Coping with Returning From Injury

The process of returning to competition after injury is often characterized by fear and uncertainty – both around the risk of re-injury, as well as around expectations of getting back to previous performance levels. Commonly, this happens amidst pressure (from self and others) to return fully, as soon as possible.


  • You need to be both physically AND mentally ready to transition effectively back to full competition.
  • For this transition to go smoothly, you need to take it one step at a time, in challenging but do-able increments. clinton thumbsup


  • Listen to the medical professionals. clinton thumbsup
  • Stay patient with yourself. clinton thumbsup
  • Check and if necessary, adjust your goals. clinton thumbsup
  • Use imagery to mentally rehearse your return to full competition. clinton thumbsup


  1. At the top of a piece of paper, write "full competition". (ie That which you are aiming to get back to).
  2. At the bottom of the same piece of paper, write down the level of movement at which you currently feel totally comfortable (eg jogging).
  3. Now add in the steps in between – creating a list of scenarios which are increasingly stressful on the body (and the thought of which are possibly also increasingly anxiety-provoking). clinton thumbsup

  4. Tackle one level (of your 'hierarchy') at a time. ie Practice it repeatedly, gradually building your confidence at that level. clinton thumbsup
  5. Only once you feel totally confident at a given level - and the medical professionals have also given the go-ahead - should you proceed to the next level.


  • If you are feeling pressured to return as quickly as possible, what are the main sources of this pressure?
  • What could be done to manage this pressure more effectively? clinton thumbsup
  • If you are unsure about the above, who might be able to help you brainstorm possible solutions?
  • How confident do you currently feel that the previously injured body part is now able to handle the demands on it? clinton thumbsup


Coping with Injury

Coping with Criticism

Coping with not getting a Fair Chance

Coping with Perfectionism

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