When an injury occurs, a lot of emotions and feelings flood to to the surface as an athlete. “What do I do now?” “Will I be able to play again?” “Sitting on the sideline is miserable.” “I just want to be out there with my teammates.” “What happens if I come back and I can’t perform like I used too?” “Well, it looks like I won’t be able to do anything until I’m healed.”

Saying these type of phrases will make the injury seem a lot worse than it really is. They will make you feel depressed, unmotivated, unwilling to play again, angry, upset, and everything in between.

The real question is, what are ways to start improving while injured? Instead of putting all attention and focus on the 5% of your body that is injured, thinking of the 95% of your body that is good. The best way to do this is developing and write down an action plan so the recovery process is easy and speedy. Here are five key concept of on how to start an action plan:

1. Mindset training.

This is the perfect opportunity to start working on your mind. Find yourself a coach, do some mindset training for your needs, watch videos related to mindset, read books that you can relate too. The more you educate yourself and train your mind, the more prepare you will be when you come back. It will be like you never skipped a beat. You will come back mentally stronger than ever.

2. Nutrition.

How good have you been eating? Do you feel like you have been ordering to much take out? Are you just grabbing something simple and quick because it is convenient? If a cafeteria is provided, are you picking the healthy options? If you haven’t started worrying about what you have been putting into your body, it is time. What you eat will depend how you feel mentally and physically. If you load your body up with junk food and sugary drinks while injured, it is going to be a lot harder to come back strong. If you are worrying about what you are eating, what are ways to make your meals even better?

3. Stretching.

As an athlete, it is easy to forget about stretching and tend to not do it enough. During practice, instead of just sitting there watching everyone practice, kill two birds with one stone. It is time to focus of flexibility. Start by trying to stretch the injured area. If it is still to challenging, work on the areas that aren’t injured. Once you are able to come back to play, you will be more flexible than before and the chance of injure will be less likely.

4. Strengthening healthy muscles.

The rest of the body needs to be strengthening so they do not go bad as well. If you end up just sitting around, it will put the recovery process back and making return to play challenging. It is time to think of what exercises you can do for the rest of the body and even think of exercises to do for the injured area as well. If it is not possible to do any exercises with the injured area, they can be modified or focus on the opposite area. If the left arm is hurt, work on the right arm. By strengthening the opposite area, it will help strengthen the other side as well, which is called the crossover effect.

5. Footwork/armwork.

Whichever area is injured, practice skills for the opposite area. You might be able to do explosive plyometric work if the upper body is injured. If the lower body is injured, plyometrics or ball handling skills can be practiced. Think outside the box and don’t worry about that 5% of the body that is injured.

Think of the rest of the body and what else you can improve on. Can you improve on the body, mind, eating patterns, sleeping patterns, social skills, and academics. There is always something you can work at and improve on. Stop thinking about what is bad and think about what is good! Write down an action plan and come back better before the injury occured.


Written by:
Sarah Grippi
Basketball Mindset

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