High expectations; perfectionism and difficulty in dealing with defeat, makes it harder for people to deal with making mistakes in peformance. Nevertheless, the one thing we can guarantee in sport, is that we will make mistakes regardless if you are a top class athlete or an amateur. In football, even the top class players who are earning millions, fail more than they succeed, with Messi having a dribbling completion rate of 40%. To me and to many, he is probably the worlds best dribbler. However, what makes him the best? The fact that even if he does not succeed, he tries and tries again. Some players when they make a mistake, lose seconds, minutes and even hours of their game from not being mentally tough and dealing instantly. Throwing hands in air, critisisng self, getting annoyed - all take seconds out of your recovery when you could be responding both positively and instantly - winning the ball back, encouraging self and others, using mistakes as motivation to challenge self.
The best players in the world are those who can shrug off mistakes, let it go and continue to play in the moment. Of course it is natural as athletes to be disappointed when we don't do our best, always striving to be better but we also have to have realistic expectations of ourselves and have satisfaction in peformance and achievement. Being a perfectionist limits the glory you could have in accomplishment. With realistic self reflection, we can keep confidence but also be motivated for improvement when things don't go our way.
Everyday be the best you and work on positive ways of dealing with mistakes and defeat. You can strive to be the best, work hard to achieve but also find satisfaction in the things you have achieved. Always remember your strengths and that your sport is something you do and not who you are. Be the best person you can be, embrace your successes and this will help improve your sporting world.
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.