The Injured Athlete

Injuries. Sometimes it seems like we are plagued with them Unavoidable? Sure, just don’t do anything. We are engaged in more than merely running, biking and swimming. We do it for more than just “fitness”.  For most of us, it is an expression of our desire to extend our limits. To go where we think we could go but did not know until we tried. The alternative is not to try, not to endeavor to extend our boundaries.  If you think about it, the only way you truly know your limits is to go beyond them. Then, and only then, do you know what your limits are. Those limits, of course, are for a moment in time. It is a moving target.
Limits change with conditioning (mental and physical) learning and preparation or lack thereof. If you accomplish something it proves that it is/was within your limits. Whether that something is going faster, further or achieving a promotion at work, in fact, you achieve only what you are capable of. How hard it was to achieve is irrelevant. If you did it, then it was within your capabilities. Again, only by going beyond that and failing or getting injured or dropping out of a race do you learn what you are truly capable of. There is no such thing in human endeavor as more than 100%. 100% is everything. Math taught us that. You can only give what you got. If you somehow give more, then you were never giving ALL that you had in the first place. You, in fact, were giving less than 100%.

So, to my point, though we never want to encourage injuries and failures, we do want to test limits. When we are injured or we fail at something, it is easy to feel down. It is easy to say, “why am I doing this” or “why try” or “I give up” or “why me”.  The fact is, we should celebrate something that so many others cannot relate to: our injuries, failures, and “did not finishes” (DNFs) are cause for a celebration of effort. You put it on the line. You tested your limits. I suggest, we celebrate and prepare ourselves both mind and body to do it all over again… even better next time.

In retrospect, I have had many opportunities to celebrate and wouldn’t have it any other way. How about you? By the way, you also do have a choice if you never want any more injuries, or never fail or never drop out: just don’t do anything. For me, I’m coming back! I’m always coming back!


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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