Most top athletes have had to deal with injuries at some point in their career. Whether it is a flaring twinge that requires daily maintenance, a few months off, or a season ending injury, what often separates elite athletes from average athletes is the way they deal with these unfortunate set backs.

If you’re a serious athlete and have ever had an experience with an injury, then you know that the physical hurt you feel is only one very small part of the overall pain that you have to go through in the rehab process. The psychological pain caused by your injury and the temporary loss of your sport can be far more devastating. This happens to most athletes when they start to identify themselves with their sport, it has become the integral part of who you are.

As hard at it may seem to over come both the physical and mental injury you have faced there are plenty of ways on how you can positively get through it without losing your skill.

Goal Setting

When you set goals for yourself you start heading in the direction for success. Without direction you end up relying on chance! When we first become injured it is sometimes hard to get passed it. You can find yourself thinking, “if only” or “the way it used to be” but that gets you no where besides feeling sorry for yourself. You have to think of the reality of right now and start by setting your new goals for success.

Be Positive

The rehabilitation process can be long and frustrating because getting back to full fitness becomes a waiting game. But you have to remember to control what you can control! Go into rehab every day thinking POSITIVELY! Rehab can be a great way to get that competitive edge that will be lacking while hurt. Tell yourself that you are going to kick rehabs butt that day! In other words, your attitude and outlook is absolutely everything! When positive, your attitude can speed up the healing process and lessen the emotional pain that you have to go through. However, when you’re negative you’ll slow the rehab process down to a screeching halt and make yourself miserable in the process.

Be Active in Your Recovery

Do not cut any corners! You getting better has become your homework, so work as hard as you would if you were still training for your sport.Like anything in sport, practice is important, and the more one practices this exercise the more effective it becomes.

Start to visualize yourself being healthy again. I know that sounds a little far out but research has shown that visualization can be used to aide the healing process. Get creative and visualize different things such as, your certain injury healing, playing in your first game back, an at bat you will have, or just the general feeling of happiness to be back out on the field.

Rely on Teammates

Just because you are hurt doesn’t mean you are not part of the team any more. Surround yourself with your teammates and fight the urge to isolate yourself. They will all want to be there and support you!

Be Patient

Allow yourself enough time to heal properly. If you’re over anxious to get back to the field and rush the healing process, then you may set yourself up for another, more serious injury which may cost you even more time. Take the time to recover so you can come back full and 100%.

When I played softball at the University of Florida, my freshmen year I tore my ACL. At the time it was the biggest injury that had happened to me and I wasn’t ready to give up on that season. I decided to wait for surgery and instead play with a brace. I went from being the every day catcher to the designated hitter. I did not take it well, and it really took me out of my element. Suddenly I didn’t know how to compete like I used to, I felt like a entirely different player. After I recovered I started to feel like my old self and had a successful sophomore season. At the start of my junior season, I tore my ACL again! At this point I was not going to let the injury get in my way. I embraced what my new role was going to be and was really smart not to push it. I tried hard to stay as positive as possible and that was the key factor to my success that year.
Tweet with Francesca Enea: @frangator10

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