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Nobody's Perfect

Even Lionel Messi is not perfect: So far in 2015 in 3 games played Messi has taken 18 shots and has missed the net 6 times (1 out of every 3 attempts). He scored on 3 of those attempts.

One of the biggest challenges for sports kids today is our society's view of achievement. We live in a world that rewards perfectionism in school, sports and work.

Coaches are often bewildered by their players' untapped physical talent.

They worry that their players are not fulfilling their potential.

Often players do not reach their potential because they are too hard on themselves, demand perfect performances, and unravel when they make mistakes.

Perfectionists are usually easy to spot. They are very hard - working athletes and usually are highly motivated, but often for the wrong reasons.

Top 8 Signs of Perfectionists

Here are the top eight signs of perfectionists. This can apply to players and coaches. They: 

  • Generally perform better in practice than game situations.
  • Want to excel badly, which makes them anxious and afraid of failing. 
  • Are afraid of making mistakes.
  • Worry too much about what other people think about them. 
  • Try too hard to ensure their performance is "perfect."
  • View performance as either good or bad, with no middle ground. 
  • Harbor unrealistic or very strict expectations about their performance.
  • Are fearful of letting others down if they make mistakes. Perfectionists have a double-edged mentality. They love to work hard and make their performance perfect. However, the same work ethic holds them back in competition because they want so badly to succeed.

Fear of failure causes them to fold under pressure.

 Source: Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn

8 Ways to Avoid Being a Perfectionist Coach

  • Do not make winning one of your team goals.
  • Keep expectations low: `Try your hardest, play a good team game, have fun and don`t be afraid to make mistakes`.
  • Do not discourage players when they make a mistake. Congratulate them on the attempt and provide constructive advice.
  • Keep the same positive, calm demeanour –win, lose or draw.
  • Make sure you treat all of your players the same-no favourites and no added pressure on one or two of your ``key players``.
  • Provide positive reinforcement when you see a player use good technique, show good sportsmanship, display a good work ethic, etc. Do not only reinforce goals and saves.
  • Do not shout out instructions to your players during matches (joystick coaching). They need to figure things out for themselves and this will make them afraid to attempt anything without your input.
  • Never limit a player`s choices. Ex. ``You are a defender, never dribble the ball up the field``.Tell your players to always strive to be the best they can be but remind them that even the greatest players in the world are not perfect.

“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”
― Vince Lombardi