Coach and Athletic Director

January 2018

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C O A C H A D . C O M 49 negative cognitions are strong and potentially debilitating to patient recovery. Cognitive restructuring is not a simple task, and change does not occur overnight. Just as sports medicine specialists work to improve the physical functioning of athletes, they must also work collectively to improve the mental state of athletes via implementation of psychological skills. Encouraging athletes to use self-talk with conviction might help productively shape the treatment session. Positive self-talk can come in a number of forms. Helping injured athletes modify self-talk can lead to increased feelings of self-efficacy and confidence. Consequently, this can lead to improved performance. In the rehabilitation setting, improved performance might be evident via increased strength, range of motion and flexibility. Positive changes in cognition can be implemented using a number of styles of self-talk. • Self-encouragement. "I am making good progress in physical therapy." • Effort control. "Keep focused on the task at hand." • Performance goal achievement. "I really used my hamstrings in that glute raise, instead of relying on my quads." • General positive self-talk. "That was a great physical therapy session." Once efforts are made to address negative cognitions, the athlete can begin to engage in positive self-talk strategies. Such strategies encourage permanence with regards to cognitive restructuring, and they allow the athlete to take an active role in their psychological rehabilitation. Here are four effective self-stalk strategies. 1 . Journaling. Have athletes keep a rehabilitation journal .to increase awareness of positive and negative internal dialogue. 2 .Positive thought cards. At the end of each physical .therapy session, have athletes write down one positive thing that happened during treatment. The cards can be strung together and referenced at times of frustration or at roadblocks in improvement. 3 .Thought-stopping. Encourage athletes to come up .with a trigger to be used when thoughts turn negative. The trigger can be a word or action and should be used to redirect self-talk towards positive, constructive cognitions. 4 .The athlete's litany. Have athletes create a list of .positive phrases that can be said out loud to increase positive thought and confidence. The litany can be said before physical therapy to help shape treatment sessions, or after physical therapy to provide a boost. Final thought Sport psychology is founded on the belief that the mind and body are inherently connected. Thus, if the mental state of an athlete during rehabilitation is positive, the body may more readily respond to therapy. Positive self-talk leads to positive affect. When athletes feel good, their minds are clear, and they're better able to focus on the task at hand. By implementing cognitive restructuring and honing in on positive self-talk, it's our hope that athletes can successfully achieve maximal level of functioning, both physically and mentally. Kelsey Griffith is a performance and enhancement rehabilitation specialist at The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention. Learn more at References American Academy of Pediatrics Committee of Sports Medicine and Fitness. Intensive training and sports specialization in young athletes. Pediatrics. 2000; 106: 154-157. Crossman, J. (1997). Psychological rehabilitation from sports injuries. Sports Medicine, 23, 333-339. DiFiori JP, Benjamin HJ, Brenner, J, et al. Overuse injuries and burnout in youth sports: A position statement from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. Clin J Sports Med. 2013; 24(1): 3-20. Ivarsson A, Johnson U, Podlog L. Psychological predictors of injury occurrence: a prospective investigation of professional Swedish soccer players. J Sport Rehabil 2013; 22: 19-26. M. Murray. Springfield College: personal communication. 2014. Taylor J, Taylor C. Psychology of dance. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 1995. Wadey R, Evans L, Hanton S, et al. An examination of hardiness throughout the sport injury process. British Journal Of Health Psychology [serial online]. Circle #113 or text CADJAN 113 to 41411

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