ATHLETE PASSION AND PERFECTIONISM IN SPORT

Athlete Passion for Sport, Recreation and Exercise (SRE) Participation and Athlete Perfectionism in SRE are manifestations of Total Mindfulness, Undivided Conscious Attention and Perfect Concentration.

“Many years ago it dawned on Dr. Stankovich how important it is in life to have a passion and purpose, to be dedicated to the nth degree, and to have specific targets to shoot for in the big picture of life. He said he learned that without true passion (also loosely known as intrinsic motivation), it is extremely difficult to truly reach your full potential in life. Stankovich said he discovered through his travels that it is vitally important to clearly state goals and dedicate your life 100% toward your goals if you want to truly achieve great things.”

He continued, “Athletes with passion and purpose literally love being engaged in all aspects of their training.

“When athletes have passion and purpose, they quickly move through tough times and stay hungry for the next day.

“Their resiliency is seemingly hard-wired into their DNA, and they understand and accept that they will take their lumps along their way to greatness.

“Stress and failure are actually accounted for in the passionate athletes mind, and therefore quickly (and successfully) dealt with efficiently.

“The only thing you deserve is what you earn.” The author was not sure who first coined that phrase, but it is very telling and makes perfect sense.

“Passionate athletes know this, and don’t make excuses for their failures and shortcomings. Instead, they use each lesson as a building block to do it even better tomorrow. [The Importance of Passion & Purpose for Sport Success, Chris Stankovich, PhD, Advanced Human Performance Systems]

Perfectionism in sport and dance and contemporary models of perfectionism have been established . [Introduction to the special issue ANDREW P. HILL, PAUL R. APPLETON and HOWARD K. HALL}

Mental Toughness requires passion, perfectionism and total concentration. Turning to the research that supports these declarations, many interesting results contribute to these assements.

When exploring perfectionistic athletes’ perspectives 3 themes emerged: personal expectations, coping with challenge, and role of others. Although these themes were common to both healthy and unhealthy perfectionists, the content generally represented a dichotomy of positive and negative interpretations, respectively. [Intercollegiate perfectionistic athletes’ perspectives on achievement: Contributions to the understanding and assessment of perfectionism in sport JOHN K. GOTWALS and NANCY SPENCER-CAVALIERE]

Athletes with different perfectionist profiles (i.e., healthy and unhealthy perfectionism) measures of perfectionism and coping in sport, directly corresponded to a tripartite conceptualization of perfectionism that differentiates between healthy-, unhealthy-, and non-perfectionists.

Manova research revealed that healthy perfectionists reported the use of increased effort and active coping more frequently than unhealthy perfectionists, whereas unhealthy perfectionists reported the use of behavioral disengagement more frequently than healthy perfectionists. Results support the important role that perfectionism may play in the coping process and reinforce the need to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy profiles of perfectionism in sport. [A person-oriented examination of perfectionism and slump-related coping in female intercollegiate volleyball players JOHN G.H. DUNN, JANICE CAUSGROVE DUNN, VANIA GAMACHE and NICHOLAS L. HOLT]

The 2 × 2 model of perfectionism was examined to predict competition related stress variables in intercollegiate athletes and measures of sport perfectionism relationship between perfectionism, coping, and control appraisals.

Overall, the results indicated that pure personal standards perfectionism was associated with better outcomes than pure evaluative concerns perfectionism. Evaluative concerns are how observers evaluate an athlete’s accomplishment, performance, and suitability.

For most variables, evaluative concerns perfectionism was related to the poorest outcomes. How observers measured an athlete’s performance was less likely to improve an athlete’s performance.

The results indicate that the 2 × 2 model is a viable framework to evaluate the joint influences of perfectionism dimensions on the stress process.[Perfectionism and the stress process in intercollegiate athletes: Examining the 2 × 2 model of perfectionism in sport competition PETER R. E. CROCKER *, PATRICK GAUDREAU, AMBER D. MOSEWICH and KRISTINA KLJAJIC]

An athlete is defined as one who participates in SRE. Dancers are regarded as athletes by many. Dance is recreation and exercise and many dancers have coaches. Dancers are amateur and professional and practice relentlessly. In some more rare instances, dancers are sports participants.

