How To Bounce Back From A Tough Injury
Believe it or not, all athletes will have to go through a slew of obstacles on their path to becoming the best version of themselves. Last week, we posted about improving after a loss, but we’ll be covering a different topic today: injury. It’s undeniable that bouncing back from a tough injury in sports can be extremely difficult. Like all things, however, personal growth is found when battling adversity, you just have to approach the situation with a positive attitude and mindset. I understand that that is much easier said than done, but here are some ways that a tough injury can actually improve your game!
Develop a higher game IQ
While sitting on the bench makes you antsy to get back on the field, enjoy the opportunity to sit back and watch the game from a different perspective. Watching others train and learn will help you growth cerebrally. How does your new angle allow you to see and understand the game differently than you did before? It’s important to not become complacent on the sideline, but rather evaluate the game and take notes. See what your teammates are doing, what works, and what doesn’t. Although you can’t be out there, visualize yourself in those similar situations and figure out what you would do. In addition, you have the opportunity to learn your teammate’s strengths and weaknesses, that way you’ll be effective upon your return. Sitting on the sidelines also gives you access to ask to your coaches or teammates at an unprecedented level. If you have a question, now is certainly the time to ask it.
You’ll become stronger
Surprisingly, the rehab needed to recover can actually make you stronger than you were before your injury. This can be attributed to the fact that rehab makes you focus on the little muscles that are often overlooked. At times, the rehab may seem tedious, but it all has purpose — an important fact to remember for the frustrated athlete. Truly, rehab forces you to slow down and pay attention on a smaller scale. Substituting frenetic action for purposeful movements is key when returning from injury. When you slow down while strength training, you’re pushing yourself to target small areas, with an intense focus on doing it properly and effectively.
You perfect the overlooked techniques
Small techniques and details are often overlooked during regular training, so use your injury as an opportunity to work on those skills. Once you reach a higher level in your sport, the fundamentals are often neglected to focus on the bigger picture. Slowing down from the action is a great time to work on those things, though! When you’re watching from the sidelines, you can work on those forgotten skills. This could be as simple as passing the balls with your non-dominant foot or arm when you’re shagging balls. Make it a personal competition too — challenge yourself to improve by counting how many balls you can pass back accurately! Just because you can’t be on the playing surface doesn’t mean you can’t stay engaged and competitive.
You’ll play with more heart
As the old cliche goes: you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. This rings true once you’re taken away from your sport, even with an injury. When you’re hurt, you’re robbed of the ability to play something you love and that’s never fun. Slowly but surely, you begin to appreciate the game so much more — yes, even the sprints and so-called boring drills. As you watch your teammates continue to play and train, you’ll typically give anything to be back out there, side-by-side with them again. Once you get back out there, you begin to play with more passion because you know what it feels like not to have your sport in your life. Coming back from an injury also can force you to play every game like your last — you’ll become a warrior in every sense of the word. Ultimately, you need to remember to stay positive after a tough injury!
Battling through the adversity of bouncing back will only make you a stronger player in the long run. Just remember to be smart about pushing yourself in your attempts to return. More often than not, athletes will try to challenge themselves too much after an injury in order to make up for the lost time. However, not giving your injury adequate time to recover could actually do more harm than good and land you back on the shelf. So, make sure to not only listen to your doctors and trainers, but also your own body.
Getting connected with a one-on-one trainer will give you some extra individualized attention and focus throughout your rehab process. Hone in on your skills and weakness during your time off and you’ll come back that much better on the other side. If you’re looking to bounce back, check out some of our amazing coaches and send them a message!