How to Help Athletes Who Stop Trying or Give Up

Is Your Young Athlete a Perfectionist?

Is Your Young Athlete a Perfectionist?

A young athlete asks:

“I’m 14 years old and have been playing tennis since I was 5. But 2 years ago I started to go to an academy. And at the same time I started to play tournaments. One of my coaches calls me a bull because I’m always so stubborn and get so upset when I do something wrong. But the only reason why I get upset is because I know I can do better. But when I get upset, it’s like I just stop trying… I like give up. So I’ve been taking my time by trying to find ways to keep my cool and to stay mentally tough. I get all these thoughts of what people are going to think of me. Especially my parents. I’ve been trying to prevent it but I can’t help it. And as soon as I start to think of it, I start to push the ball in the court or hit extremely hard for no reason.”

While it is perfectly normal for sports kids like Samantha to get a upset when they do something wrong, but when it starts to hurt their performance, you may have a perfectionist on your hands that sabotages their game.

Perfectionists have the ability to work incredibly hard. The downside is perfectionists do not take failure well at all, and freezing up and quitting are the main coping techniques for them.

Perfectionists expect so much of themselves that they build up a toxic amount of stress when they don’t perform up to their expectations, and this hurts their performance.

Perfectionists tend to be more emotionally involved in sports, feeling the highs and the lows of the game more then their peers.

While this can bring extreme elation when they succeed, it does the very opposite when they fail.

To check if your sports kids are perfectionists, ask yourself a few questions…

Do they focus on the score? Or do they focus on the game, having fun and improving their skills?

If your kids struggle while focusing on wins and their own performance, you know it is time to help them readjust their expectations and manage the challenges with perfectionism.

To do this, first identify their expectations.

  • Do they need to be the team star?
  • Do they want to score twenty points or three goals a game?
  • Do they think they should make zero mistakes?
  • Does their performance have to feel and look good?
  • Do they worry about reaching others’ expectations?

Try to help them let go of these result-based expectations and replace them with team goals that focus on their role in the game.

Instead of focusing on being the leading scorer, what if they focus on keeping themselves between the man and the basket or good team communication?

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Improve Your Mental Game From Anywhere In The World

We’re certain that, as a parent, you want to help your child develop confidence and discipline in sports and life. And as a sports parent, you’d love for your children to reach their potential in sports. But encouraging your child to strive for greatness without pressuring them can be a challenge.

You can get expert mental coaching with us from anywhere. Meet with us via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or phone call. With today’s video technology, we are able to connect with athletes and coaches all over the globe.

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