Benefit or Hindrance to High-Performance Mental Well-Being

Perfectionism has increased in sport at a disturbing rate since the covid lockdown mandates, with anxiety, worry, and fear creating a mental health well-being issue among youth athletes.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest distractions of competitive focus and has been shown to be devastating to confidence, performance, and ultimately success.

And so today we’re talking perfectionism. What it is, how it affects our mental health and how it interferes with you achieving your goals, and ways we can manage it for better more enjoyable performance.

What is your definition of perfectionism? You will probably be surprised to learn what being “a perfectionist” actually means.

Perfectionists like to wear that label like it’s a badge of honour, something to be proud of, I know, I used to wear that badge proudly myself, but what is perfectionism really?

Benefit or Hindrance?

So what is perfectionism?

In sport, the definition of perfectionism is having a very strict and often unrealistic standard of performance demanded of oneself.

The need to be perfect leaves athletes feeling less confident in their abilities when they fall short of perfect, fueling self-doubt and creating more hesitant performances.

So perfectionism is more about avoiding making mistakes or being seen as less than perfect than it is about striving for perfection.

Striving for excellence, striving for improvement, and becoming the best version of yourself is a healthier mindset. Having this motivation is beneficial in sticking to a routine and putting in the hard work necessary for success. However, a perfectionist will find a way to take even this mindset to the extreme, creating for themselves negative consequences.

This extreme obsession with doing your best is referred to as perfectionism and is a vicious cycle of never being satisfied because the bar for “your best is always moving.”

So, it’s a slippery slope from being competitive and striving for excellence to the pursuit of perfection.

Striving to reach a goal is part of being competitive, and in a sport where performance is judged the need to perform flawlessly creates even more pressure but training towards performing clean and to your best is different than expecting perfection and that expectation takes the mind off what you are doing and puts it on the result and outcome, often what is out of your control creating anxiety and ultimately interfering with performance.

Not all athletes strive for perfection as they seek to improve. What I see as one of the biggest differences is one is still enjoying what they do while they work hard to achieve their goals compared to the athlete that becomes more and more frustrated, stressed, and feeling anxious, or depressed when things don’t go as expected. And for me, that is a major difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection.

Striving for excellence with the understanding that you will need to make a lot of mistakes on the way to achieving your goals is a much healthier mindset.

If you or your athlete struggle with perfectionism connect with me at for a free consultation and let’s talk strategies!

This is the first in a new series focusing on perfectionism as it is a growing issue in sports, especially in judged sports like figure skating and gymnastics, and since the lockdowns of covid mandates, perfectionism is showing up at an alarming rate in youth sport and contributing to and increased unhealthy mental well-being.

Connect with me at:
And don’t forget to listen to my “The Anti-Fragile Mindset” podcast

Email me at: with your comments, questions, and stories of how perfectionism has helped or hurt your sports journey, or if you would like to know more about how mental coaching can help you overcome perfectionism and help you compete with confidence and joy email me for a free consultation. I look forward to hearing from you and join me each week as I tackle this important topic!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: