CAN YOU BE OVER CONFIDENT TO WIN?
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.”
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