Target audience: The strongman/woman who desires to compete at a national or international level.
When LBEB asked me to write an article on the dangers of overconfidence I was a bit weary. I didn’t know how I was going to pitch it, especially when I have been known to be extremely confident myself.
Now, I will say that my extreme confidence did not develop until I had been competing for 2-3 years, and right before the first woman’s strongman show at the Arnold. At that point, it was very strategic. My confidence is inner based, of course, but when I choose to put something or someone else on blast, I do so because I am playing a game. I am getting in their heads. I love getting in my competitors’ heads. It is fun for me and it is part of the competition. I have no issues admitting this and I’m not concerned that my admitting it will “tip” my competitors off. That doesn’t matter. If I want to get in their heads, I will. Even just knowing I’ll be in a contest is a head trip to some in itself. I love that.
Moving on, I do enjoy watching big lifts and celebrating with women and men on new PRs, it’s awesome! But, be weary of giving yourself more credit than you really deserve. When you are a big fish in a little pond, this can be easy to do. I would hate to be in a little pond. I constantly am seeking the company of athletes who are more impressive than myself. When training with Pro Strongman Nick Best, I would compare my numbers to his. Since he weighs 300+lbs and I weigh 150+lbs, I figured I should be able to perform 50% of the numbers he can. That’s not perfect math but, it’s the formula I used to push myself. If I could hit the 50% mark or higher, I was at least temporarily satisfied with my performance that day. If I couldn’t hit the 50% mark (which many times I didn’t), I would know that I can and should be doing better. I knew I needed to improve. If I didn’t compare myself to him, I would think that I’m better than I actually am. I would be happy with my current strength, power, and speed. I would become complacent, and I would lose my need to keep getting better. I never want to be satisfied with any lift. Even when I lifted the 215lb log at the Arnold in 2015, to beat my own 210lb world record, I watched the video and was dissatisfied with how hard I made the lift look. It was a slow lock out and my left arm lagged behind my right. If I watched that video and thought, “I’m the best damn presser in the world, I am perfect, I can get no better!” then indeed I would not get better. What a disservice to myself that would be.
My point is this: you must be confident but, also be self-critical. Confidence or perceived confidence can be used as a competition tool. It can work to your advantage or disadvantage depending upon the situation. If you look online, usually the guys that describe themselves as “monsters” or “beasts” or are constantly stating how amazing their lifts are, are not the guys/gals winning contests. They are the people who talk big but, are unable to back up their talk with competition performance. They get injured, and generally make contest performance excuses. They are the people that might do a local show but are unwilling to directly compare themselves or compete against the best. When I post a lift/event I usually just post it. Maybe I’ll state whether I am happy with it or what I could have improved on. Don’t let your own perception of how awesome you are be the stunt of your own development as an athlete. If you are going to post your “speed yoke,” …you better run 60ft in under 8 seconds, for SURE! Otherwise, it’s just a yoke. But your self-labeling of an event as a “speed yoke” when that run was in reality, very slow considered to national/world standards, only hurts and potentially limits yourself as an athlete. Accepting your “speed yoke” time means you are less likely to look for ways or methods to improve. Thus, you are hindering your own development.
In summary, be confident and appreciative of small victories but, remember to compare your numbers to others that are better than you. This will increase your need to improve. Improvement is what the game is all about. Seek the company and knowledge to athletes/coaches more accomplished than yourself. Realize you can always learn more. Every time I train with Nick Best I learn something. Every time I train with anyone more skilled at me in any particular area, I learn something. I am a sponge for knowledge. I do not allow my ego to get in the way of my development, I refuse to stunt my own growth.