Sports Performance and Competition

by Katie Harrison
(New Port, California)

I play volleyball on a gold, division 1 team and last year i had an injury that put me out for 10 months. This season coming back in i was little behind the pack skill wise and a new player had come in and taken my position as a starting player. It is a very competitive time and my parents don't know when to lay off and always have talks that i'm not one of the better players on the team...if i don't become a starter again they want me to quit.

On the other hand they are having marital problems and almost to the point of divorce. Having two older sisters who are very very successful in school and in life. I hate being home and never feel like i am good enough at home or on the team that i have been with for 5 years.

Talking to my coach about improving and he just says he's surprised how i have not improved like the other players...forgetting to consider i was out last club season and all high school. So I feel worse.

When i try to tell my dad I would rather not be compared to other players or just give up on the obstacles trying to catch up. He gets mad and says " You will listen to me" and meddles with my coach even though my coach and I both have told my parents it's not the parents job to communicate about players it MY job.

Ben's Answer:

All I can say Katie, is that your parents should be encouraging you to play (if you want to play), not telling you to quit if you can't be a starter. This idea of competitiveness and not being on the team if you're not the best, is a lot of BS.

Can everyone on the team be the BEST? You were out for 10 months with an injury. And you had the courage to get back in and play again. Isn't anyone recognizing your efforts?

I say, do it for yourself and nobody else - not your coach, or your parents. If you enjoy playing, then do it for you.

Perfectionism is a road to misery. You're much better off learning that lesson while you're young. Just learn to enjoy what you do, no matter what it is. It's not all about winning and dominating. There's much more to life.

Trust your own feelings and instincts.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

P.S. Although the most important thing here is to be easy on yourself - I will say that Meridian Tapping/EFT is an excellent technique to use - not only for your own self-esteem and negative emotions, but also can greatly improve sports performance. It's like a secret weapon when used to break through your own physical and mental limitations.

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