Whether we are talking about a physical injury or a mental one, this is a performer’s nightmare and it applies just the same to sports that aren’t normally dangerous.
Having worked with thousands of athletes I know being injured is one of most athletes’ biggest fears and understandably so. You don’t only lose playing time when you are injured, but for a lot of athletes and performers it feels like they are losing their identity and their group they belong to.
Although coming back from an injury can be a extremely stressful, it does not have to be! In this video, Craig, the mental toughness trainer explains a sport injury treatment that focuses on using your mind to recover…
Most serious athletes and have experienced an injury playing their sport. The healing from physical pain is only one part of the rehab process they must go through.
The psychological fear and pain caused by the injury and the temporary or permanent loss of not being able to play the sport can be far more devastating than anything broken, torn or shattered.
Unless the psychological pain is directly addressed and “treated”, the return to “normal” will be slower and possibly incomplete.
Being out of commission, affects an athlete’s identity and self esteem. If the coaches and parents aren’t sensitive to these very critical mental issues, it could cause further trauma to the athlete and slow down the recovery process.
Listen to: High School Sports Injuries
A Unique Sport Injury Treatment – Use Your Mind To Help Recover
One night during a game, she dove for a save and injured her ankle. As she stood up she found she could not stand on her foot. With tears streaming down her face, she was helped off the court.
Having always been tough as nails, she thought she would be back within a few weeks, but as it turned out she missed the rest of the season.
As the reality of her situation sunk in, her spirits took a big dive. For the first time in her life, Nancy felt fear and doubt in the back of her mind constantly. She had always taken it for granted she was superior to her competitors and felt assured she had a future playing on a college team. Now she was not so sure.
You see she had put a lot of stock in her identity as a top-notch volleyball player and having it literally disappear over night was shocking. She was frustrated she could not play and worried if she would even be able to “comeback” at all.
Parents, this is perfectly normal. At a time when most kids are struggling to get to know who they really are, playing sports fulfills multiple emotional needs. It’s how they fit in, develop their own self-efficacy and form their perception of worth as a person.
After months of painful rehab, Nancy was physically ready to play, but something was still holding her back. She knew the fear wasn’t rational, because she had completely healed. She was a gifted athlete and knew what she was supposed to do tactically, like the back of her hand.
But as she explained to her coach, she now had a fear that she just couldn’t shake and, in practice, her coach noticed the difference too.
Instead of brushing it off and telling her to “put it out of her mind”, her coach really listened to her and sent her to see me.
The first thing we worked on was her focus, or, her dominant thoughts. She had spent the last half-year thinking about her ankle and her rehab and wondering if she could ever play the same as she used to.
Hundreds of doubting thoughts over a period of time, starts to “condition” your mind and I knew we had to reverse that before doing anything else.
I had her go back to the reasons why she started playing volleyball in the first place and we came up with a mantra she could repeat over and over that corrected her focus.
The next step was to help her release all those stored up difficult emotions resulting from her sports injury and the setback to her career. Telling herself simply to just “let it go” would not cut it!
The work has to be done at a cellular level, where the emotions literally get stuck. This is why we use guided visualizations in our training and it worked wonders for her. She told me how light and free she felt afterwards.
By working to clear her mental interference and teaching her an effective sports mental rehearsal process to literally “see” herself achieving her goals, she told me that she felt like she had pushed the “reset” button in her mind.
She gradually began to “trust” her knee and body again and went on to a stellar season.
A year later, realizing her dream of playing college ball, she told me that the lessons she had learned from using her mind to come back in volleyball, helped her in bouncing back from a lost relationship.
She was so excited, she was now teaching other players the tools she learned for herself and her coach had called her out in front of her teammates for that leadership. She became very popular in school and on the team as a result.
Having worked with hundreds of kids and adults in person and through our online Mental Toughness Training, I found ALL athletes experience major difficulty, fears, doubts and setbacks in their sport. How they come through it all, OR NOT has far-reaching, lifelong effects on all aspects of their life.
Doubt, worry and fear don’t stay locked in the sports arena, they creep into all areas of our lives.
It is crucial to address these fears and setbacks as soon as possible, so they do not become lifelong issues that hold your athletes back in other areas of their life.
Are you still struggling with an injury that is holding you back? Feel free to ask Craig, the mental toughness trainer any questions in the comments below.
Welcome to the Winner’s Circle!
I’m Craig Sigl, Mental Toughness Trainer for Youth Athletes