Staying motivated when you’re injured
At some point in an athletes career they will have an injury, it’s an unfortunate part of playing sport. Most athletes are highly motivated to be success at their chosen sport, although that motivation is tested when they get injured. There focus now changes from ‘how can I performance at my best’ to ‘how can I get back to playing the sport I love’. The latter is answered by going through the rehabilitation process. The athlete will be restricted from their sport and instead will be performing gruelling training sessions in the gym and on the track. There often rarely seems like light at the end of the tunnel, however, if the athlete follows a plan and sets their mind to returning to play they more often than not succeed. This is easier said than done, so how can you stay motivated when your injured?
A great place to start is to find some help. Seek out a Physiotherapist (Physio), and a Strength and Conditioning Coach (S&C). Getting help from professionals will make the rehabilitation process much easier for you to understand what’s going on with your body. A good team around you can offer support, make sure your progressing, create a plan and help you achieve your end goal – returning to sport.
Have a plan
With the help of your Physio and S&C it’s important that you map out a plan. Not having a plan is planning to fail, without a plan it’s difficult to know whether your making progress. Within the plan you should set targets, having a target makes it easier to get through some of the tedious rehab sessions. Keeping the target in mind give you a purpose to work hard because you know once you’ve reached your target you can progress and now your one step closer to playing.
Don’t wait for time to heal your injury
Time is simply not enough when we’re talking about an injury. Time is going to elapse regardless, whether you do rehab or not. The difference though, is how well you return to play, are you just going back to make up the number going or do you want to return to full performance. If you just purely wait on time and wait for that time to heal the injury, the risk of getting injured again is significantly greater. Whereas if you’ve done the work you may never have that injury ever again. Having a timeline and targets gives you something to work towards.
Set goals outside of rehab
Setting goals outside of your injury helps you through the tough days when you don’t feel like your making any progress in rehab. It might be something completely different, such as a nutritional goal, a sleep goal, a stress relief goal or another training goal. As an example, say you have broken your leg you might set a goal to improve your bench press while your letting your leg heal. It can also take the focus off the fact that you are injured.
Celebrate the small wins
It’s really important to celebrate the small wins. If you’ve got a really serious injury, like an ACL, just being able to straighten your leg is a massive win, and it’s a really important first step. Every time those you hit your targets come up you need to celebrate them. These little pieces of celebration, is a way to generate pleasure over pain. That’s why you go through the tough and the dark days, because you know there’s light is at the end of the tunnel.