-season adjustments have paid huge returns. In order to give a team like Duke a run for their money (as Butler did last year), there are intangibles at play. Confidence is just such an intangible.
3. While he has left the game of baseball, one of the most confident players ever in the game is Greg Maddux. Maddux didn’t ever have the most over-powering stuff, but he knew how to place his pitches. Even at the end of his career, he had the advantage before the at-bat even began. Maddux’s name has been thrown around with Drysdale, Seaver, and Bob Gibson. He’ll soon join them in Cooperstown. Having had the fortune of seeing Maddux pitch in person, his skill and poise on the mound combined with his intangibles will not be seen again for a long time to come.
2. I will go out on a big limb and say that Derrick Rose is the best player the Bulls have had since the Jordan/Pippen era. Rose, according to ESPNChicago.com, is gunning for MVP honors. He would be the first Bull to get those since Jordan. Rose has been explosive in his last few outings, including a 30-point performance in which he sat the entire fourth quarter. If Rose stays healthy, the Bulls have a real chance at making a good playoff run.
1. Perhaps the epitome of confidence is the Chicago Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews. His confidence is one of the reasons he became the youngest person ever to captain the Blackhawks-a team with an 80 year history. In one year, Toews proudly wore the gold medal for Canada in the Olympics, hoisted the Stanley Cup, and the Conn Smyth trophy. Toews’ quiet confidence continues to lead the Hawks, and while they are not in as good of a position as they were at this time last year, they still have a very good chance at making the playoffs.
There is one thing that can be noted about all of these athletes, and that is that they are generally very quiet and rarely put the burden of victory on themselves. They are the first to congratulate their team and defer credit from themselves, and the team that I mentioned knows their weaknesses but has won their last eleven straight to go into the Final Four. EXACT has the tools to help the young athlete-at any level-to build their confidence to these levels. Keeping a level head about your abilities and knowing how to adjust to the other team will help you reach your goals!