There are many skills associated with being good at sports: quick reflexes, agility and strength. One equally important skill that doesn’t come as easily to mind, though, is confidence.
‘’During the Rock Bridge tennis season, I was privileged enough to play Cyrus Wang. I was the big underdog, and therefore I lacked confidence,” junior Adam Zaghouani said. “As a result, I couldn’t hit any strokes fluently, and Cyrus out-played me in every part of the game and won by hitting an unbelievable [between the legs shot] down the line.”
An absence of confidence can deteriorate anyone’s game. In his match against Wang, Zaghouani believed his lack of confidence was the biggest reason for his loss.
Because of his experience, Zaghouani said confidence is a necessary component to any game.
Like Zaghouani believes, RBHS football player, sophomore Blake Richardson, believes the same.
“Without confidence in your ability, you will lose every game,” Richardson said. Confidence is necessary to overcome the adversity that is present in every sport or situation, and this confidence allows athletes to reach their goals.”
There are different ways people build up their confidence. Recently, Zaghouani had to give a presentation in front his U.S. History class.
Beforehand, he was nervous, but after practicing his speech many times, he said he felt a lot more confident. He also believes using hand gestures eased the presentation.
The confidence paid off as he said he comfortably presented in front of 20 people without any problems. After the presentation, Zaghouani realized the value of confidence.
“To build confidence, you must be familiar with the task at hand,” Zaghouani said. “It helps to have had previous exposure dealing with it in order to gauge an appropriate level of confidence.”
According to sports psychologist Dr. Gerry Heisler, an adequate amount of confidence toward a task can make situations less worrisome.
He said confidence allows an individual or team to make decisions with less pressure, which results in better decision-making.
“Personally, I help many people out who are struggling with something. So, I have to have confidence in the advice I am giving to my patients, because then that’s how they will believe in themselves more,” Heisler said. “With confidence on my side, I give people better advice because I feel more relaxed.”
Though Richardson believes a lack of confidence will hurt a team, he also believes overconfidence will do the same. Richardson said overconfidence is damaging because it puts an individual or team out of concentration, which has a negative effect.
When they lose focus, people start to make uncharacteristic errors. RBHS quiz bowl member, sophomore Victor Topouria, dealt with overconfidence during one of the events. It cost the quiz bowl team a loss.
“We played Oakville a few times in a tournament, thinking we were going to have a significant win,” Topouria said. “But they had one strong player that clearly dominated that caused us to lose.”
Just like confidence, overconfidence has a cause. Richardson said overconfidence occurs after a big win for a team or individual that causes them to slack off. Even though overconfidence has a cause, there isn’t a prevention, according to Heisler.
“Overconfidence doesn’t have a real prevention because it isn’t like a disease that you know you have,” Heisler said. “It just happens to you and you won’t even realize it.”
Even though there isn’t a way to prevent overconfidence, Heisler thinks there is a sharp distinction between overconfidence and confidence.
According to Richardson, overconfidence is harmful whereas confidence is helpful. Richardson also believes there is a big difference between overconfidence and confidence.
“Confidence is believing in yourself,” Richardson said. “Overconfidence is ignoring the improbability of said action taking place and still asserting that you can do it or you can do it better than someone else.”
Richardson believes confidence and overconfidence have become very important parts to a game. He said there are many losses because of overconfidence, and that there have been many wins due to confidence. Richardson believes confidence is very necessary to a performance.
“You just have to have the same attitude toward every opponent,” Richardson said. “People just have to maintain their confidence level and not get cocky about something or lose belief in themselves.”
By Harsh Singh
Feature photo by Sophie Whyte