This video will walk you through how to mentally bounce back from a sports injury.

Getting injured is one of the biggest challenges in sport. So having the mental strategies to overcome this adversity will help you:

  • Stay motivated despite not being able to play or train within the sport you love
  • Have the resilience & grit to persevere through the recovery process
  • Remain confident in your abilities and trust yourself as you return to play
  • Focus on being a great teammate and becoming a better leader as you look to contribute to the team in other ways

The bottom line is that when you return – you will be able to perform like you have not missed a beat.

Heck, when athletes apply the strategies I’m about to cover – they often come back even better than they were before they were injured.

Unfortunately, most athletes don’t see the opportunity or silver lining that being injured presents.

The Silver Lining of of Being Injured

Big challenges equal big growing opportunities. Injuries are a great mental challenge, so they are a great mental growing opportunity.

No one wants to be injured, but when it happens you might as well make the most out of it. One of the greatest benefits is using the extra time and energy to strengthen your mental game.

But instead, athletes will commonly make these mistakes that prevent them from bouncing back from a sport injury:

  • Mentally check-out, hit the pause button and just wait until they can return to their sport
  • Play the victim – they blame, complain, & make excuses
  • Focus on what they can’t control and can’t do
  • Wallow in self-pity

However, it doesn’t have to be that way – if you use the strategies outlined below, you will not only bounce back stronger – you will be making the most out of your time!

Here’s how, step by step:

Strategy 1: Reflect On Your Mindset Daily

It is so easy to get caught up on what you can’t do and all the things not going your way.

So you want to focus on what you can do – mental training, being a leader, rehab, catching up on other areas of life.

Then you need to reflect on how well you are focusing on what you can do and making the most out of it versus being negative – blaming, complaining, and focus on what I can’t do.

This is not about being positive – that won’t work. Instead, it is about staying centred or neutral.

Getting this daily percentage to 95% will build incredible amounts of resilience, and focus on what you can control which will undoubtedly benefit you when you return to playing.

Strategy 2: ‘Scuba Dive’ to Make Progress

The hardest part of being injured is watching everyone else continue to train and compete.

Playing your sport is like surfing, but when injured you are not able to surf – so you are just stuck in the ocean taking waves to the face.

It sucks and it is overwhelming.

So the solution is not to swim away, but actually to put on your scuba gear, stay close by, and keep making progress under the water.

This scuba diving analogy is great for protecting your mentality because you are not checking out nor just sitting there taking the water in the face.

It’s a way to process your situation so you can feel calm and in control – and from there you can focus on what you can do to still make progress.

Key behaviours we suggest include:

  • Imagery of your Sport
  • Imagery of Healing
  • Focusing more on things outside of your sport
  • All the rehab and unique training you can do – a great example being Connor Bedard when he broke his wrist – it ended up being key to the development in his shot.

Strategy 3: Find New Ways to Contribute – aka Be a Leader

If you apply the first two strategies you are already getting into a better mental state and will be primed to step into being a leader.

This strategy has two major benefits:

  1. Fill the Void of Contribution: One of the biggest joys of sports is being able to contribute and compete. You can’t do this the way you would like when you are on the sidelines, but you can still contribute by focusing on being a leader.
  2. Develop Your Leadership Skills: Becoming a leader is one of the biggest benefits of sport, but often many athletes don’t intentionally develop these human skills. Tryout some of the behaviours listed below to improve your leadership skills.

Here are a few key ways you can continue to contribute to the team without being able to play:

  • Provide 1-on-1 Encouragement: Think about which teammates are struggling or could benefit from a helpful reminder to trust their capabilities or that they can get the next play
  • Be a Beacon of Light: Bring upbeat energy, keep it light and have some fun – although you are not playing you are still affecting the culture of the team with both your body language, what you say, and how you say it
  • Coach Individuals or the Team: I don’t mean to replace the coaching staff but instead focus on how can you give feedback that helps athletes keep learning and growing

To summarize – bounce back from a sports injury by implementing these 3 strategies:

  1. Reflect On Your Mindset Daily
  2. ‘Scuba Dive’ to Make Progress
  3. Find New Ways to Contribute – aka Be a Leader

I encourage you to share this with anyone that is dealing with an injury – I’ve experienced the mental struggle myself as an athlete and we see it daily with the athletes that come work with us at CEP Mindset.