Perfectionism is a mindset that an athlete or performer takes on when she thinks that winning a sport event is the only option when competing in sport or performance. Perfectionism sets the bar high, and an athlete has difficulty reaching this level of performance each time she competes. The bar can be set so high that she begins to believe losing a performance is not an option. An athlete or performer may develop skills to avoid the pain of losing a sport event or a performance. Skills that are necessary to avoid taking on a perfectionist mindset are challenging to develop the longer this mindset exists within a performer or an athlete.
Effort And Performance
For a long time, a long-standing principle has been promoted in sport: practice makes perfect. The goal of winning may impact someone’s experience in the sport, negatively impacting her performance. Performance in sports has shifted its focus to “winning”. Although competition is an essential piece to sports, an athlete maintains her passion for sports if she can find a balance between winning and effort. The effort is a core mental skill that can be taught by coaches in all areas of performance that increases an athlete’s love for her sport. Passion and winning can go together.
Strategies for Performers/Athletes
I want to share two strategies that parents and coaches can use with their athletes and performers that can help shift the focus to have a healthy balance between winning and enjoying competing in sport and their performance.
- Focus on a child’s effort during a performance or sporting event, e.g., “Focus on what you can control on the next shot.”
- Follow up a coaching point with encouragement, e.g., “Amber, your stride is too short right before you jump off the platform. I am proud of you no matter what the outcome is after your last jump.”
Practice Makes Progress!