I will return
02/07/2012 - 11.06
Professor Andy Lane
"I will return"... Muhammad Ali's famous quote after a shock defeat to Joe Frazier. Friday night saw the hotly tipped favourite for the 100m, Usian Bolt, beaten in the 100, final of the Jamaican trials.
A wealth of evidence shows that defeat and poor performance reduces self-confidence.
Self-confidence is seen as "the guardian angel of performance" and often accompanies success.
So the question is whether Bolt has lost his confidence? If this as a total shock, and if he performed to his best, then it could have dramatic effects.
However, Bolt performed slower than his personal best (PB), and Yohan Blake, who won the race, also achieved a PB, and whilst doing so, recorded the fastest time this year and the 4th fastest ever.
Further, both Blake and Bolt have the same coach who suggested more is to come from Bolt.
So what is this defeat likely to do to Bolt's mental state? My suggestion is that having his close rival performing so well will give Bolt that extra edge he needs.
Anxiety can be helpful; it tells you that something in your environment will cause you harm.
Bolt has a month to up his game, to sharpen his training, to sharpen his mind and he now knows that if he is not on the top of his game, he will not win.
It's better to have that message now, when you have time to do something about it, than in the Olympic semi-final when time is limited.
We saw the best of Ali through his fights with Frazier; maybe we will see the best of Bolt through his races with Blake. The good news is that there is not long to find that out now....