How confident are you about your soccer proficiency? Similarly, as a coach, how do you measure up against your peers? Delve deep into the potential danger of overestimation, commonly termed as the “Dunning-Kruger Effect”.Read more: Are You Overestimating Your Soccer Skills? Dunning-Kruger Effect
Understanding the Dunning-Kruger Effect in Sports
How confident are you about your soccer proficiency? Similarly, as a coach, how do you measure up against your peers? Delve deep into the potential danger of overestimation, commonly termed as the “Dunning-Kruger Effect”.
A few weeks ago, I penned a piece on the TACTICS Questionnaire. Intended for team sports players, this tactical survey provides an analysis of their tactical capabilities once filled out. However, an intriguing thought persists: Do those who answer these written queries in the lounge truly make optimal choices on the field? In response, I received a flurry of emails from trainers who deployed this questionnaire. One recurring theme was certain players, adept in tactical skills, often responded modestly. Conversely, some who have room for improvement overestimated their prowess, a classic manifestation of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Reintroduced by psychologists Dunning and Kruger in 1999, this effect has been the focal point of over 100 studies. These investigations consistently reveal a surprising human tendency: individuals frequently overrate their abilities in contexts that defy statistical logic. For instance, when programmers from two firms rated their capabilities, a significant chunk from both groups ranked themselves in the top 5%. Moreover, in a separate study, an astounding 88% of American drivers considered themselves above-average drivers. According to the researchers, such overestimations aren’t anomalies. More often than not, individuals inflate their self-assessment across diverse domains, ranging from health to leadership skills.
So, why does this bias persist? Multiple factors contribute. Firstly, metacognition plays a pivotal role. This executive skill governs our capacity for self-monitoring and self-evaluation. Those deficient in a particular area often make two errors. They possess undue confidence, leading them to believe they know it all, consequently making flawed decisions. Moreover, their lack of genuine expertise prevents them from recognizing their own shortcomings.
Yet, the Dunning-Kruger effect isn’t just about an inflated ego blinding us to our weaknesses. Often, when presented with feedback, individuals do acknowledge their areas of deficit. For instance, students who initially performed poorly in a logic quiz recognized their errors post a short logic course. Thus, individuals with limited expertise often doubt their abilities, aware of the vast universe of what they don’t know. Experts, though generally cognizant of their depth of understanding, err differently: they assume everyone possesses a similar depth of knowledge. Resultantly, whether skilled or not, most harbor skewed self-perceptions. Quippingly, the researchers conclude that while novices remain oblivious to their flaws, experts fail to recognize the rarity of their skills.
The realm of sports isn’t immune to the Dunning-Kruger effect, as highlighted by Philip J. Sullivan and his team. In his study surveying 94 volleyball coaches, it emerged that certain coaches perceived themselves better than they actually were. So, how does one genuinely gauge their competence? And ascertain their position on the Dunning-Kruger graph? Literature offers several tips. Firstly, remain receptive to feedback, even if it stings. Secondly, foster a continuous learning mindset. Amassing more knowledge invariably reduces the margin for error.
As I conclude, it’s evident that the Dunning-Kruger effect is rampant. And yes, I admit I’ve been guilty of it, especially in my early Sportbrein years when my confidence in my knowledge seemed unwavering. This, in hindsight and with a better understanding of the Dunning-Kruger effect, was clear overestimation. Over time, interactions with various professionals who’ve critiqued my assertions, videos, and blogs have fostered introspection. This has nudged me towards a more reflective approach in my writings, encouraging readers to formulate their perspectives. While overestimation is a pertinent topic, its opposite, modesty, is equally intriguing, but more on that in the upcoming piece on the Imposter Syndrome…”
Philip J. Sullivan, Matthew Ragogna & Lori Dithurbide (2019) An investigation into the Dunning–Kruger effect in sport coaching, International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17:6, 591-599, DOI: 10.1080/1612197X.2018.1444079
Why incompetent people think they’re amazing – David Dunning: YouTube
Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(6), 1121–1134. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1991