“Another research postulated that different combinations in the 2 × 2 model of evaluative concerns and personal standards perfectionism contribute to 4 distinct perfectionism subtypes (or profiles) in dance (Cumming & Duda, 2012).

This research examined the hypothesis proposed by Gaudreau and Thompson (2010) that mixed perfectionism is more adaptive than pure evaluative concerns perfectionism because of the personal standards perfectionism dimensions that contribute to the mixed perfectionism profile, intrinsic motivation and fear of failure and indicators of self-evaluations (self-esteem and body dissatisfaction) between these and the other subtypes.) and perfectionism dimensions of personal standards, concern over mistakes and doubts about actions.

As all other athletes, dancers also responded to items assessing intrinsic motivation, fear of failure, self-esteem and body dissatisfaction. Differences between the 4 clusters established in Cumming and Duda (2012) in the criterion variables were revealed. Overall, findings provided partial support for each of the 4 hypotheses of the 2 × 2 model. [Profiles of perfectionism, motivation, and self-evaluations among dancers: An extended analysis of Cumming and Duda (2012) ELEANOR QUESTED, J. CUMMING and J.L. DUDA]

Research suggests that self-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism have unique and distinct motivational properties that are evident among junior athletes.

“Likewise, harmonious passions and obsessive passions encompass distinctive patterns of motivation.

In this research the possibility that self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism could be distinguished based on their relationship with harmonious and obsessive passion in junior athletes was examined.

“Youth sports completed measures of perfectionism and passion. Analyses indicated that self-oriented perfectionism predicted higher levels of both types of passion. In contrast, socially prescribed perfectionism predicted only obsessive passion.

The findings provide an initial indication that the motivational differences between self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism extend to the types of passion they engender.

The findings also provide additional insight into the patterns of motivation that are likely to arise from the two dimensions of perfectionism in junior athletes. [The relationship between multidimensional perfectionism and passion in junior athletes THOMAS CURRAN *, ANDREW P. HILL **, GARETH E. JOWETT *** and SARAH H. MALLINSON]

However, perfectionism in sport and dance is a “double-edged sword” and can result in bad and good outcomes. Additional research is needed to further advance our knowledge. [Perfectionism in Sport and Dance: A Double-Edged Sword JOACHIM STOEBER

“The role of perfectionism as a maladaptive factor in sports, dance and exercise behavior can be perils of perfectionism in sports and exercise. New findings illustrate the vulnerabilities of perfectionists and the various costs and consequences that can result from the inflexible and rigid pursuit of perfection and associated ways of evaluating the self and other people.

“While there is ample evidence of the potential destructiveness of perfectionism among athletes and dancers, we suggest that the current literature paints a more positive view of perfectionism than is warranted according to a person-centered view of the athlete or dancer who is highly perfectionistic.

“Better understanding of the costs and consequences of extreme perfectionism, including the mental well-being and physical health of perfectionistic athletes and their ability to cope with injuries is necessary.

“This research analysis emphasizes the self and identity issues that differentiate perfectionistic over-striving from a healthier form of striving for excellence.[The perils of perfectionism in sports revisited: Toward a broader understanding of the pressure to be perfect and its impact on athletes and dancers GORDON L. FLETT and PAUL L. HEWITT] [All the above research papers were published in the International Journal of Sport Psychology Volume 45 – n. 4 – July-August 2014]

“Isn’t it sweet when you lose yourself in the work you’re doing? You get the rush of real productivity, not just ‘busy work’. You have a strong feeling of purpose and completely lose track of time. Whether you call it concentration, focus, flow, or even work-induced trance, you have to admit it’s really an exhilarating feeling.”

“David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work, has discovered that we are truly focused on our work for a mere 6 hours per week. What’s more, Rock’s studies reveal that 90% of people do their best thinking outside of the office and most people focus best either in the morning or late at night.”

How so we concentrate on SRE or any other task for that matter? “Focusing on a task is a lot like focusing your vision. It is essentially a top-down process. When you make the decision to focus on something, your brain first takes in all the visual information and starts to process that information to tell you what you should focus on.

