Updated: Mar 16, 2022
I'm continuing on from my last discussion on confidence in acro.
We got to the point of talking about safety and danger when it comes to overconfidence.
This is what I really wanted to share with you about this topic.
The best way to share this is by explaining the dunning-kruger effect, which I think sums it up pretty well.
You can see it in this graph below:
It illustrates that there is a typical pattern of confidence relative to our knowledge in a given topic or skillset.
We can apply this to acro with the first step being when you haven't tried and it looks impossible and you have 0 confidence that you can do some of the things.
Then the peak in confidence comes when you are progressing and growing as a beginner.
The interesting thing for acro is that I would say the peak in beginner confidence actually takes a while.
I think for most this comes after around 6 months to 1 year of consistent acro practice.
I see this in most people (and it happened a bit with me too) that as they progress beyond the basics, and start to unlock tricky washing machines and start trying more dynamic skills like pops and whips.
The confidence level is very high, and they tend to think they are very good at acro.
It's typically in this period where overconfidence has crept in and injuries, accidents, and mistakes tend to happen.
Because you perceive your skills and abilities beyond what they really are.
And this is the bit I really want to focus on today as well.
Because there's a good chance some of you reading this are there.
And I want to share that I went through that period too.
I was unlocking new skills and getting better and better, and I got a little overconfident in my practice at times.
I had some falls and some drops where either myself or my flyer got injured.
And I would be super happy if you learned from my experience and avoid making the same mistakes.
I think the best way to combat this overconfidence is just by having awareness around it.
To bring this full circle back to my story growing up.
I was lucky enough to become self-aware that I was being arrogant, and that realization alone allowed me to work on changing that.
So hopefully this is the realization you need to become aware that you might be overconfident in your acro practice.
Then you can work on shifting that, and finding a safer more long-term, and progressive way of practicing and training.
If you don't learn this, and you end up going through these failures and falls.
You will learn the hard way, and your confidence will take a knock anyway.
Then when you start to progress a bit further, you'll probably begin to realize how little you know.
At least that's how it was/is for me.
The more experienced I get, the more I realize how much more there is to the practice, and how much longer it will take for me to safely reach the goals and aims I am working towards.
For me personally, I think nowadays I'm on the slightly upward sloping part of the curve, at around 60% knowledge and 30% confidence.
And I'm good with that.
I enjoy the journey and the process and being able to share that with others like you.
I doubt I will ever consider myself an expert, there's just too much to learn and do in acro.
And so many highly skilled people out there pushing the boundaries even further.
Here's a final question for you to consider, where do you sit on the dunning-kruger graph in relation to your acro practice?