When parents, peers/fans, and coaches knowingly or unknowingly place an athlete on a pedestal, that athlete does everything they can to keep from falling off.
That athlete begins to fear that they will no longer be liked as much, valued as much, or accepted if they fall off the proverbial pedestal that we as “sports fans” place them on.
The begin to place their internal self-worth in their sport and their athletic ability.
Do you believe those 3 short paragraphs above to be true?
That is what happened to Maddy Holleran. A beautiful, popular, humble, talented, happy collegiate athlete on a scholarship who ended up taking her own life. Her story, one that EVERY high school and collegiate student should watch to avoid similar pitfalls, can be seen on Youtube here→
The full story can be read on ESPN here→ http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12833146/instagram-account-university-pennsylvania-runner-showed-only-part-story
Many people believe that what happened to Maddy was the result of HER putting too much pressure on herself to be perfect. They say she was not able to accept when things were not perfect.
While she may had high expectations and standards, it does not change the fact that coaches, parents, and peers/fans can still do THEIR part to avoid putting an athlete up on a proverbial pedestal.
Perfect is unattainable, athlete. Don’t aim at it. Aim at progress. Give your best at all you do, and WHEN you fail, remember that you fell 10 times on your bike before you learned how to ride it.
And when things get tough, ask for help. You need a true friend, counselor, coach, or someone you can let your guard down with. Someone who you can turn to when things inevitably go south.
To avoid massive frustration, disappointment, and the depression that often comes from crushed expectations, do yourself a favor and do a little reflection. Ask yourself the following “deep reflection questions”:
Am I lacking joy playing my sport? Did I used to like it more? What are the possible reasons for this change?
Am I too focused on the things I am NOT doing well?
Am I giving myself enough credit for how far I have come?
Am I comparing myself and my life to a standard of perfection that can’t be reached?
What am I running towards, really?
What would the PERFECT sports, school, and social life look like? How long would the happiness last if I achieved that perfection?
What would be the benefit of opening up to a coach, counselor, or friend about how I am feeling?
Parent, please talk with your athlete about these questions. About this topic. If YOU find yourself a bit too wrapped up in the world of sports excellence, there is a good chance your athlete will develop some level of anxiety or perfectionism because of it.
Do not forget that sports are temporary. They are meant to teach life lessons. They are meant to be fun, competitive, and inspiring. The point is not to be perfect, it is to be better than you were yesterday. If your athlete trains at PFP, we remind them regularly. And it's produced over 50 collegiate athletes in 3 years.
When athletes are reminded of these things, they almost always play better. Isn’t that the goal?
Increased performance, improved character, and a lifelong passion for sports and athletics. If that’s the goal, let’s take a step towards it today and increase our communication with our athletes.
Dedicated to your athlete's success,
Coach Andrew Simpson
Do you want a more confident, courageous athlete who becomes a leader someday?
I am thinking about running a One-Day Mindset Performance Masterclass for athlete’s in August. Particularly for upper high-school to college aged athletes. Teaching them how to overcome the Perfectionist Mentality, escape the Comparison Trap, and Strengthen their Mindset to perform to peak potential consistently and joyfully. Reply if you are interested in this.