What Is The Difference Between Confident and Cocky?

Confidence is King in Baseball


We hear coaches talking about their players all the time, and the subject of cockiness comes up a lot.  We're always just a little bit conflicted by these conversations because there are actually some elements of cocky baseball players that we like. 

We like it when kids aren't affected too much by mistakes, a trait of cocky kids.  We like it when our players think they're better than you...and us, and anybody else you want to put in front of them.  That sounds a little cocky too.

We all know there's a difference between the two, so we decided to take a closer look and define the differences. 

What Is The Difference Between Confidence and Cockiness?

Here's how we define the two things:

Confident: Confidence is the belief that one has earned the right to succeed at baseball.

Cocky: Cockiness is the belief that you're better than the other guy, and thus you're entitled to perform better.

So let's break that down a little bit.

We believe that confidence is earned, meaning the player has worked hard and put in the time necessary to succeed.  He has taken the reps, he has gained strength and speed, he has watched video, and he has taught himself to be calm in pressure situations.

These things have made him confident because he has earned the right to get that hit...by taking 500 more cuts that the others.  He is confident because, even though he made an error last time, he knows he'll make the next play.  He knows that because he took 30 extra ground balls three different times this week.

An extension of this, is that he continues to earn it.  That is why you never have to ask if a kid is confident or not, he shows it to you every day.

Cocky players believe they are entitled to succeeding.  Maybe they developed early in Little League and were just naturally bigger and better than everybody else.  Maybe they just have a knack for the game that makes them good at it.

Still others are not even that good at the game. They have just been led to believe by equal play rules and unrealistic parents or coaches that they deserve to play and that they're better than they are.  In their minds, they are entitled to continue being that good, just based on who they are.

You Must Earn Confidence

Cocky players have not earned as much as confident players, thus they are less secure in their abilities.  This is why cocky players are always trying to tell you how good they are (or were).  Instead of showing everybody how good they are, like confident players do, cocky players spend their efforts talking about it.

Here's the major difference:

  • Confident players are humble and respond to adversity with steadiness and resolve.
  • Cocky players are arrogant and respond to adversity with anger and blaming others.

Just like anything else, the harder you have to work to earn something, the more you value it and the harder you'll fight to keep it.  This is confidence; hard work followed by a strong pride in the result.

At every turn, realize that confidence is king, and confidence is earned.  If you truly want to be the best player you can be, you have to work your butt off all the time.  There will come a time when you're tired and in a tough spot, and you'll think back to all that blood and sweat you've spilled and you'll think, "I can do this, I've earned this".

Be in that spot on the diamond, be a confident player.

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