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bola- Two Undetected Mental Errors

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hi bola:

Many athletes who are perfectionistic with their approach to sports
think they have a great attitude about sports - until we talk about
how perfectionism can hold them back from reaching their potential.

Don't get me wrong. There are some advantages of perfectionism such
as having a strong work ethic, commitment to your goals, and a
willingness to learn and improve, which often disguise this mental
roadblock to success.

Having some perfectionism can help you achieve a few goals
quicker and get you to 75% of your potential, but after that
you have to remove the hard-to-detect mental roadblocks that
perfectionism presents.

There can be many disadvantages of trying to be too perfect with
your performance and if not kept in check can stifle your talent,
such as strict expectations, fear of failure, anxiety, and
worrying too much about results.

I have found it very hard to convince athletes who want to be
perfect that it really does hold them back in sports. They resist
having to change behavior that has helped them achieved some past

One of the problems with perfectionism is you unknowingly adopt
very high expectations. Not achieving your expectation can result
in high frustration and feelings of failure.

A couple years ago, a top 10 NASCAR driver approached me with a
specific problem he was experiencing in races. He said that when
the race did not go according to plan, he would become very
agitated, frustrated, and lose confidence altogether.

It was clear to me that his past success as a driver was actually
working against him. Why? He had won races at every level of his
career and his main goal was to win races and contend. But as time
went on, his goals about winning turned into expectations about

He badly wanted to win races. His high expectations about winning
actually made him feel frustrated and helpless.

When something went wrong with the equipment, such as a flat tire,
this did not fit his expectations of winning or contending. An
athlete will likely become upset, frustrated, and even lose
confidence when he or she can't meet strict demands set for

Perfectionists think that maintaining strict expectations is what
every athlete should do because it sounds good and the other option
of accepting mediocrity - is unbearable! But I have a different take
on this...

If not reaching your expectations causes you to become frustrated
and lose composure - this will block you from achieving your full
potential in sports.

Thus, I teach my students (1) to identify and discard strict
expectations and (2) to let go of frustration so they can stay
composed after mistakes and perform in the present moment without
dwelling on the past.

High expectations is just one of eight mental breakdowns I teach
you how to overcome in my new mental training program, 'The Composed
Athlete: A 14-Day Plan for Maximum Composure' so you can perform
with poise in competition.

In my new program, I share all my secrets on how to become a
crunch-time performer by teaching you about the hidden perils of
trying to be too perfect AND seven other mental errors that
undermine composure.

Read more about "The Composed Athlete:"

Your Composure Coach,

Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.,
Master Mental Game Coach

P.S. members please login to the member page
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