Striving For Excellence in Gymnastics
How do you perform when you HAVE to get a high score?
How do you approach that routine?
Do you try to pull off a perfect routine in order to get a top score?
There are major consequences with this mindset.
When you feel you HAVE to perform to a certain level or you need to be perfect all the time:
- You ratchet up the pressure.
- You don’t feel good enough, no matter how well you perform.
- You find it difficult to handle any kind of criticism.
- You constantly put yourself down.
- You become so afraid to fail that you freeze in competitions or make the same mistakes repeatedly.
- You fall short of your goals and become frustrated and agitated.
- You have problems with self-confidence and self-esteem.
- You lose your passion for the sport.
Perfectionism is not the same as striving for excellence. Striving for excellence is a matter of setting the bar realistically high while perfectionism is setting the bar at an unrealistic and unattainable height.
Trying to be perfect is a constant source of stress. Perfection allows for no errors, mistakes or bobbles.
With a perfectionist mentality, the learning process is disrupted. Rather than seeing a mistake in a routine as feedback for future improvement, a mistake is seen as failure or lack of ability. In that sense, perfectionism leads to failure, not excellence.
“Perfectionism is the enemy” is the mindset of the gymnasts on UCLA women’s team.
Even though UCLA hit a rough patch and came up short against two highly-ranked opponents, the team kept shooting for excellence rather than perfection.
In UCLA’s meet against No. 3 Utah, the Bruins were down by a small margin heading into the final rotation. Sophomore Felicia Hano was confident prior to her routine on the floor.
Many gymnasts may believe they need to pull off the “perfect” routine to help their team, but Hano was poised and focused on performing a solid routine.
HANO: “(Junior) Katelyn (Ohashi) pulled me aside and talked to me. She told me, ‘Don’t worry about it. Do your normal. Because our normal is what’s going to get a good score.’ I didn’t feel any pressure.”
Eliminate the word “perfect” from your vocabulary and replace it with the term “excellence.”
Shooting for excellence still requires that you train and prepare at a high level and, also, aggressively “go for it” in your routines.
Striving for excellence will take you farther and help you accomplish more in gymnastics than shooting for perfection.
How to Have an Excellence Mindset:
Define what excellence means to you and understand that it’s not about being perfect.
When you execute a clean routine in practice, what does that look like? Don’t focus on the best routine you have done in practice, but rather a good routine.
Use the skills you have the day of competition, which will never be perfect because you are always trying to improve upon your current skills.
What All Gymnasts Must Know to Overcome Perfectionism
- How your mind can be your best or worst asset in competition
- If perfectionism is holding you back from reaching your peak
- The top 6 perfectionist mindsets that sabotage success
- How to use perfectionism to your advantage, not your demise
What are gymnasts saying?
“I am so grateful for your insights and experience. My focus is sharp and I feel relaxed but ready to meet whatever challenge comes up. If I make a mistake, I am able to let it go and move on immediately. You have really helped me a lot to get back on track and get things going again.”
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Boost Your Self-Confidence And Focus With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
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You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students and parents saying?
“It was amazing!!! Before the show, I really felt like I was becoming the part. I was oddly calm, which concerned me because I thought my nerves might kick in on stage! But, they didn’t! I stayed focused in each moment, and remained calm, and actually did the difficult tricks better than I ever have! My coaches were all so proud of me and the one who I know the best was marveling at my calm, poised manner throughout the ballet. They said it seemed like I was doing it for the 15th time, I looked so comfortable. This is the result of my work with you! You gave me the tools to tackle this huge mountain of a role, step by step! I am beyond happy!”
~Professional Ballerina, Student of Dr. Cohn in 2013“