take the MSA now

The AS&K Sports MSD

The 10 Mental Skills: TASK CONFIDENCE


Task confidence is an athlete's belief and expectation that she or he will successfully execute specific plays, actions, and performances in applied situations. Athletes with high levels of Task Confidence are more likely to succeed on a task even when their skills are deficient. They are more willing to attempt difficult tasks and are less discouraged by failure.






Athletes with high levels of Task Confidence have strong expectations of success on specific tasks they perform, across many different situations.  Confidence in executing a task can vary greatly from task to task.  A high Task Confidence score indicates that the athlete is confident in performing well on tasks critical to success in his/her sport.

Task Confidence in executing a task can vary greatly from situation to situation, so for example, the athlete who can make 20 consecutive fouls shots in practice may hit only 50% during a game because she or he lacks Task Confidence in a game situation. Read more on SITUATIONS

Note that Task Confidence is different than Self-Worth because Task Confidence is about specific tasks and Self-Worth is more about the athlete’s self-appraisal (see Self-Worth).


Task Confidence enhances Effort, Leadership, Goal Setting, and Goal Implementation. Task Confidence is enhanced by high scores on Mastery Approach and Personal Control. Task Confidence is diminished by low scores on Open to Feedback and Satisfaction.


What is the evidence for and against the presence of Task Confidence? Is your MSA score high or low? What are your Task Confidence BITEs?

  1. It’s important to identify the specific skill and specific situations in which the skill will be performed so you can practice the skill in different situations. So you should identify the skill or task you wish to target for improving task confidence (e.g., improve foul shooting during the final minutes of close games). If they are not aligned, fix them so they are.
  2. For the targeted skill (or task) identify the skill (or task) related BITEs that help and inhibit performance. Consider your behaviors, images, thoughts, and emotions that you experience during the targeted task. Some of the BITEs facilitate success, some do not. Make a note of them and identify the helpful and unhelpful ones.


What are your athletes' behaviors and emotions during the targeted task or skill? Which behaviors and emotions facilitate success?

  1. Set a goal for the athlete to increase the BITEs that facilitate task performance and decrease or eliminate those that do not (see Goal Setting and Goal Implementation). For example, teach the athlete to repeat to her or himself (and believe) statements such as, “I don’t worry about the score or the game situation, I just concentrate on visualizing the ball dropping through the hoop the way I’ve done it a thousand times before.”
  2. Put the athlete in situations that, increasingly, are similar to the target task and desired level of performance. Be sure that, to the extent possible, the athlete is able to perform the task successfully. For example, during practice recreate the final minutes of a close game as nearly as possible and then have the athlete come in to shoot foul shots. After mastering the skill in that situation, have the athlete shoot fouls during actual games but in less critical situations. As mastery is achieved increase foul shooting in more critical situations.


In which areas does my athlete have high Task Confidence? How can I model Task Confidence positively?

  1. Recognize skills and situations where your son or daughter has a high level of task confidence (e.g., math skills or Wii bowling). Help your son or daughter become self-aware of his/her task confidence by discussing it (see Open to Feedback). Reinforce and describe the skill/task confidence he/she experiences while performing successfully, expectation of success, enjoyment, and absence of anxiety.
  2. When your son or daughter experience a setback for a skill/task being developed, be aware of negative thinking and the potential for him/her to build failure expectations. Remind your son or daughter of successes of the past and focus on expectations of success in the future.


In which situations do I have high or low Task Confidence? What are my Task Confidence BITEs? Who may I observe to model positive Task Confidence?


Do I set goals for athletes to increase the BITEs that facilitate task performance and decrease or eliminate those that do not? Which BITEs facilitate success?


What are my own BITEs for tasks and skills that I perform competently? How can I model these BITEs for my athlete?