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Jul 16

How to Mentally Cope with Injury for Athletes

Coping with an injury is challenging on your mind as well as your body. How you handle it can go a long ways as far as the impact it has on you in the course of the recovery process up until the time you get back to battling again. There are some approaches I used when treating my own personal injuries that I noticed as being powerful and know could assist others.

Before the basketball season of my junior year of college, I suffered a serious hip injury that included of a torn labrum, a bone spur, and cartilage damages that mandated extensive surgical treatment. The rehabilitation process was tedious and seemed infinite at times. I saw many doctors a week to have my progress tracked and be given treatment followed by eight months of actual therapy before I could even play basketball again. I had to redshirt my entire junior season but I could still imagine myself on the court with my teammates.

You should begin proper training for your sport again as soon as your physician permits you to. Among the very best ways to rehabilitate an injury is by carrying out something you enjoy. This is important mentally as well as physically as you will not only like to compete again, but you will slowly start to feel like you can compete again. When your mind and body start to coordinate again, you will know you’re prepared to compete. At first, my rehab consisted of upper body exercises. In addition to this I viewed game film and visualized what it would be like and what I would do if I was playing in those games I studied.

While watching your team play, strive to image yourself playing in the game . This technique, referred to as visualization, does not require physical engagement , but can help you stay psychologically sharp when it pertains to the principles of your sport and even physically sharp as you strengthen your muscle memory. The popularity of making use of visualization usually begins at the college level, but it can certainly be used by any athlete at any age if they are willing to learn the best way to make use of it. Imagine yourself as one of your teammates that plays the same position and visualize what you would most likely do similarly and what you would do differently. This mental exercise can keep your mind and body in tune to your sport to ensure you are more ready and able to perform when you come back from your injury. When I was finally able to physically do what I had mentally pictured being able to do, the transition will felt very natural and I believe I was able to come back better than before in some very crucial aspects.

Especially in team sports, it is necessary to always remember to be encouraging of your team and be as spirited as possible when you are on the sidelines watching them. As badly as I liked to be back on the court, I tried to stay focused on being a good teammate in any way I could because I knew that I would want my teammates to do the same for me.

When dealing with an injury sometimes your mind starts to wander, dreading the rehabilitation process or envisioning worst case scenarios. I remember consciously making myself keep my thoughts in check. One thing that helped me a lot was the simple but true idea that everything happens for a reason. Rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of my injury, this mantra enabled me to turn my injury into a positive.

It can be difficult to stay mentally “into it” when you are not physically “into it”. This is a great time to mentally train for your sport, thinking about and appreciating details that you might otherwise not have taken the time to notice. A enormous component of any sport is mental and it is just as important to grow mentally at your sport as it is physically. Not only can using techniques such as visualization help keep your mind involved in the game, it can help you return stronger and faster than before.

For more great information on how to mentally recover from injury visit the blog of Basketball player Adam Folker.

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