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July 13, 2009


Frank H Little

Tell this to the Aussies.


I think they know it - you don't often come across one who's under-confident, do you?


Whether someone is overconfident or not is a matter of opinion. I don't think there is any objective way to judge whether someone is overconfident or not.

Past performance is no guarantee that future performance will be the same. That's what they say about stock prices. But this is also true about all human performance.

The fact is that many people learn from their experience. And some people learn methodically, by practicing and searching out for more and better knowledge and understanding in order to do better next time.

To judge someone as overconfident based on his past performance is to assume that he doesn't learn from his experience and doesn't improve his abilities from one time to the next.

Which probably is true for some people. But this certainly isn't true for everyone.

Tom Addison

So the opposite of what Daniel Finkelstein said on his blog recently? Great.


Larry Teabag

For several years I've been struggling to understand this ball from Phil Tuffnell:

Do you think Weinburg's theory can provide any insight?

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I am wonderring if I can share your article in the bookmarks of society,Then more friends can talk about this problem.


Actually,I think it depends massively on the opposition. Time and again Rangers AND Celtic ( and Man U)lose to teams that they should put 5 or 6 past.
It's the overwheening confidence that they only need to turn up to win that does for them. By the time the (arguably) better team discovers they are in a real fight its too late. Lesser teams have nothing to lose by going all out against these big teams. Against teams of equal ability, it pays to concentrate. The managers always try to keep their teams from overconfidence as its the surest way to defeat at the hand of lesser opposition. In Pietersen's case, its a bit like Federer or Nadal - when they're on song they are litterally unbeatable. When they're just that shade off.....


@ Tom A - more evidence against Danny's idea is the fact that high self-esteem seems to raise earnings:
@ Kinglear - Manyoo have lost only 24 games in the last 5 league seasons. I'd have thought that this was inconclusive evidence of a negative effect of self-confidence. If anything, it could be that their self-confidence drives them to do better - for example, by encouraging them to chase what other teams regard as lost causes.


Chris - actually, I don't disagree with you. ManU of course have the benefit of Alex Ferguson. Who could forget him taking Aberdeen all the way, and then saying " That was not a good performance .That is not a performance I will accept from Aberdeen." Fantastic.

Tom Addison

As a Man United fan I have to say we very rarely lose to the smaller teams, and when we do it's not a case of playing badly or not trying hard, we create the chances, we just don't put the ball in the bastard net! If you're looking at Man U's losses against smaller teams, I suggest that for those matches you look at shots on goal for each team. I suppose that, statistically, we can't win every game!

And thanks for the link Chris, have you posted that one on this blog before?


Yes Tom A I get incensed when people being paid £100,00 per week can't put the bloody thing in the net too. Mind you, someone once said" Don't forget someone else being paid £100,000 per week is trying to stop it going in."
However, as the saying goes, a miss is as good as a mile. Forget how many go towards the goal, its how many go in that counts.
But don't you just love Fergie?

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If you're looking at Man U's losses against smaller teams, I suggest that for those matches you look at shots on goal for each team.

The Binocular

The point being overlooked is that the presentation of confidence is important.

That helps put pressure on opponents.

Whether the confidence is genuine is another matter and could be irrelevant.


I think the boundary between confidence and overconfidence should be balanced overconfidence kills.

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