The Over-Confidence Myth

confidence in sports

Athletes are often warned that having too much confidence will hurt their performance. Recently one of my athletes said, "I'm worried that if I’m too confident it could come back to hurt me in a future game".

So is this athlete and many others right? It all depends on how it is defined. Outside of sports, over-confidence is seen as arrogant or cocky. This type of over-confidence is related more to character than to performance. However, in sports over-confidence simply applies to an athlete going into competition with a positive belief system but a lack of equal preparation to back it up. We’ve seen this in many sports where an athlete or team will “write off” the opposition as an easy win and not prepare enough. This then leads to an unexpected surprise by the opposition’s performance; therefore, losing in the end. But this is not the kind of over-confidence most athletes worry about.
 
For many athletes over-confidence comes down to how much positivity is too much positivity? Below are a few simple questions to answer that will quickly resolve the over-positive dilemma.

Question 1: When was the last time you heard a successful athlete state something like, “You know, I always like to go into the game with a little doubt in my mind, it really helps calm the nerves.”

Question 2: When was the last time you heard a teammate say something like, “If I can’t find something in my game that I don’t trust, I like to convince myself that I can’t trust that part of my performance and it really helps me perform to my full potential.”

I’m sure the answer is NEVER.

Below are three mental toughness attributes that athletes need to make sure to commit to before and during every competition.  
 

  1. Proper preparation: Make sure that your preparation is equivalent if not higher than the level that you will be facing in the next competition.
  2. Effort: Always, maintain a high level of effort both in practice and your upcoming performance.
  3. Character: There is no place for arrogance or disrespect towards others. Take pride in your character on and off the field and let your game do the talking.

 
Once these 3 attributes are fullfilled there’s no limit to how much confidence you can have for an upcoming performance. The more confident you are going in, the better your chances of success. In fact, over 50% of all performances are won or lost before the game even starts due to the athlete or teams belief system. Always work on your mindset and strengthen your belief system. Make sure there is 100% trust and positivity going into each performance.