Identifying Perfectionism in Young Athletes
Lisa Cohn here from The Ultimate Sports Parent.
I would like to share some quick tips about identifying perfectionism and fear of failure in young athletes. This is a really hot topic in youth sports.
Several parents and coaches have shared their stories about young athletes’ challenges with perfectionism. They talk about how fear of failure prevents kids from performing well in competition.
Your awareness is the first step in helping your kids cope with fear of failure and perfectionism.
One parent said that my recent story helped her understand how perfectionism affected her daughter:
“It took your story ‘Confessions of a Sports Mom Who Fueled Her Son’s Perfectionism’ for me to actually identify what was happening with my 10-year-old daughter (she plays badminton).”
Understanding the challenges for perfectionists helped her child feel more relaxed and happy on the court, she said.
“Just following your suggestions has cleared up a lot of confusion in my mind. It is making a difference in her practice game sessions already. And both of us are more relaxed and happy at the court. I look forward to more from you, to make my child’s game improve in a happy and healthy way.”
My brother, Dr. Patrick Cohn, tells athletes and their parents that they need to take four steps to move toward positive change.
4 Steps For Positive Change
- Understand the challenge
- Understand how it affects them
- Recognize the importance of powerful mental game strategies
- Commit to changing
Both Patrick and I are sports parents ourselves. We have both seen our sports kids held back by perfectionism and fear.
After highlighting this issue in my recent story, “Confessions of a Sports Mom,” many of our readers are now recognizing the issue and telling us that their children and teens struggle with the same challenge.
As a matter of fact, most of the questions we receive daily from parents are about how to overcome their kids’ fear of failure and perfectionism.
That’s why I asked my brother to put together a short video. His video shows how fear of failure and perfectionism are linked to each other. More than 800 people have already viewed the video.
Here is the link if you have not seen it yet:
I encourage you to post your experiences with perfectionist athletes on our blog.
- What are your challenges?
- What are your frustrations as parents and coaches?
- What are you success stories?
Our readers tell us they appreciate and learn from others’ stories.
Please post your comments at the end of the story.
P.S. Our new mental game program, which aims to help your kids kick perfectionism, will include a live coaching class with my brother, Dr. Patrick Cohn. However, we need your help.
What is your most burning question about perfectionism in sports kids?
This will help us serve you better during the coaching call. Please post your questions or stories here on the blog.
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