Low Confidence Boosts Risk of Sports Injury
It sounds a bit like the placebo effect (believe it and it shall be), although at high speed. Researchers at McGill University have found that an athlete’s level of confidence has a major influence on the likelihood of injury. Gretchen Reynold reports in the New York Times that, in a study of former athletes who were learning new skills required to join the Cirque du Soleil, researchers looked at self-efficacy, a kind of enhanced self-confidence, the feeling that you are easily capable of performing the task ahead. They found that athletes who had a low self-efficacy score on the health questionnaire were almost twice as likely to be injured as those who had scored high on that measure. And now the hard part. As one researcher put it: How do you differentiate someone who has appropriate self-efficacy because they are not actually as good as others from those who lack confidence despite being better? Don’t ask.