Confidence – Q & A with Karina LeBlanc!
Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc is the longest serving player in Canadian Soccer history including 4 FIFA World Cups and 2 Olympics. She knows all about pressure. So, how did she hold it together? How did she build herself up to handle it all? We asked Karina where her confidence comes from and how we can get our kids believing in themselves.
Q: You are such a confident person, where does your confidence come from?
I think confidence comes from when you put in the work yourself. When I was cut from the U-15 BC provincial team, it was the best thing that ever happened to me because the next year I worked 15 minutes longer every day. Putting in the work made me believe that I had earned the right to step-up and try out. I think confidence comes from you knowing that you’ve done what you’ve needed to do to step-up and perform.
I think also surrounding yourself with the right people helps to bring confidence to you because the right people will always add and encourage you rather than tell you that you cannot do things. So, I think surrounding yourself with the right people who believe in you is important.
Confidence comes from understanding my purpose on this earth and living my life according to that and knowing that every day if I just do the best version of me, that’s all I can really ask for.
Q: How important is confidence to what you do on the field and in life?
Once you step on the field you have to believe that you’re invincible and believe that you have done everything to get there and in any situation you have belief that you are exactly where you are meant to be and you are ready to be great.
In life, I think confidence just comes from tying into something bigger than yourself and being like this is what I want to accomplish and then just going after that. If you want to be a great mother, a great sister, or a great friend, or a great teammate, you have to believe that you can do that. Most of it is just belief that you are there to do something for the better.
Q: How do you build confidence?
I believe through hard work, through putting in that time for yourself, and trying to envision yourself as a confident person. When it comes to confidence you have to picture yourself being a confident you and then figure out what you need to do in this moment to get closer to that. I think confidence comes from understanding yourself and knowing yourself, wanting to be a better version of yourself and actually going after it.
Q: Can you coach and teach confidence, and if so, how?
I think you can coach belief – helping someone find the belief in themself. I think you can coach confidence by being a confident coach and know that as a coach you are being watched from the way you deal with one player to another.
I think the biggest thing that coaches can do for kids is to make them feel confident; feel like they can go out there and do what they want on the soccer field. Coaches can put kids in that position to succeed and if they fail, know that that is sometimes some of the greatest lessons – allowing these athletes to go through failure, but finding a positive twist on it and encouraging them that it’s okay.
Q: What is a concrete example where attitude and confidence was more important than talent?
The earliest one I can think of was when I was cut from the U-15 BC provincial team and the next year I went out and worked hard, did 15 minutes more every single day and then that following year I came back and tried out for the year older because I just felt confident in what I had done and I wanted to be with a coach who I believed, believed in me. When I tried out for a year older and made that team, soon after I got called into the National Team.
I don’t know where my talent was compared to other people my age, but I know my attitude was that I believed in myself and that I was confident and that I deserved a chance and I wasn’t doing it for anyone else – the year before I had tried out because everyone told me I should try out, and this year, I believed I was good enough. It felt like the right thing to do because I worked hard. I had the attitude that I was going to do this, and would rather have failed doing something to challenge myself rather than play the safe route.