Returning to Racing After an Injury
You thought recovering from your motocross injury would take a long time. As it turns out, it's even harder to recover your mental game. You still carry emotional scars from your accident, and you worry about getting hurt again.
Here's how to recover from your accident and jump back into racing.
- Take Care of Yourself
It's impossible to recover if you're not addressing your physical and emotional needs. Make sure you eat nutritious food, drink enough water, and get enough sleep. Also, you shouldn't isolate yourself. Plan activities with family members and friends that are positive and productive.
As you recover, use the time you would have spent riding and competing to work on a project or learn a new hobby.
- Turn Negatives Into Positives
Race psychology authority Dr. Patrick Cohn recommends that you focus on the positive side of coming back to the sport you love. Avoid negative thoughts like "competing will be too hard now" or "I'll never be as good as I once was." Instead, tell yourself that you can come back stronger than ever.
Dr. Cohn also recommends that you look at your recovery time in a positive light. Perhaps your time away from competition allowed you to study new racing tactics or purchase new motocross equipment. Now, you're more ready than ever to get back in the game.
- Re-Introduce Yourself Slowly
After experiencing an injury, you understandably feel nervous about racing again. You may even experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, such as anxiety and flashbacks if your injury was devastating.
Jumping immediately into a major race may be too much to handle. Instead, slowly expose yourself to motocross racing. Start out by simply sitting on the seat and turning on the engine. The next day, take a ride around the block. After that, race against a few friends. As you slowly expose yourself to riding again, you'll become increasingly more comfortable with it.
- Try Visualization
When you start to race again, you might struggle to get negative images out of your head. You can overcome these visuals by choosing a quiet moment each day to see yourself succeeding.
You don't even need to picture yourself winning the race. Remember all the things you love about racing and use those things to fuel your visualization. Just think about getting back into racing again, feeling the exhilarating rush of speed. Imagine yourself successfully reaching the finish line. When you get back into racing, you can make your visualization a reality.
- Consider Therapy
If you still struggle with anxiety or PTSD, consider meeting with a licensed therapist. He or she can help you choose the right treatment for you. One of the most common types of therapies is cognitive therapy. In this therapy, your therapist challenges and replaces your negative thought patterns. This type of therapy can help you address your fears about racing.
Another type of therapy is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Your therapist guides you through eye movements, helping you process traumatic experiences. Yet another is hypnotherapy, or guided meditation and hypnosis.
Ask your therapist more about your options. Some people may benefit from anti-anxiety medications along with therapy.
- Work With a Coach
Working on your technique can help you feel more prepared for your next race. Work with a trusted coach or mentor to build back your abilities and your confidence. The right coach should push you to improve but should also respect the fact that you need time to recover.
- Prepare Yourself With the Right Gear
Getting the right safety gear can protect you from future injuries and help you feel more comfortable about getting back on the track:
- A helmet is crucial to protecting you from brain injury. Make sure your helmet fits securely and comfortably and that its visor gives you an unobstructed view.
- Boots and socks protect your feet and ankles from injury while allowing for a strong grip on your bike.
- Gloves help your hands absorb the shock of high-speed racing.
- Suits and jackets protect your body while also shielding you from sun, rain, and wind.
You can also protect specific areas of your body with shin guards, wrist braces, and neck braces. While it's still possible that you'll get injured again, protecting yourself with all the right gear can make those injuries less likely and less severe. If you neglected to wear all the necessary protective gear in the past, make sure you're fully equipped for your next racing season.
Getting injured can set you back for a short time, but it doesn't have to set you back for a lifetime. Follow these tips to recover and get back to competition. For any of the racing gear you need, count on the quality and trusted products at Bob's Cycle Supply.