Bouncing back STRONGER after INJURY
Ironically, for most tennis players, the difficulty in being injured isn’t the physical pain- it’s the mental strain from not being able to compete.
Back problems, tennis elbow, shoulder niggles, sprained ankles and knee pain are all common injuries that spring up in the tennis world. Such injuries can leave you stranded from the game for short periods of time or months on end.
Regardless of the length of time, the resulting feelings are the same:
Frustration. Anger. Depression.
No athlete wants to be injured, but with the right attitude and some hard work, an injury timeout can do the world of good to your career.
SLOANE STEPHENS- the exceptional example
After the 2016 Olympics, Stephens suffered an ankle injury which side-lined her for a period of 10 months after having to undergo surgery. Since returning to the circuit in August, ranked 900 WTA, she has played some of the best tennis of her career. Her impressive form landed her a maiden grand slam title at Flushing Meadows earlier this month.
The twenty-four-year-old credits the time-out for the boost in success. She appeared to return to the courts with increased motivation and she demonstrated a greater sense of composure and mental toughness.
STEPHENS “I obviously wasn’t happy to get injured. That’s not anything that I ever wanted but it was a good lesson for me. It was a good time to be able to take a break, get my health in order [and] then reevaluate my whole entire situation—come back a better player and better person.”
Injuries suck…however, Sloane was able make the most from a bad situation and use the time to turn things around and come back mentally tougher and stronger than before.
Using Your Injury Timeout to Your Advantage
It’s far too easy to get bogged down and depressed. A feeling that time and ground is being lost that will never be made up. A sense that you’re not in control of your own destiny. And the inevitable negative thinking that comes with injury that leads us to poor motivation levels and slowed recovery.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give you would be to remain positive. I’d encourage you to see this time as an opportunity for growth and not a period to dwell on things.
I've been unfortunate enough to have spent much of the last 4 years sidelined due to various injuries and therefore have a firsthand experience of what it is like. I can't stress enough the importance of being positive and doing everything you can to return stronger.
I truly believe that having an extended period of time-off gives you the perfect opportunity to work on things that you wouldn’t normally have the time for.
Here are a few examples:
- Get physically stronger- it’s rare that you get the opportunity to do a hard-core physical training block when you’re on the road competing.
- Work on your mental game- read books, watch YouTube videos, learn about your sport now that you have time.
- Find other hobbies- this can be important to keep your spirits high.
- Learn about nutrition- revamp your diet and learn about the essentials to nutrient consumption for your sport.
Use the time to reset and refresh your mind and body. It can do you some good- just ask Sloane.
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I’ll keep them coming.