“Strive for perfection” is a saying most volleyball players have heard at some point in their career.
The phrase is meant to keep pushing their limits. It seems like that strive for perfection would motivate players to be their best selves.
Contrary to what many believe, perfectionism de-motivates players and erodes a player’s confidence.
You may be thinking, “How in the world is that possible? I want to be the best volleyball player I can be!”
Being the best you can be and being perfect are entirely different.
Being the best you can be requires growth. Growth is the process of learning new skills and improving current abilities.
Shockingly enough, the greatest educators are the mistakes you make. Mistakes give you feedback on what you need to change or improve upon.
It is learning from mistakes that makes you a better player.
In essence, growth is being better today than yesterday.
Alternately, the concept of perfection is completely different.
Perfection is being totally without fault.
Everything can be improved.
When you hear a coach say, “That was a flawless serve,” or, “That bump was perfect,” do you think the coach means, “That serve cannot be improved at all,” or, “That bump cannot be possibly be better!”
Not at all! What your coach means is that play was EXCELLENT.
Excellence is the quality of being outstanding.
Excellence is, also, a process that builds confidence with each improvement.
On the other hand, perfection is a mark that is missed every time.
If you failed to hit a target 100 percent of the time, what would happen to your confidence?
Would you still be motivated, even when you failed to achieve perfection with every attempt?
USA Volleyball player and Olympic Medalist Kelsey Robinson understands the difference between perfection and excellence.
Robinson talked about how her volleyball career progressed and how her growth mindset helped her improve her game.
ROBINSON: “Patience and learning. I’m competitive, passionate, and driven and often that comes with the mindset that I want to be perfect or I want everything now. After four years of being pro, I’m changing more and developing skills that I haven’t had. I’ve changed my mindset to being open to learning and being aware of the process. Being great doesn’t happen overnight and it’s a journey that doesn’t stop once you’ve accomplished something. There’s always something to be learned.”
For you to develop as a volleyball player and achieve more in your sport, it is important to adopt a growth mindset similar to that of Robinson.
The first step in developing your growth mindset is to eliminate the word “perfection” from your athletic vocabulary.
Next, look for ways every day to advance your game. Little improvements over time will add up to BIG results.
Coach Kat’s Power Points:
It can be difficult to overcome perfectionism, especially if it is something you have lived with for many years.
It is important that you start challenging the notion that perfection is the ultimate benchmark.
Look at ways perfectionism has held you back from developing as an athlete.
If you truly desire to grow your game, adopt a GROWTH MINDSET!