"An athlete is a normal person with the gift of an undying passionto be the best and achieve greatness." AmandaRing
Over time most athletes are goingto suffer injury. It is a given. In an ideal world if you knew you were goingto be injured, it would be great to schedule the injury at the beginning of theoff-season. Unfortunately it rarely happens that way.
No matter when you are injured itis going to upset your life, training and season. The strategy is to deal withit in the best possible way. The goal is to return to play as quickly aspossible.
When faced with an injury, athletes respond in one of two ways. The levelof motivation determines how quickly an athlete returns to play. Responses rangefrom viewing the injury as a reason to take a break, nursing the injury for aslong as possible to the athlete who is determined to do what is necessary toquickly return to play.
Yes, some things just take time. There are, however, some things athletescan do to speed up the process. For athletes on the injured list mindset makesa difference. Motivation, attitude and commitment are powerful contributorshelping to speed up the healing process.
Specific characteristics help to speed up the healing process.
- Be actively involved in your healing process. Take responsibility foryour recovery. Instead of waiting for someone telling you what to do next askquestions, do research and find out what you can do to help the process along.
- Highly motivated athletes are fully committed to doing what is necessaryto return to play. A strong desire combined with faith in your body’s abilityto recover influences your outlook.
- The right support is critical. Surround yourself with people who supportyour desire and determination to heal quickly and return to play. Distanceyourself from the skeptics and critics.
- A strong positive attitude throughout the process helps to maintain focuson the goal and to minimize frustration.
- Imagery and visualization are powerful tools to speed up the recoveryprocess. Vividly visualize your bodies healing, your cells, ligaments, fascia,tendons and bones doing their job. See the injury healing, getting smaller andsmaller, as your body is repairing itself.
- Positive expectation of a full healing and successfully returning toplay. Believing something is possible lays the groundwork for success.
When your heart is set on healing in time for the event of a lifetime,there is no room for doubt. It was the belief of what was possible which pushedyou to excel in your sport. That attitude, and skill set, can be applied tohealing. The process is similar. It is something you already know how to do.
Although healing seems passive, it is a very active process. Constantactivity is occurring under the surface. Sitting on the sidelines is difficult.Instead of feeling sorry for yourself use this time to your advantage. Thereare ways to improve as an athlete which are overlooked when training.
- Become a student of technique. Watch training videos of yourself andother excellent athletes.
- Learn new performance techniques to reduce the risk of injury in thefuture.
- Rediscover your passion for your sport.
- Learn mindset strategies to keep you in the zone.
- Visualize training and competing. Strong, vivid visualization actuallyfires slow and fast twitch muscles. It is a way to remain conditioned wheninjured.
- Learn what you can to reduce the fear of re-injuring yourself.
Injury is always apossibility, but many athletes lose confidence with prolonged recovery times.The fear is an emotional response to a specific event. With the right tools itcan be easily overcome.
When using mental game strategies to create a positive mindset, athletesfocus on their full potential. A champion mindset makes a point of focusing onthe positive instead of the negative. Reframes are useful tools for shiftingperspective around from negative to positive. In fact with reframes the endresult is usually the same. Changing to a positive focus shifts an athlete’s attitudefrom passive to active.
Activity: Athletes are used to setting performance goals, along with milemarkers, to maintain high performance. Use the same strategy for recovery. Setlong term goals with benchmarks along the way to stay focused on healing andquickly returning to play.
In fact challenge yourself. See if you can decide on an earlier return toplay date than expected. Stretch yourself a little and see if you are up to thechallenge to mentally focus on what is possible to heal as quickly as possible.Making a decision, then acting with intention to do whatever is necessary,influences outcome driven goals.
Have you been training for an important event and ended up with aninjury, throwing everything off course? It is easy to become discouraged.Winning athletes look for opportunities to move beyond the current obstacle.Apply this principle to take charge of the healing process.