CAN YOU BE OVER CON­FI­DENT TO WIN?

Athletics Weekly - - Performance -

TOO MUCH CON­FI­DENCE MIGHT RE­SULT IN LESS EF­FORT

SUPREME self­con­fi­dence is one of the cru­cial fac­tors that set cham­pi­ons apart from the rest of the field. Yet sports psy­chol­o­gists main­tain you can have too much of a good thing and that unerring self-be­lief can some­times prove an ath­lete’s un­do­ing.

Writ­ing on the web­site the­con­ver­sa­tion.com this month, Tim Wood­man, pro­fes­sor of the School of Sport, Health and Ex­er­cise Sciences at Ban­gor Univer­sity and Dr Stu­art Beat­tie, a lec­turer in sport psy­chol­ogy at Ban­gor’s In­sti­tute of Psy­chol­ogy of Elite Per­for­mance and his col­league, sug­gest there is a tip­ping point and that over­con­fi­dence is as detri­men­tal as crip­pling nerves. In their stud­ies at Ban­gor, the pair ex­ten­sively ex­am­ined the re­la­tion­ship be­tween con­fi­dence – both high and low lev­els – and per­for­mance. One trial asked par­tic­i­pants to skip con­tin­u­ously for 60 sec­onds with a rope be­fore re­peat­ing the task us­ing a more dif­fi­cult rope to skip with (in fact it was the same type of rope). While their con­fi­dence dropped, their per­for­mance im­proved sug­gest­ing self-doubt can some­times be ben­e­fi­cial.

In an­other study, pub­lished in the Psy­chol­ogy of Sport and Ex­er­cise, the team found that among top golfers con­fi­dence ex­pec­ta­tions – the num­ber of putts they thought they could make next – far ex­ceeded ac­tual ob­tained per­for­mance lev­els by as much as 46%. “High con­fi­dence can also be detri­men­tal when it causes you to lower the amount of ef­fort you give to­wards these goals,” they say. “Over­con­fi­dence of­ten makes peo­ple no longer feel the need to in­vest all of their ef­fort.”

Usain Bolt: huge con­fi­dence has not af­fected

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Lessons from golf study can be ap­plied to ath­let­ics

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