Halfway through the season and after the weekend’s efforts against Western Sydney, we are sitting fourth on the ladder on goal difference above Canberra United. The game consisted of six goals, four of which were scored in the second half.

It was a hot day down at Marconi Stadium and this was a crucial game for us, as we were expected to win and we needed to start a roll on for the season. Two weeks ago, Western Sydney lost to Perth 10-1, a devastating score line, but only to turn around and beat Brisbane Roar the following week.

This made us rethink the challenge ahead and know that this team will not be easy to beat. And they weren’t. They scored first off a mistake from our goalkeeper but we managed to score an equalizer right before the half time whistle.

The half time break was a kick in the butt for us to pull our finger out and step up our game. We did exactly that in the second half. Once we got that first goal in the second half, we stepped up and scored another three goals. I ended up scoring a brace in the game which is great for the confidence of a striker that hasn’t scored in a few games.

The confidence of a player is one of the most important issues relating to performance. I know for me the more confidence I have, the better I play, as it would be for so many athletes in all sports. If you know you can do something or believe you can then you are most of the way there in being successful.

A lot of athletes may have what you would call form slumps which can be due to a range of things. Obviously the physical side of things can contribute to a form slump but the mental state and confidence levels play a huge part. I guess that’s why they have sports psychologists.

It can be a vicious cycle only to be overcome by the right approach to regain focus and confidence to get back to peak performance. As a striker, there is pressure on us to score goals, so when I hadn’t scored in a few weeks, I was getting a little edgy. I still performed well but couldn’t hit the back of the net.

I guess not scoring in three games isn’t really that long but for our short season, it is a little while when you’re a striker. So last week at training, I did a little extra work before and after a couple of sessions. By the end of the week I had the keepers picking balls out of the net and gained more confidence.

I’m not saying that just because I kicked a few more goals at training was why I scored two on the weekend – it may not have contributed to it – but who knows, maybe the goalscoring mentality was re-enlightened and the extra work and confidence made all the difference.

That’s why I think confidence is such an important attribute for an athlete to have. All the best players in the world have a huge amount of confidence and that’s why they continue to be the best, because they know they are good and believe it but we all know over-confidence can work against you.

We have Brisbane Roar at home this weekend for the second clash against them for the season. Hopefully this game turns out better for us than the last one.

Tara Andrews is a long-time striker and current vice-captain for the Newcastle Jets, despite only being 20 years old, who recently spent time with the Colorado Pride and has represented Australia internationally with the Young Matildas. She previously held the record for the most goals scored in a W-League match with four against Adelaide United. Keep up with Tara’s weekly blogs throughout the 2014/15 Westfield W-League season here.

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