“It’s like looking at a painting or a photograph for the first time. When the image becomes clearer, then your brain will move in on one aspect that you want to pay attention to.

When you achieve that blissful kind of concentration where time slips by you, your perception of the world around you changes, allowing you to have a heightened ability to ignore outside stimuli. Unless…
[The science behind concentration and improved focus Dec 6, 2013 by Alina Vrabie]

As many words do, Poise has 1st, 2nd and 3rd and so definitions. Synonyms include grace, confidence, elegance, balance, equilibrium, balanced and suspended. But in this presentation, Poise is the ‘undivided attention, total possession and entire presence of mind’.

“The attitude of Poise demands perfect concentration, because all mental energies at that time are concentrated and are not scattered. Scattered energies are always lost. Masterfulness requires all mental energies are concentrated.

Just as the participants in the Masters Golf Tournament, masterfulness is celebrated and rewarded. Masters in SRE require superior dexterity, finesse, expertise, experience, talent, know-how, many other superlatives and are known as experts.

“To be able to focalize all the power of mind and body upon the one thing that we desire to accomplish during ‘the now’ is one of the greatest secrets of success.” For athletes Poise is “is even indispensable. No one can succeed without concentration. Perfect concentration is required for success.”

“Concentration is a state of consciousness that is not actual until it becomes permanent. Concentration requires a ‘wide awake mind’, ‘wide awake attention’, undivided attention, and full mental action, on where the attention is directed. [Poise and Power by Christian Daa Larson, Eternal Progress, 1907 – New Thought – 96 pages]

“Perfection is a state of completeness and flawlessness and used to designate a range of diverse often associated concepts. [ Władysław Tatarkiewicz, O doskonałości (On Perfection), 1976] [Tatarkiewicz, “Perfection: the Term and the Concept,” Dialectics and Humanism, vol. VI, no. 4 (autumn 1979), p. 5.] [Tatarkiewicz, “Perfection: the Term and the Concept,” Dialectics and Humanism, vol. VI, no. 4 (autumn 1979), p. 6.] [Tatarkiewicz, “Perfection: the Term and the Concept,” Dialectics and Humanism, vol. VI, no. 4 (autumn 1979), p. 7.] [Tatarkiewicz, “Perfection: the Term and the Concept,” Dialectics and Humanism, vol. VI, no. 4 (autumn 1979), p. 9.]

Where in the brain is the neuroanatomy for Perfectionism? “For the first time in 1978, perfectionism was considered as a personality trait by Hollender (Hollender, 1978).

Among the first definitions of perfectionism was the one provided by him as: “The practice of demanding of oneself or others a higher quality of performance than is required by the situation”. Two distinct dimensions are considered for perfectionism: the normal (or positive) perfectionism and neurotic (or negative) perfectionism.

“Different people around us behave and act differently in their life, because of their different genetics, cultures, motivations and the lifestyles.

“This relationship was investigated using voxel-based morphometry on the whole brain MRI images of 49 volunteers.

“Multiple regression analysis of the data revealed two regions of the brain that are positively correlated with the negative perfectionism scale. The regions were Left Precuneus and temporal thalamus. MRI scans are shown in this article for those readers interested : The brain regions significantly correlated with the negative perfectionism scale, as resulted from this study. Left scan: Thalamus. Right scan: The left precuneus.

The results of this study demonstrated that individual differences in negative perfectionism, correlates with individual differences in specific brain regions.

“It is previously shown that the activity in the posterior medial cortex including the precuneus increases when the participants cued to think about their duties and obligations.

“In addition, another study has shown that the gray matter volume in precuneus is correlated with persistence. Persistence is defined as the ability to maintain motivations internally, in the absence of immediate reward. People who achieve high persistence scores are generally hardworking, overachieving and perfectionist.

“Thalamus is mainly considered as a relay center that collects the sensory information and delivers them to the cerebral cortex. It has been shown that the gray matter volume at the thalamus has a positive correlation with the Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD).

