Mental Strength, Injuries and Peak Athletic Performance

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Here is the sixth part in our series on Mental Strength and High Intensity Athletic Performance.

In previous sections, we have explore:
• Being Aware
• Getting Back In Control
• Mastering Negative Thinking and Self Doubt
• Building the Self-Confidence of a Champion
• Motivation
• Dealing with Set-backs

When you are doing any kind of high intensity athletic performance, such as CrossFit, you are most likely going to experience an injury sooner or later.

I am in no way saying this will happen for certain. There are many players who do make it through their career and never have an injury or an illness of any kind. However, as an athlete that is working on their high intensity athletic performance, you do need to be prepared in the event this happens, so you can work through the mental and emotion aspects of things.

When the injury happens, you will need to use your mental strength to focus on the positive and to explore new ways to enhance your performance.

Perhaps most important to remember, is that an injury or illness never happens at a good time. You can’t plan for them, like you can for your off season training. They can hit you on the field or when you are doing your CrossFit routine. You just need to use your mental strength and trust it to get you back on track.

So what does your sport actually do for you>

• It offers you a sense of identity. You are an athlete, you own your position.
• Major benefits – This helps to boost your self-esteem that carries over to other areas of your life. It also allows you to take recognition for accomplishments of your team.
• This allows a constructive way for you to deal with your stress and anger.

Playing your sport and doing your CrossFit routine also provides you with a great deal of benefits that go beyond the ones mentioned above. When you end up with a setback, it can put everything in jeopardy.

When you are sidelined, you might experience an identity confusion. This could cause you to feel depressed, isolated and like you no longer fit in. You may even question your value.

Unlike when you were physically capable of working through things, you can’t at this time and you can’t turn to a high intensity athletic performance like CrossFit to help you to regain your focus.

Instead, you may want to look at these 10 mental strength tips and use them to rebound and help you to begin training your mind to regain your peak athletic performance.

1. Embrace being sad and allow you to feel for the loss. It is okay to share this feeling with those around you and to own the feeling.

2. Accept it for what it is. There is no use to look at what could or should have been. Deal with the injury or illness in the moment and own it.

3. Begin to set new goals that are realistic. You may need to set a new way to measure your success. When you experience a setback, it is okay to reevaluate your goals and to do it again and again as needed.

4. Keep up your positive attitude, no matter what. You might not realize it, but this is a critical part of the healing process. Positive thinking is a critical part of the healing process. Both your mind and body are connected and when you embrace the positive, it is easier for you to go through the healing process.

5. Being active in your healing is also an important thing to keep in mind. When you are with your physical therapist and they are working with you, be active and focus on the healing process. Then each day, imagine positive healing in the area that is affected. You can use your mind to help your body to heal and to mend, while it becomes stronger over time. Just like you would envision yourself being stronger during your CrossFit routine to press yourself harder and to thrive during your high intensity athletic performance, envisioning your healing can truly help the healing process.

6. Don’t let your injury or illness sideline you. Keep doing your work out and practice routine as much as you can. If you can’t use your legs, work on the rest of your body. This helps you to avoid becoming too weak in other areas and when you are ready, you don’t have the entire body to focus on getting back into shape.

7. Use imagery and mentally practice. This will be another excellent choice when you are rehearsing for your performance and your practice. When you are with your team, this is the best time to do this. Not only can you remain engaged with the team, but it will also allow you to be more effective with your mental rehearsal.

8. Seek out support of team mates. Talk to them and be honest. They want to support you and to be there for you. Never withdraw and do what you can to be the best person possible, with your team you can make it through this.

9. Be patient. You need to give yourself time to heal. Don’t be too anxious and end up hurting yourself more in the process. This will only set you back and not benefit anyone. Keep the above tips in mind and embrace the waiting.

10. If all else fails, speak to a professional counselor, therapist or a mental coach for some guidance.

With all the following items touched on, you should find that you can come back from any setback and appreciate everything you have learned and those that supported you.

When you reach your peak athletic performance, you will find that how you deal with setbacks and obstacles are an important part of the process. Anyone can be great when things go their way, but it takes true mental strength to become a champion and to rise above.

If you have an injury or a setback, make a comeback plan and show just how tough you are and reach your athletic peak performance.

Gregg Swanson is owner of Warrior Mind Coach and specializes in the development of mental strength to reach your human potential and achieve peak performance. He is also the creator of the Mental Strength Coaching Certification, providing the tools to help trainers and coaches get the most from their clients and athletes.

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