Young Athletes who are Perfectionist
“I have a son, age 15. He is skilled in many sports at school. Rugby, Hockey, XC running and Athletics (sprint and long jump where he holds the school record in both these).”
“When he makes a mistake he can ‘lose’ it and can be seen to ‘give in’. In team sport it could be that he thinks he didn’t make that tackle and should have, his head can go down and the opposing team can then score the try!”
“In a school Cross Country race, all eyes were on him to win. He didn’t, and on the finishing straight he was in second place. He stopped, let the guy behind him (quite a big gap so it seemed an eternity of a stop) overtake and came 3rd. He acted as if it was no big deal and he couldn’t be bothered.”
“What is happening and how can I help him overcome these moments….?”
It looks as if this young athlete who is a perfectionist….
Perfectionists can have an incredible work ethic, but are far too hard on themselves and feel such a strong need to win, which can backfire at times.
They often adopt a “all or nothing” mentality, which robs them of confidence and focus when they become frustrated with their performance.
It sounds as if this young athlete wants a perfect performance (win) instead of having fun or performing his best in the race.
It’s important to work with sports kids like this one on overcoming expectations.
Perfectionists have extremely high expectations for their performance, which can cause them to lose confidence when not achieved.
The ability to come back after getting passed in a race is important for any athlete to develop, and all or none thinkers can have a particularly hard time with it.
It’s common for perfectionists to give up when they get passed.
Parents, ask yourselves if you have perfectionist tendencies that you may be imparting on your young athletes.
Do you expect them to win every game or come in first in everything? Do you expect they have a mistake-free performance?
Do you communicate these expectations directly or indirectly?
You want your kids to focus on goals, but not have dire expectations for their performance…
Expectations lead to pressure. Goals help athletes strive to improve their games.
Encourage your athletes to focus on simple objectives, such as good footwork or fighting for a loose ball.
This will help them focus on the process and keep their heads in the game.
You want young athletes to take a growth perspective by focusing on improving skills and striving for goals, such as being a good teammate, instead of focusing on statistics or outcomes!
Learn more by checking out our program for perfectionists and those who fear mistakes and failure:
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Nearly every athlete struggles with some form of perfectionism or fear of failure.
Kids who look like stars in practice will often choke up or under perform during games or competition. Other athletes expect too much of themselves—then get frustrated when they don’t meet their high expectations. Or they’re extremely hard on themselves.
In all cases, this causes young athletes to play it safe. They refuse to take the important risks that help them excel and improve their confidence. Suddenly, they’re held back by fear, indecision, and hesitation.
Learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence. You can stop guessing about what to do and say to your athlete!
Our program: “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 you can start implementing today.
You’ll start seeing changes in your young athlete’s confidence almost immediately.
Make your role as sports parent more enjoyable and easier! We tell you how to help your young athletes:
- Let go of mistakes more quickly
- Accept feedback better
- Stop criticizing themselves
- Perform more freely
- Think more creatively
- Stop worrying about what others’ think
- Dramatically improve their performance and attitude in sports
- Improve their confidence in sports
- They, too, will have more fun and reap more rewards.
“Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” consists of two parts:
- A 23-page e-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes (but also very common), and gives in-depth, step-by-step “sports psychology” tips for helping kids. Download this instantly!
- A 21-page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help your kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism. It will also help them develop strategies to play more freely with less fear in competition.