Visualization - mental training continued

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The other great place for visualization is during injury rehab. When you are injured, it can feel that you have no control over the healing process and that you are isolated from the sports you love. There are two areas that visualization can be helpful.

The first is for the actual rehab. You can visualize the healing of the injured tissues. You may not know what is hurt, how it is hurt, what the tissues look like. You can ask for information or search it up to familiarize yourself with the area. Then visualize the blood moving to that area and the tissues starting to knit back together, clearing away debris and making the new tissue strong and healthy.

It is also very important to visualize the way you got hurt. I do not mean that you should continue to replay that moment, but rather, replay having that same activity happen without the injury happening. If you sprained your ankle doing a layup in basketball, then visualize doing the same movements without spraining your ankle. Do this both when you are on your own on the court, and then with others on the court. You can also visualize all of your other drills with your healthy ankle. This will help your healing and help you ‘get over’ the situation that you were injured during. Often this part is what holds athletes back once their injury is actually healed - they can not get past how they were hurt and think it will happen again in a similar situation. Visualizing that not happening will help with this healing.

The second way that visualization can help when you are injured is continuing to visualize your drills, skills and game play. You are away from your sport and it can be disheartening to be isolated from teammates and not able to participate. Continuing to visualize your participation in your sport - both drills, skills and games, can help to keep your skills sharp. When you visualize, you fire the same muscles in the same order as if you were doing the drill live, so visualization keeps the neuromuscular pathways sharp for the drills you practice.

If you haven’t worked with visualization before, give it a try and see what you notice.

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Thanks for reading!

THP The Healing Path