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?
– Guest post by pro snowboarder Jussi Tarvainen
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.
Related article: Losing My Identity – How injury forced me to question who I was
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 Injury Turned Around The End of 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.
Here are 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 to 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.
In the second part of this article you’ll learn:
- What fear really is
- The self sabotaging mental fear links that cause you to second guess, destroy your confidence and leave you paralysed
- MG180X Pull Out Method to gain back your confidence, get unstuck and progress faster
In the meanwhile you can download a free 3 Accelerated Injury Recovery Hacks ebook I wrote to help you gain more confidence, overcome fear and recover faster.
Watch: ‘The Climb” a Red Bull documentary on Skier Lindsey Vonn’s extraordinary recovery after two separate ACL injuries
Who Is Jussi Tarvainen?
Jussi Tarvainen is a pro snowboarder turned to author & a pioneer in mental game fear removal & progression acceleration techniques for action sport athletes from Olympic medalists, X-Games winners and US Open Champions to beginners and up and comers.
He trains wildly successful surfers, snowboarders, freerunners, parkour and other action sport athletes from beginners to pro’s – how you can overcome progression barriers like fear of getting injured, quickly gain more confidence and learn new tricks, moves & manoeuvres 3X faster.
For more information of Jussi Tarvainen check out his website Form Supreme – there are many amazing articles on the same topic as this. Thanks Jussi!