Don't Stress--Use Your Head

Using Your Head - Why Your Mind May be the Unlikely Key to Treating and Preventing Injury

Many KT Tape athletes like Kerri Walsh Jennings and Rebecca Rusch will testify that the human mind is the real powerhouse behind success in sports.  As Yogi Berra once famously said (or perhaps misspoke) "“Baseball is ninety percent mental; the other half is physical." But your mental state may actually help keep you from getting injured, and get you back on the field faster if you are hurt. 

According to Sports Psychologist Dana Blackmer, stress increases your risk of injury in three ways. 

  1. It causes you to become physically tense
  2. To narrow your focus and miss potential hazards
  3. Then to lose focus on what you’'re doing by concentrating on your anxiety instead.

By learning to relax and cope with stress, athletes can experience significant results: “A study with collegiate athletes who were taught relaxation training showed a 52% decrease in injury rates among swimmers and a 33% injury rate decrease among football players.  Additionally, several studies have shown that injured athletes who practiced such mental skills as a goal-setting, relaxation training and positive self-talk experienced increases in attention and decreases in stress, subjective pain and recovery time.” --from ‘"Rider Heal Thyself!"’, Dana Blackmer, Sports Psychologist.

Controlling your stress is a good way to prevent injury, but once you are injured, Blackmer says that you can speed up your recovery with positive imagery and goal-setting.  His tips on reducing stress and putting your mind to work to help heal the body can be found here on the Virginia Commonwealth University Sports Psychology blog.