“On the other hand, perfectionism is suggested as a risk factor for the development of OCD and it is known that OCD patients demonstrate some of the main perfectionism-related behaviors. [Perfectionism (psychology), Project Title, Investigation of the relationship betweeen brain structure and perfectionism using voxel-based morphometry on Magnetic Resonance Images by A. Karimizadeh, A. Mahnam, M.R. Yazdchi, A. Besharat]

“Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.[1][2] It is best conceptualized as a multidimensional characteristic, as psychologists agree that there are many positive and negative aspects.[3]

“In its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal while their adaptive perfectionism can sometimes motivate them to reach their goals. In the end, they derive pleasure from doing so. When perfectionists do not reach their goals, they often fall into depression.
[1. Stoeber, Joachim; Childs, Julian H. (2010). “The Assessment of Self-Oriented and Socially Prescribed Perfectionism: Subscales Make a Difference”. Journal of Personality Assessment. 92 (6): 577–585] [2. Flett, G. L.; Hewitt, P. L. (2002). Perfectionism. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. pp. 5–31.] [Yang, Hongfei; Stoeber, Joachim (2012). “The Physical Appearance Perfectionism Scale: Development and Preliminary Validation”. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. 34 (1): 69–83]

Perfectionists strain compulsively and unceasingly toward unobtainable goals, and measure their self-worth by productivity and accomplishment.[4] Pressuring oneself to achieve unrealistic goals inevitably sets the person up for disappointment. Perfectionists tend to be harsh critics of themselves when they fail to meet their standards.[Parker, W. D.; Adkins, K. K. (1995). “Perfectionism and the gifted”. Roeper Review. 17 (3): 173–176.]

“D. E. Hamachek in 1978 argued for two contrasting types of perfectionism: classifying people as tending towards normal perfectionism and neurotic perfectionism.

“Normal perfectionists are more inclined to pursue perfection without compromising their self-esteem, and derive pleasure from their efforts.

“Neurotic perfectionists are prone to strive for unrealistic goals and feel dissatisfied when they cannot reach them.

“Contemporary research supports the idea that these two basic aspects of perfectionistic behavior, as well as other dimensions such as “nonperfectionism”, can be differentiated.

“Others such as T. S. Greenspon disagree with the terminology of “normal” vs. “neurotic” perfectionism, and hold that perfectionists desire perfection and fear imperfection and feel that other people will like them only if they are perfect. [Hamachek, D. E. (1978). “Psychodynamics of normal and neurotic perfectionism”. Psychology. 15: 27–33] [ Rice, Kenneth G.; Ashby, Jeffrey S.; Gilman, Rich (2011). “Classifying adolescent perfectionists”. Psychological Assessment. 23 (3): 563–577.] [ Stoeber, Joachim; Otto, Kathleen (2006). “Positive Conceptions of Perfectionism: Approaches, Evidence, Challenges”. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 10 (4): 295–319.] [ Greenspon, T. S. (2008). “Making sense of error: A view of the origins and treatment of perfectionism”. American Journal of Psychotherapy. 62 (3): 263–282.] [Greenspon, T. S. (2007)What to do when good enough is not good enough: The real deal on perfectionism. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing.] [ Greenspon, T. S. (2002) Freeing Our Families From Perfectionism. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing.] [Greenspon, T. S. (2000). “”Healthy perfectionism” is an oxymoron! Reflections on the psychology of perfectionism and the sociology of science”. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education. XI: 197–208.]

The primary purpose of another research was “to determine whether adolescent athletes’ levels of sport burnout would be correlated with, or predicted by, their level and type of passion and the degree to which they identify with the athlete role. Measures for burnout, passion and athletic identity were completed by 218 high school female athletes attending summer camps.

“Based on research in the past and theory to date, it was hypothesized that obsessive passion would be positively related to burnout while harmonious passion would be negatively related to burnout.

“The research found that harmonious passion has been related to positive consequences and obsessive passion has been related to negative consequences. [THE ROLE OF ATHLETIC IDENTITY AND PASSION IN PREDICTING BURNOUT IN ADOLESCENT FEMALE ATHLETES by Eric Martin, A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Miami University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Department of Kinesiology and Health by Eric Martin Miami University Oxford, OH 2011]

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