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dmm53

Confidence, Cockiness, and Competence in Wrestling (& other sports)

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Given that we are clearly in an era of social media (e.g., interviews and posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, subscription services, etc.) and high technology (e.g., films and training videos on the Internet and live streamed events), there is a now a lot more Immediate and/or apparent access and possible connections to wrestlers and other athletes compared with other eras or decades.

We see more and more guys publicly calling each other out, trash talking, hyping themselves up, performing for the camera, posting videos of their workouts or weightlifting, predicting wins, and so on. 

But there are also guys who are supremely confident and just let their wrestling do the talking for the most part.

This raises a number of questions about one aspect of an athlete's mental framework (confidence) and its relationship to practical results or outcomes:

 

• What exactly is the link between confidence and competence (performance)?  And how does either too much or too little confidence affect one's performance?

• Who are the most confident wrestlers, and is their confidence level (over- or under-confidence, cockiness, doubt, arrogance etc.) a big factor in (or generally borne out and backed up by) victories on the mat? 

• Is confidence the single most important factor in one's mental approach to the sport and, if so, can it be taught or learned or acquired in some way other than simply winning?

• Might there also be something like "'self-less' confidence" as opposed to a more narrow "self-confidence" and, if so, which athletes embody or exemplify that?  And how does it contribute or relate to their performance?

• How is confidence by athletes in more individual or individualistic sports (e.g., wrestling) different from confidence by athletes in team sports (even if there are also aspects of "the team" in more individual sports)?

 

These questions (and other related ones) come to mind in watching  and listening to guys like Dake, Taylor, and Chamizo perform this week but also listening to them talk (or posture)  both before and after the matches.  One could, of course, throw in other recent examples and names: Borroughs (who argued with Dake a few months ago), Sadulaev (who responded to DT on Twitter), Downey (who loves the trash talking) as well as outspoken or "underspoken" guys from earlier periods: Askren, Sanderson, Gable, and so on.

 

Edited by dmm53

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Thinking out loud ... and to address very briefly just one of the above questions, my sense and own experience with wrestling is that you want (or would like) to go into every match with high confidence, absolutely believing that you can and will win.  But more realistically, when you step onto the scales or shake hands and then wrestle, you sometimes more-or-less know that you are going to win or, alternatively, sense that you might be over-matched by a better opponent.  Confidence seems to come into play more commonly in matchups and matches that are closer  on the whole (in skill level, strength, stamina, speed, experience, etc. taken together).

By contrast, in distance running (track, cross country, road races), I'm not so certain that confidence is the most important mental factor in performing well and beating others, although it plays a role.  If you are aware of your training, your recent and past times, and particularly your personal best time, you are frequently racing against the clock and,  insofar as you are competing directly against other runners, you can often know in advance or can tell pretty quickly (a) who is not in your league  and/or (b) whose league you are not in (in both cases because of past times or performances or leads in the race that can quickly open up or even, quite frankly, by looking at the bodies of other runners at the start of the race) and/or (c) who is more or less your "peer" and against whom you might actually be in true competition during the event.

In the last instance especially, mental (and physical) factors like focus, pace, pain tolerance, ability to trick your brain and body into pushing past thresholds, the psychology of hanging in with a pack (group) of runners, and so many other things come into play that might only loosely be connected to "confidence".

Perhaps this is partly why you almost never see distance runners trash-talking, playing up their performances, predicting outcomes, bragging, and so on.   The one real exception in the case of runners more generally is sprinters: particularly 100-meter runners (who are in this regard more like boxers and MMA guys and some wrestlers).

If we were to add in other sports (basketball, gymnastics, bike racing, soccer—especially penalty kicks—tennis, and so on), confidence might play a different kind of role as well than it does in wrestling.

Edited by dmm53

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I do think a certain amount of trash talk is manufactured to build interest, especially with the event this past weekend. Chamizo had a role to play and pulled it off beautifully.

You can tell when someone is putting it on to hype something up. Burroughs is particularly bad at it.

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3 hours ago, IronChef said:

I do think a certain amount of trash talk is manufactured to build interest, especially with the event this past weekend. Chamizo had a role to play and pulled it off beautifully.

You can tell when someone is putting it on to hype something up. Burroughs is particularly bad at it.

I think the ones that are good at trash talk live for it.

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2 hours ago, IronChef said:

I do think a certain amount of trash talk is manufactured to build interest, especially with the event this past weekend. Chamizo had a role to play and pulled it off beautifully.

You can tell when someone is putting it on to hype something up. Burroughs is particularly bad at it.

I love that Dake has fully embraced it and has gone full WWF bad guy. I really do think a lot of what he says and does is a character that he is pulling off very well.

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On 7/28/2020 at 4:58 PM, bnwtwg said:

I love that Dake has fully embraced it and has gone full WWF bad guy. I really do think a lot of what he says and does is a character that he is pulling off very well.

When is a replica indistinguishable from an original? when that becomes the case they are one and the same.

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Before social media, we only had for the most part anecdotal stories of what guys were like outside the circle, what they would say about opponents, their antics and off-hand comments about anything.  Today every utterance is documented or can be, and they can be shared, tweeted, and promoted.  The recent slew of loud guys are just now discovering what Muhammad Ali perfected decades ago--controversy sells.  Playing the heel (as Ali learned from Gorgeous George the pro wrestler) garners attention, if only in the hopes of seeing the heel get smashed.  Might not even be who these guys really are, but if it puts a few more dollars in their pocket, why not sound off.  Not saying I'm a fan of it--would rather see results than hear proclamations and attention-grabbing predictions.

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On 7/28/2020 at 10:02 AM, klehner said:

"When I race, my mind is full of doubts. Who will come in second? Who will come in third?"

- Nourredine Morceli

(look him up)

Right out of Gene Mill's approach. Now he was a confident wrestler, who maybe lacked the physical qualities many greats have or who also lacked an array of TD skills, but he did have an incredible gas tank and a never quit attitude.

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On 7/28/2020 at 10:02 AM, klehner said:

"When I race, my mind is full of doubts. Who will come in second? Who will come in third?"

- Nourredine Morceli

(look him up)

Yes, he is one of the great middle distance runners.   Here is his race when he broke the World Record at 1500 meters.  Most folks, I would imagine, have no idea how fast this is.  1500 meters is roughly 110 meters (120 yards) short of a mile.  

 

Edited by dmm53

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3. Who's coming in second? When Bird arrived at Chicago Stadium to defend his back-to-back three-point titles in 1988, he looked around the locker room and asked, “So, who's coming in second?” Naturally, Bird backed up his trash talk and won the contest for the third year in a row.

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10 hours ago, dmm53 said:

Yes, he is one of the great middle distance runners.   Here is his race when he broke the World Record at 1500 meters.  Most folks, I would imagine, have no idea how fast this is.  1500 meters is roughly 110 meters (120 yards) short of a mile.  

 

The best ever... I know this is not a track & field forum but El Guerrouj was something else

 

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