The Mental Game: How to manage expectations while striving for perfection

The Mental Game: How to manage expectations while striving for perfection

Mental Edge Performance

The Mental Game: How to manage expectations while striving for perfection

Many athletes believe the pursuit of perfection is critical for success. These athletes feel the quest for perfection results in better and better performances.

But does perfectionism improve performance? Striving for perfection in practice can cause added pressure to your training. So this type of thinking to perform perfectly creates a tremendous amount of stress for athletes. Perfectionists are their own worst enemies and harshest critics of themselves.

The strict expectations some athletes place on themselves can cause them to self-doubt when they fail to perform up to their standards. Perfectionists constantly worry about making mistakes. Let’s make one important distinction: perfectionism is not having high standards; it is having unrealistic standards.

In reality, perfectionism often sabotages your competitive performance because athletes become excessively negative, self-critical and harsh on themselves.

When perfectionists do not perform up to their expectations, they become frustrated, lose focus by dwelling on the past, and in some cases, quit their sport. Think about it. If perfection is the goal, anything less than perfection is considered failure. The “need-to-be-perfect” mentality generates a huge amount of pressure, anxiety and fear of failure. Eventually, you break under the weight of those unrealistic expectations and become physically and emotionally worn out.

Instead of pursuing perfection, athletes are better served pursuing excellence.

  • Excellence is pushing the limits of your performance.
  • Excellence is the pursuit of trying to achieve more today than yesterday.
  • Excellence is exploring your potential as an athlete.
  • Excellence rewards with hard effort and not just accomplishment.
  • Excellence motivates us; perfection can destroy us.
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The Mental Game: How to manage expectations while striving for perfection
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