Getting Back In the Game After Injury: It’s What’s Happening Between Your Ears That Matters!
© Winning Edge Psychological Services, LLC
You have completed surgery, finished physical therapy or chiropractic care and been cleared to return to play. You are physically ready. However, you are worried about getting hurt again – you can’t stop thinking about what might go wrong. At practice you find yourself hesitant to go full speed, you worry about jumping, stopping, cutting hard – worrying that you might get hurt again!
These are common worries of athletes in all sports who are injured and return to play. Just because your orthopedic surgeon has cleared you to play or the physical therapist says you are ready, does not mean you feel mentally and emotionally ready to play.
At Winning Edge we work with injured athletes at all levels from high school to professional. An NHL hockey player who had shoulder surgery was afraid of being checked – fearing that his shoulder would pop out. His worries got in the way of his ability to focus on the ice, focus on the puck and play hockey. He found himself worrying on ice about getting hurt instead of seeing the puck and following the plays on ice. We used self-awareness tools to help create a means to know where his emotions were taking him. We developed breathing and muscle relaxation routines that helped him feel emotionally and physically in control at practice and games. We then worked on focus cues as well as clear and simple practice goals that helped him direct his energy and focus while on the ice.
By layering together these mental skills together, we developed a plan where he felt in control emotionally and physically. Feeling in control allowed the feeling of confidence to grow and subsequently focus to return. The mental skills we teach are tools that we utilize with athletes of all ability levels.
Being mentally ready is critically important for return to play. If the athlete is not mentally ready they may carry more muscle tension in their body at practice and in games, be hesitant on the field/court/ice, and be more prone to making mistakes.
At Winning Edge we understand the emotional and mental process of injury, rehabilitation and returning to competition. Let us help you return to play with confidence and intensity. Worries are a normal part of the process of returning to play; however, we don’t want the worries to dominate what is happening on the field/court.
Give us a call or send us an email to start the process of getting you back into competition at full speed!