By Karlene Sugarman, M.A.

In sports, and in life, things do not often go as planned and there are glitches that need to be dealt with - like injuries. Every time you step out on the field you run the risk that you might sustain an injury. Not being able to play is every athlete's greatest fear. Mentally dealing with an injury can sometimes be more frustrating than the physical aspect.
You see, it is what you do after you get hurt that can effect how quickly you get back out on the field:

Mental training techniques can be used in a preventative approach to contribute to an injury-free environment. By mentally practicing you decrease your chances of injury due to the fact that you have taken away some of the emotional hassles that many times lead to stress and injury. With stress and anxiety comes muscle tension, which could cause you to strain a muscle. When you are stressed you also have a shorter attention span and limited visual field, which also contribute to the possibility of injury. You may not have control over getting injured in the first place, by you DO have control over what you do from there - so take control! (Adapted from Winning the Mental Way: A Practical Guide to Team Building and Mental Training, 1999.)

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