Pain

Pain.

How does it manifest in your body?

A long time client had a bad fall ski racing. Here is her list of injuries: dislocated shoulder, fractured humerus, pulled ligament off the bone. Sprained medial collateral ligament and a bad bone contusion.

Thankfully there will be no surgery. In two weeks, once the swelling diminishes, she’ll start physiotherapy.

I’ll be with her every step of the way.

We are working on healing imagery together, visualizing herself healthy and whole.

Your body speaks your mind. It’ll make you pay attention if you’re not. The good news is you can also heal your life.

Pay attention to what your body is saying to you. There are reasons behind everything. Louise Hay has done ground breaking work in this area. I highly recommend checking her out.

No one is immune to imbalances. Take care of yourselves. Listen to your bodies. Pay attention. Love yourself into the parts that need compassion. Your body will shift and so will you.

 

 

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Injury

Injury.

It’s heart shattering for athletes isn’t it?

Having been through a severed achilles that sidelined me for the better part of a year, I know exactly how it feels.

I was speaking to one of my clients the other day who was playing through injury. He’s a tennis player and has a rotator cuff injury from overuse.

He’s had to cut back on playing significantly, however, he is playing in a tournament this weekend.

My question was: “Why are you still playing?”

He had done a camp the week before and played 35 hours of tennis. 35 HOURS with an injured rotator cuff. Um hello?

This is a kid who pushes himself to the extremes.

He told me a story where he had sprained not just one but both ankles on the court and refused to get off even though he was injured. An official begged him to get off, saying he’d happily refund him his money.

I was laughing so hard as he told me this story because I could just picture it.

We had a conversation around managing himself. About strategies to deal with the pain when it does come when he’s on the court in a match. To stop. To listen to his body. To give it the time it needs to heal.

I taught him how to do healing imagery to help his shoulder.

I reminded him of his breath, his court rituals and that he’s got this.

Sometimes that’s all you need isn’t it?

Someone to hear you, give you some strategies if needed and to believe in you.

How do you handle injury?

Performance anxiety

Performance anxiety is a beast my clients present with often.

They have no problem showing up with their A game in practice but when it comes time to make it count on race day they fall flat.

It’s fair to say they psych themselves out.

I was giving a session on the weekend and one of the coaches told me about one of the racers going through major performance anxiety last year. The poor kid couldn’t eat for days before a race and was a mess. Needless to say he couldn’t pull it together on race day.

He’s made quite the turnaround this season and is on the podium at just about every race.

Some mental preparation can help when performance anxiety strikes.

Here are three mental strategies to help you get back to your A game:

Breathing. Sounds odd because it’s something we naturally do without thinking about it. The difference is now I want you to think about it. Practice belly breaths. Send your breath past your lungs to your belly. Feel your belly go out when you inhale and come in when you exhale. Try and extend the breath for as long as you can. Play with it and see where it takes you. Guaranteed you will feel more calm and relaxed because of it.

Imagery. I’ve spoken about it here before. It’s such a powerful tool and it has such an impact on performance. Seeing yourself going through the motions of your athletic performance has far reaching benefits. The ski coaches I work with have taken to timing their ski racers to see how long it takes them to run the course through their minds. They are trying to get them to be mindful of time. You want your imagery in this instance to take as much time as it would to run the course.

Feelings. Think about how you want to feel when you’re engaged in your best performances. If you’re a ski racer I’m willing to bet fast is one of them. Once you’ve identified some feelings integrate them into your imagery. Really feel the feeling with every fiber of your being as you’re engaged in your imagery. Run your imagery with how you want to feel and see where it takes you.

Use these tools. Practice them and with time they will become second nature.

These tools are just as useful in sport as they are in life. Whether it be at school or on the job. A little positive imagery before a test or presentation can go a long way to a better outcome.

Pre competition plan

Another tool I use with athletes is pre competition planning. Do you show up on race day with a plan or hoping everything falls into place?

Good luck if you said the latter because you are definitely leaving things to chance.

Pre competition planning covers everything you do before a race. How many times will you run imagery? Will you talk to people or will you listen to music? How many times will you inspect the course? These are all elements that fall into a pre competition plan.

A pre competition plan can be as detailed as you like. You can describe what you’ll have for breakfast, how many runs you’ll take, your warm-up. Describe what it is you need to put in place in order to achieve great results come race day.

We are creatures of habit whether we like it or not. We like our coffee a certain way, we take the same route to work every day. Now think about how you’d feel if you ran out of creamer for your coffee one morning and there was a detour to your route. Would this bother you and put you off?

That’s why pre competition plans are so important. They ensure we have a routine we can rely on. Athletes, by their very nature, are superstitious. They like to have the same thing for breakfast, they wear a lucky shirt or socks on race day, they listen to the same song that gave them a win in their last race. The list goes on.

Include all those details in your pre competition plan. Knowing you have a plan in place is reassuring. It ensures consistency and results.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Imagery

I’m going to be writing a bit more about some of the tools I teach and use in sports psychology.

Today’s focus is on imagery.

Imagery is a great tool to prepare for competition in sport. It can also apply to every day life, like that upcoming stressful test or job interview.

Basically imagery is like running a movie in your mind. As a former high level ski racer, I used imagery on a daily basis running courses through my head. It especially came in handy on race day to memorize the course and make things happen come race time.

It’s a good idea to involve your body in imagery, muscle memory happens then and when you step up to the start gate it’s as though you’ve already done this before.

Remember this skill is completely transferable to every day life. I hope this comes in handy for you. Imagery is one of my go to tools in sports psychology. Try it and let me know what you think.