Did you just come out of an injury and now you’re second guessing yourself, overthinking and freezing up when trying to do old tricks?
Are you seriously underperforming and afraid to fall, make mistakes and get re-injured?
What if you could recover from injuries, not just physically faster but mentally more confident than before your crash – so you could have back the freedom and fun that was stolen from you?
WHAT AN INJURY DOES TO YOUR MINDSET
After an injury, close call or traumatic life event, athletes often fall into one or two groups. They can be seen to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Post Traumatic Growth (PTG). PTG is the opposite of PTSD. In order to understand how you can turn an injury into a positive experience (the growth in PTG), we need to breakdown what the stress in the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is.
Second Guessing, Overthinking & Mental Paralysis:
Injuries don’t just cause physical trauma. They also cause mental scarring that makes you second-guess, overthink and freeze when you are trying new or even old tricks that you’ve done before.
Plateaus & Destroyed Confidence:
Mental scars left by an injury often corrupt your confidence and lock you up on a plateau. Fear of re-injury keeps many athletes from ever regaining back their confidence.
You might feel angry at yourself for getting injured and making a bad call that lead to getting hurt. Or you might be angry at the doctors and the people who bring you the bad news. Anger is often directed towards others to try to relieve the mental pain and anxiety caused your injury and being denied from your freedom.
Feeling depressed like nothing matters is all too common after suffering an injury. Athletes sometimes give up on their rehab if they see no hope of recovering back to normal. Doctor’s ‘opinions’ can sometimes destroy an athlete’s hope.
Not being able to do what you identify the most with in life can leave you feeling lost and alone. Especially if you’ve been told that “you won’t be able to do your sport at the level you previously could” like I and many others have been told.
When bed bound and all your friends, community and social network are focused around your sport, it can be a tough blow. Not seeing your friends, not being able to be part of the fun they’re having, and getting left behind can make one isolate themselves even more.
Injury doesn’t have to always be a negative, downward spiral of an experience. There is another way. You don’t have to feel depressed and angry after an injury. In fact you can leverage this misfortune to have an even more fulfilling life than you could’ve had without that injury. I know that may sound crazy and far fetched, especially if you are injured right now, so let me explain myself.
HOW AN INJURY MADE MY CAREER
The first time I got seriously injured was when I blew the ACL on my left knee. It was the end of the season. I was at my sponsor’s photoshoot in South Lake Tahoe and it was my time to show I deserved my spot on the team. First jump of the huge kicker, built especially for our catalog photoshoot, I came up short, hit the knuckle and felt like someone had taken a baseball bat and hit my knee full on.
That was the end of my season and almost the end of my career.
And it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me and my career as a pro, although it was seemingly the worst time it could’ve happened.
5 REASONS WHY INJURY WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME
The injury made me realise that if I was ever to snowboard again or even imagine becoming a pro, I needed to take my physical health very seriously. After all, your body is the tool you use and if you don’t take care of it, it’ll break on you and slow you down from reaching your goals.
I started exercising 4 hours per day and I revamped my eating habits, prior to which were mainly consisting of sugary snacks, fast food and food that was ready made from processed ingredients.
I obviously wasn’t perfect and had my vices like candy, but in general I got the majority of the holes plucked that were slowing me down.
#2 Master Your Headspace & Mental Game:
I discovered mental training and realised just as much as I need to practice new tricks on my snowboard and hit the gym, even more so, I needed to master my own mind.
Learning “mental tricks” meant that I could overcome the mental blocks holding back my progress like:
- Fear of re-injury and the “what if…” thoughts
- Getting rid of second guessing, overthinking, choking up and paralysing
- Get over nervousness and what others think of me when training in front of people or when competing under pressure
- Shortcut Plateaus and getting stuck on one level
This injury also lead me to write my first book “Pro Mental Game” over a decade later so I could share the hidden mental tricks for accelerated improvement.
#3 Gamifying Recovery – setting goals and mastering motivation:
I had an 8 month deadline to get back into the shape before the next winter season and I decided I wasn’t going to waste that time. I got extremely clear on my goals and set out an action plan, what I needed to DO to reach those goals. I invested into a coach to keep me accountable so I wouldn’t slack and screw it up.
I read every book about mental game (of which there were hardly any that worked or made any sense) and I devised a system for/on how I could keep myself motivated and do things even when I didn’t feel like it.
#4 New Habits:
I worked hard to rid myself of the bad habits that took me further from my goals and weren’t bringing the fulfilment I wanted in my life. I stopped watching TV, got rid of or dramatically cut down my consumption of fast food, video games, getting drunk etc.
I replaced those bad habits with positive habits like gym, studying and working on my other passion, which was graphic design at the time.
#5 Personal Development:
I was going to use this extra time I’d been gifted as an opportunity to develop myself. I did a full on overhaul on my life and changed my identity. I believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Learning how to set your mind and guarantee that you stick to your plan is the key.
What I’d like you to do first is to write a list of ten things at a minimum:
“WHY was this injury a good thing?
It may not be an easy question to answer. But I can guarantee you that by answering this question you will speed up your recovery and dramatically improve your overall mood.
Secondly I’d like you to share your answers in the comments below. And please share this in your social media so those who are injured or recovering can benefit from it as well.
Have fun, encourage others and be kind to yourself!