More about confidence

About the author

Mark Davis

Mark Davis

Mark Davis is 3-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and the 1995 Bassmaster Classic champion.

There’s another aspect to confidence that we didn’t talk about last time. That’s the physical side of fishing and how it affects your mind, for the good or for the bad. It has a lot more to do with your confidence than you might think.

The first thing that comes to my mind is rest. If you’re tired, it’s easy to get discouraged. That makes sense if you stop to think about it. Being tired leads to poor physical performance — you can’t make as many casts, and they won’t be as accurate — and a general type of down thinking. This is true in any tournament, but it’s especially true in multiple day events.

If you wipe yourself out in practice or in the nightlife around the marina before the tournament starts, the other guys will be ahead of you before anyone makes a cast — or at least those guys who got their rest. You need to feel good and be ready to go when the launch starts. Around my neighborhood we call it being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

When I’m fishing an Elite event I come in off the water, weigh my fish, get something good to eat for supper and make sure I’m in bed by 9:00 p.m. Sure, I might have other things to do, but I know that sleep is important. In fact, it’s more than that. It’s an absolute necessity. If I don’t get my rest, I won’t be able to stay confident if things get tough the next day.

Another thing is food. Try not to eat heavy foods when you’re competing. Really, you probably shouldn’t eat them anytime. Heavy food makes you sluggish and slow to respond. Once that takes hold of you, your confidence will go down the tubes in a hurry. Instead of making quick decisions with a sharp mind, you’ll fumble around and mess up.

Another thing that I’ve just recently begun to appreciate is exercise, especially stretching and doing strength work with resistance bands. Fishing is really hard on your joints. Your elbows and your shoulders take a beating over the years making repeated casts all day long. I’ve had two shoulder surgeries and one elbow surgery, so I know what I’m talking about.

I’m not saying you have to do heavy exercises or lift weights. That’s fine if it’s your thing, but what I find does me the most good is to do general strength exercises every day with a lot of emphasis on the muscles going around my joints. I also try to stretch every day, and I always stretch before I start casting. That helps me feel good physically, which helps my mental attitude.

Don’t put yourself in the hole because you don’t feel your best. Your body is very important when it comes to mental attitude. Think about confidence in the context of a whole package — strong thinking processes and strong physical attributes. Know that each one makes the other better. You’ll be more confident in your fishing if you do.

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