Perfectionism in Sports Hurts Confidence
For example, perfectionist athletes expect a lot from their performance. Some of their expectations are unrealistic and make them think too much about results. This can lead to self-doubt when they don’t perform up to these high demands.
Perfectionists also have a hard time feeling confident in both practice and competition. They usually get frustrated with themselves when they don’t live up to their expectations. In addition, perfectionists often want approval from others.
They want to be accepted by fellow teammates, coaches, and friends. And if a teammate or coach give them constructive feedback, their confidence deflates.
Here’s the good news about perfectionist athletes:
Perfectionists are very motivated, have a strong work ethic, are committed to their goals, and have a desire to learn and improve.
A practice mindset is usually the perfectionist’s strength. In addition, coaches love to work with these types of athletes because they usually work very hard and want to improve.
But here’s the bad news:
- Lose confidence quickly when not performing well
- Expect to perform without making mistakes
- Are highly judgmental about their performance
- Focus too much on mistakes
- Are always trying to fix their technique, which interferes with trust in competition
What’s the solution?
The answer is not easy. Many of the young athletes we work with fit into the category of perfectionists. We understand the challenges, but perfectionist athletes do not.
The first step is to help athletes uncover the beliefs that underlie perfectionism (and keep them stuck). It’s also important to help them understand how perfectionism might hurt their confidence.
For example, we find that athletes often believe they must be perfect to perform well:
“I should demand high expectations of myself because I work so hard to achieve my goals.”
“The best way to perform perfectly is to avoid making any mistakes.”
As you can see, these beliefs do not help athletes perform their best.
Here’s the process then:
- Help young athletes understand the how perfectionism can be helpful and how it can hurt their performance.
- Discuss the beliefs and behaviors that support perfectionism (“I have to perform perfectly”).
- Help young athletes accept that mistakes are okay.
- Teach young athletes how to focus on working hard instead of performing perfectly.
Here’s an example of number 3 above:
“If I make a mistake, I will keep playing hard. I won’t let a few mistakes hurt my confidence.”
If you enjoy our mental game tips, please share this article to other sports parents and coaches who might appreciate them.
It’s loaded with tips that will allow you to help your perfectionist athlete!
Here’s a testimonial about our work:
“I do wish I had visited your site, before (my young athlete) started off on a competitive level last year. It would have saved us a lot of unnecessary worry. We are learning a ton from all your sports psychology tips. She is beginning to improve and have a good time tip by tip.”
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports
Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism And Fear of Failure will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions.
The Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma is a two part program. It includes:
- A 23 page E-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes and gives step-by-stop sports psychology tips for helping kids.
- A 21 page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help you kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism.
Now you can learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence!
What are parents saying?
“Your Information Had Been So Helpful”
“After listening to a couple of your podcasts and reading your “10 tips to confidence in youth sports,” most of the challenges you make note of apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but the more mistakes he makes, the worse it seems to get. So reading and listening to your information has been so helpful and validates what I have observed in him for the past few months. Thank you so much!”
~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA
Help Your Young Athletes Overcome Self-Doubt In Sports!
The Confident Sports Kid helps young athletes improve confidence quickly and overcome common confidence killers that destroy motivation and fun in sports!
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athletes’ performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one that teaches sports parents how to boost their kids’ confidence, and another that teaches young athletes age 8 to 12 how to improve their self talk, avoid negative thinking, overcome expectations that limit confidence, and much more.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“Each Race He Was More Calm, Composed, And Relaxed”
“I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful programs. My son Kai was one of the fastest 10 and under swimmers in Southern California and after he “aged up” to the 11-12 group he really lost confidence swimming against the much faster and bigger boys. He started with the Confident Sports Kids series and really enjoyed each and every lesson. He then started the Composed Kid series and built on the important building blocks that he was using from the first series. I so happy to report that Kai was able to swim to best times in each and every event he swam at the biggest and most important meet of the year in So Cal, the Club Championships. Each race he was more calm, composed, and relaxed. The final race was one that he was ranked last and one of his goals was to try for top 16…he was 49th! He cut over 4 seconds off his time ending up in 17th. He was ecstatic to say the least.”