Play it smart

U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials - Day Seven

The more injuries you get, the smarter you get.

– Mikhail Baryshnikov

As silly as it sounds, I would have to say that this quote does the right amount of justice when it comes to explaining the life of “injury reserve”. Being injured is probably the most devastating experience for an athlete (followed by coming in last, and not running, throwing, jumping a PR). Being injured not only messes with your physical strength, but gets to your mental state of mind as well.

Now, you all know, I love to talk about being mentally strengthened and having the ability to push past the negativity that may cloud your mind, but I don’t believe I can stress how vital it really is. Like my father always told me “After 21 years of serving this country, you learn that it’s 20% physically and 80% mental.”

During an injury your mind has the power to overcome all the amazing things you have accomplished before the falter, but it is in those moments of weakness that you must possess the capability to outcompete the “enemy” aka mental hardship. In an article I read from competivedge.com, I gained a lot of insight on how much an athlete deals with mentally after suffering from an injury. While reading the article I was intrigued by how well the person was able to key in on how the injury effects an athlete so because the sport becomes a form of the athletes identity and when they become injured, they lose a piece of themselves. In essence, I agree whole heartedly. I am a collegiate athlete, meaning I spend majority of my college experience on a track. Don;t get me wrong, I enjoy what I do.. it’s second nature to me, but because I spend so much of my time being an athlete, that aspect of my life has greater importance than many others. Having to sit out, break from that is extremely difficult, especially when you are unable to control when you will be able to resume.

And that.. brings me to my next point, HAVING CONTROL. You hear it all that time that you are the master of your destiny,. BUT what happens when that is taken from us.. unwillingly. What are we to do when we are taught to “Be competitive, Fight for, Compete like you want it,” but are sent to “sit it out for a while.”

It’s difficult, but (as cliche’ as it sounds) there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The quote is not the encourage you to accept being injured every other day, but to ensure you that with injury comes knowledge.. of what not to do.. and also what to do. Like for example, the first sign of pain: get it treated. To be the master of your own destiny you have to be a leader, even when dealing with yourself.. MIND OVER matter.

– Play it smart!

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