As a gymnast, you spend a lot of time fully dedicating yourself to gymnastics. The gym is now your second home. A week doesn’t feel complete without training. Basically, gymnastics is a part of you now. It gives you a sense of identity, confidence, and accomplishment.
That’s why it’s difficult when you get sidelined by an injury. You feel as if you have failed. You feel left out by your fellow gymnasts. You probably also feel a bit of impatience as you wait for your body to heal.
No matter how down you are, do know that there are ways you can follow to make this period easier. Here are some of our tips:
Allow yourself to be sad and frustrated.
Before you can even begin looking at things positively, allow yourself to mourn for what you’re experiencing. Trying to get back to gymnastics before your mind and body is ready won’t do you any good.
Dr. Dean Herbert, a sports psychologist, says, “Never deny emotions. But always set limits to the wallowing”. Recognizing your feelings is a part of the healing process.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Do not blame yourself for the injury. Thinking about the ‘what-ifs’ or ‘should-have beens’ is only a waste of energy. Whether you like it or not, this is your situation, and the best you can do is be kind to yourself.
Take an active role in your recovery.
Be diligent about attending physical therapy as you are about gymnastics. Listen to your doctor and coach’s advice. You might be annoyed that your recovery is taking a bit of time, but it will eventually happen.
Continue to attend practice.
If your injury allows you should still attend practice to stretch and condition. You can also do mental exercises to prep yourself. Remember that gaining back mental strength is just as important as gaining back physical strength.
Draw strength from your friends, family, and teammates.
An injury makes you vulnerable and isolating yourself hinders the healing process. Talk about your feelings with parents. Spend time with friends. Cheer on for your teammates. Having a solid support system helps you maintain a positive outlook despite your situation.
Use your injury as a learning experience.
Every successful athlete has had to deal with an injury at one point. But they have always bounced back with grace. A difficult situation pushes you out of your comfort zone and lets you see a side of yourself you may not have known yet. Ultimately, it is your attitude with which you deal with your injury that molds excellence, dedication, and persistence.