Sport Stadium


In sport, we are judged on every aspect of our performance. While striving for your best is a natural and necessary part of competing, perfectionism can become toxic and lead to poor mental health. In fact, perfectionism has been linked to a number of mental health conditions.

It is important to recognise when your perfectionism is becoming problematic. Ask yourself some of the below questions, which may be signs of this;

  • Are you unable to regulate negative emotions when you do ​not meet a target or goal?

  • Do you find yourself obsessing over achieving aims?

  • Are the aims you set often unattainably high?

  • Do you often feel like you are not good enough?

  • Do you find it difficult to be flexible around your goals?

  • Do you equate your value and self-worth only with what you achieve in the sporting field?

  • Do you feel constant anxiety about your performance?

Here are some tips for letting go of perfectionism;

  • Remove yourself from the competition. But not literally! In a competitive sport, there is no avoiding competition, but try to refocus yourself to remember the pleasure of competing, and try and think of your technical performance rather than the outcome

  • Do a reality check. Often perfectionism becomes toxic when we set unrealistic expectations of ourselves

  • Don't be afraid to value mistakes - they are, after all, the biggest learning points

  • Break down your large goals into smaller ones, and permit yourself to celebrate the small success en-route to your overall aim

  • Make your wellbeing a priority and recognise when you are burning yourself out

Please note, this information is not intended to encourage people to self-diagnose. Please seek help from a medical professional if you feel that you need support with your mental health.

If you need urgent mental health support please contact Samaritans on 116 123. If your life is in danger, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. There is no shame in asking for help.