How To Measure and Control Perfectionism?

Perfectionism in Dancing

One of the biggest assets but at the same struggles of ballroom and latin dancers is perfectionism. If they aren’t born with a natural inclination towards perfectionism, for sure dancesport will develop it for them. 

Due to the fact that adjudicators pay attention to the whole package of a dance couple, the dancers need to pay attention to a lot of aspects. For example, they not only have to master the physical performance but also the artistry and musicality. Furthermore, their image – composed of costumes, make-up, tan and hair – need to be perfect. 

Dr. Jerry Lynch – Coach, Mentor, and Teacher 

But how can we measure our perfectionism so that it will not take a toll on our mental state? For this, we had Dr. Jerry Lynch as a guest on our podcast to explain how we can control perfectionism. 

You Aren’t a God

Dr. Jerry Lynch, being a mentor and a coach for athletes, assures us that the element of perfectionism is present in every sport and in every element of performance. He views it as a trap because we always tend to ask ourselves why don’t we do things perfectly. The answer is simple: we’re not God. 

“It's something like if I were a God, yes, I could have been perfect. But I’m not a God. I’m a human being. And not a human doing, as I like to say.”

The Focus on Outcomes

The reason why athletes, including dancers, are obsessed with perfectionism is that they’re focusing on outcomes and results. They have high expectations from themselves and their partners. The issue with focusing on outcome and results is that to a certain extent, you cannot control them.

“An athlete, or a dancing athlete, has to understand that their performance is not controllable. You can influence it, but you cannot control it... If you could control the outcome, then why isn’t every dance recital perfect?”

The Brain Influences the Body

When we’re focusing on outcomes and results, we also know we cannot control that. Dr. Jerry Lynch explains that when we try to control the results by being perfect, our body gets tight and tense. We cannot dance beautifully and be tight, tense, stressed and anxious. 

The Control of Perfectionism

“So my way of helping a dance athlete is to get that athlete to focus on all the little things, which I call “the essential absolutes”, all the essential little things, one of which is preparation, of course. But in the performance itself, what are the little things that you can control?”

Dr. Jerry Lynch’s advice for dancers is to do the little things – the essential absolutes, how he calls them – brilliantly, rather than doing the big things marginally.

“So you have these little things that you bring into your dance and this is what you’re going to focus on whether is your breathing, your movement, your eye contact. Now what happens is “Wow I can control those things”. Yes, you can and now you start to relax, you start to feel a little bit calmer and more focused. Your confidence goes up”

So, as a dancer, of course, you still need to master all of those things we discussed at the beginning of the article. Nevertheless, when it comes to your performance on the competition dancefloor, don’t let perfectionism become the enemy!


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I've started dancing when I was 9 years old and it has been a part of me ever since. I love to surround myself with everything dancesport related. Now I get to experience the world of dancing through a writer's lens.

Tags: competitions dancesport Jerry Lynch sport psychology

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