Sports psychology not only does he care about an athlete’s performance when he is active; it is also present during the sports injury. In recent years, due to the professionalization of some sports, the number of published studies in this field has increased.
This has drawn attention to both injury prevention and its treatment and readjustment to sport once these ruptures have occurred. More precisely, stress management is very important to prevent performance from declining.
Psychological intervention in the event of a sports injury
we find two moments of sports injury; that which is prior to the injury and which corresponds to a phase of prevention, and a second moment which would occur after the injury in which the rehabilitation would enter. It is important to keep this in mind because faced with the intervention, the objectives to be achieved are different.
In the first, the sports psychologist is responsible for training the psychological resources, looking for an optimal level of muscle tension, a reduction in stress, a good control of attention and the improvement of the resources of adaptation in order to avoid the dreaded injuries.
In the post-injury or rehabilitation phase, the objectives vary depending on whether the injury is more or less recent; in the immobilization phase, the objective will be to give the athlete strategies to control anxiety and accept reality. For this, it is common for the sports psychologist to train in communication and relaxation techniques, in addition to ensuring a therapeutic commitment.
In the mobilization phase the goal will be to make a good recovery, rehabilitation and return to competition, By working for this communication skills, relaxation techniques and mental images and anxiety control, being of vital importance the social support.
Many studies agree on the existence of two categories to which an injury may be due.
The extrinsic factors would be those of an environmental nature. They refer to the team, the environment in which the activity is performed, the duration of the training sessions and the failures of the physical preparation. These are the intrinsic factors which have their character in the personal characteristics of the athlete. They include age, gender, physical constitution, medical history, physical condition, ability, and psychological status.
As for the latter, unfortunately, it is common to get worse depending on the severity of the injury and the estimated time for healing. Therefore, when the athlete has reached his full recovery, coping with his normal activity, he often finds that what once seemed like an ambitious challenge now causes him stress.
Injury and stress in sport
If we review the literature, we find that Andersen and Williams (1988) devised a model in which it was proposed that the stress response was the result of 1 two-way relationship between the athlete’s cognitive assessments of a potentially stressful external situation (environmental factors) and the physiological and attentional aspects of stress (intrinsic factors), where both these cognitive assessments and the physiological and attentional responses to stress are constantly changing.
This model also sought to explain the relationship between psychological factors and injury vulnerability, including their athletic history, but also the emotional reactions of the injured athlete. Thanks to this, it was possible to create programs of psychological intervention for injury prevention or sports rehabilitation and rehabilitation of the injured athlete.
The role of anxiety in athletic performance
In this interaction between psychology-injury-psychology, some of the relevant variables in the field of competition are the anxiety and mood of the athlete. Many studies have been done in almost all sports on pre-competitive anxiety and the mood athletes are in before competing. It has been shown that it does not affect all athletes the same.
Factors influencing stress
There are a number of conditions in which the stress and fear of failure are heightened. The age of athletes influences the onset of stress, with young people (10 to 19 years old) and older people (over 40) being more likely to experience stress.
You should also be aware of this stressful condition it would not also affect those who engage in leisure-time physical activity and those who compete.
Psychological interventions after an injury improve the well-being of the athlete during rehabilitation. Controlling your emotional responses in this unfavorable situation will allow better and faster recovery, the main goal being effective sports rehabilitation.
Podlog et al. (2011) found that the most common variables that act against the athlete are: Anxiety about relapse, fear of not returning to a previous performance, feelings of isolation, lack of identification with their sport, insufficient social support outside or specific to sport and overpressure that causes negative feelings like fear , anger, sadness.
This is why in order to be able to work on the psychological preparation of an injury, it is important to assess:
- Situations outside the sporting environment which may cause stress to the athlete.
- The requirements inherent in training.
- The demands of competition.
- History of injuries.
- Influence of the public or the media on the athlete (if applicable).
Intervene on anxiety
Psychological interventions such as relaxation, mental images, good support from the technical team (coach and teammates), goal setting (clear, assessable and progressive), social support from the host family directly or indirectly, As a couple and with friends, are essential for training in stress management.
We should also not forget such important aspects as strengthening adherence to the sport you play, reducing pressure and improving your self-confidence. (Palmi, 2001; Podlog et al., 2011).
The intervention may also have focused on changing beliefs and attitudes to prevent future injuries. It is not surprising that during training, the athlete’s self-perception was altered, which generated distorted beliefs about his new physical condition.
Thoughts like “as soon as they touch me a bit, I hurt myself again” leave an athlete with a bad feeling and this can have consequences on the performance of a training or subsequent competition.
Support and reinforcement program
As mentioned, family support accompanied by a good reinforcement program this can help improve the self esteem of the injured athlete as he is able to resume his sporting life.
These are moments that are not questioned when presented with an athletic and sporting life to come. But when it does, you have to accept it and take it as a new challenge. Another training.