Does confidence enhance performance? Causal evidence from professional biathlon

We analyze the e ect of self-confidence on performance using data from top-level professional biathlon competitions. Biathlon combines two independent tasks: cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. We exploit this dual nature of the sport by using weather conditions affecting performance on the skiing track as exogenous variation in confidence on the shooting range. Using round-level data on 254 competitions between 2009 and 2013, we show that the less confident athletes are, the worse their performance is on the shooting range. In particular, we estimate an increase of 0.525 standard deviations in missed shots for every standard deviation increase in our inverse self-confidence measure. E ects for women are estimated to be generally smaller in magnitude and less robust.
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Subjects: performance performance development high performance sport elite sport biathlon shooting psychic characteristics competition personality cognition
Notations: endurance sports social sciences
Tagging: Selbstvertrauen
Published in: Working Paper No. 1718
Editors: Universität Linz
Published: Linz 2017
Pages: 1-25
Document types: research paper
Language: English
Level: advanced