Updated: Dec 13, 2019
As athletes, one of the largest threats to an athletic career is an injury. Nothing screams frustration much like an off-season of intense training, a pre-season of strategic planning and technical development, and an excitement for the much anticipated in-season, only to receive an injury that takes you out of the game…or even worse, ends your career!
The mental and emotional aspects of a sport are much like this. As athletes, it is often in our nature to power through the mental and emotional aspects of our game, to “suck it up and be tough,” to drop any distractions at the door as not to interfere with practices or games. It is inevitable that life will throw you injuries. Maybe it is a broken family situation, a distorted self-identity, a death of a loved one, or even deep rooted fear or anxiety from a past or present situation (whether real or perceived as real)…whatever it is, we all face life injuries. Many individuals, even professionals, will provide many tools to improve mental focus, key phrases to block unhealthy thoughts or emotions, imagery practices to place you in “game time situations.” From my experience, however, this is often an “ACE bandage” or “Icy Hot,” with the true injury still below the surface. It is not until an athlete faces the injury, experiences the pain in the healing process, and often takes more time than desired does true recovery happen.
What happens when we truly invest in therapy and take the time to heal our injuries? We are often humbled, realize there is more to life than just the sport, and learn so much more about ourselves. When something is taken away, even for just a short time, we realize how thankful we are for the athletic ability, team, or opportunity to play sport. By facing the therapeutic process, it also often frees us to perform at a higher level. When the bandages are finally taken off, a weight is lifted, making us stronger and faster.
How did my high school track career end? I finally humbled myself to the healing process, which took much more time than desired…through my sophomore season. But the full recovery freed me to have faster junior and senior seasons than I imagined.
Let me ask you…are you or any of the athletes on your team bandaging life injuries that only therapy and time can heal? Have you been given tools to improve your mental or emotional focus but know there is much more below the surface? Do you want to be freed to perform at a higher level? I would love to be of assistance to you or your team!