Overconfidence – the road to disappointment

Today there isn’t a single professional gamer who doesn’t know that being confident is one of the key mental states that would help you become successful at your game. However, after achieving success, plenty of players and teams make a very serious mistake. They become overconfident.

What is overconfidence?

For most humans being successful is related to experiencing strong positive emotions. In other words they become emotional about their success. However, this is when overconfidence occurs. To be frank, the line between confidence and overconfidence is really thin. Being confident (self-confident) as an individual or as a team is when you genuinely believe that you can perform successfully difficult tasks in certain conditions. In gaming these conditions would include your own abilities, current form, your opponents skills and current form and ‘outside’ factors such as the game itself and all of its aspects. 

Overconfidence occurs  when you or your team misjudge those conditions. Emotions, negative or positive, would usually lead to reality distortion. This means that under strong emotional influence you would usually pay less attention to detail, ignore critical information, and lack focus both in preparation and during competition. Additionally, you would have an exaggerated vision of your own abilities and skills that might not correspond fully with the objective reality.  The combination of these factors would lead to flaws in your judgment and sometimes even losing to a weaker opponent.

How to tell if you or someone on your team is overconfident?

Overconfidence could be expressed and experienced differently by different players, however there are a few red flags that you should be careful about. 

Underestimating your opponents

Even though underestimating your opponents by itself is not related to overconfidence ONLY, it is probably the easiest behaviour you could spot and investigate further. Usually when we have underestimation of objectively superior opponents it’s safe to say that most of the time we are talking about overconfidence. However, this behaviour could also occur when facing weaker competition and probably that’s even worse, because then you ‘get rekt’ by an underdog. And that really hurts.

Not taking your preparation seriously

Underestimating your competition could naturally lead to paying less attention during practice, as well as your work ethic and productive habits. Every high performer knows how important preparation is to be successful. However, when you are overconfident, you experience the subjective feeling that you don’t need to put hard work and effort, because you ‘would win easily’.

Poor reaction to feedback

Another key aspect of overconfidence is how an individual reacts to constructive (negative) feedback. When a player is overconfident, they would become very defensive when receiving negative feedback about their performance. With some individuals it could also lead to verbal or physical aggression, which is considered an extreme case.

Not taking ownership 

Poor reaction to feedback is often accompanied by refusal to take responsibility over your own actions. Whenever someone is overconfident, they would do anything to maintain their ‘superior’ image they have created about themselves. This means that when they do a mistake, even when they are the one to blame, they would ‘shift’ the reality and twist the events transferring the blame to something or someone else.

Overconfidence is a really disappointing experience. Being overconfident would inevitably lead to a dramatic loss in the most unexpected conditions. For some players such a loss is really hard to overcome. 

If you are experiencing struggles with building a healthy confidence or you notice that you often become overconfident and it leads you to unfortunate losses, feel free to contact me at and you will receive your first session for FREE.

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About George
George Atanasov is a mental performance consultant, currently working in professional esports. He has experience consulting elite athletes and esports players. If you want to improve your mental game sign up for a free initial session with him by messaging at