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"Bouncing Back: What Sets Elites and Great Performers Apart in Dealing with Setbacks"

Setbacks are an inevitable part of the journey toward achieving big goals and taking on challenges. Every athlete, at some point, faces setbacks. Some handle them well and go on to achieve remarkable results, while others struggle, affecting their physical and emotional health and diminishing their enjoyment of the sport.

Examples of Setbacks:

  • Injury, illness, or accidents

  • Event cancellations

  • Lack of fitness

  • Missing a goal

  • Family, work, and life commitments

The Art of Dealing with Setbacks:

The following skills and strategies can help you handle setbacks better and develop overall mental resilience:

Set Goals: Continue to set goals for what you want to achieve. Ensure these goals are realistic and attainable. Setting goals helps you measure and monitor your progress, allowing you to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Seek Support: Don’t try to handle setbacks alone. Many people feel they have to, which can hinder the healing process. Lean on those who care about you, such as teammates, friends, and family. Support is crucial during stressful times, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Set Your Intentions: Your mind and body are interconnected. Visualize yourself healing and getting back into the game. Maintaining a positive mindset can speed up the healing process, whereas depression and stress can slow it down. To combat negative feelings, speak and visualize your intentions for a swift recovery.

Put Your Feelings Down on Paper: Starting a journal or diary is a healthy way to express your feelings, thoughts, and emotions. If you have limited people to talk to, this step is essential. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you manage them better, allowing you to think more logically and less emotionally.

Stay in Shape: Depending on your injury, you might still be able to engage in some form of physical activity. If you can, do so, even if it’s not your primary sport. Practicing mentally or engaging in alternative activities can help. Staying in shape, both mentally and physically, will help you bounce back when you're fully healed and ready to return.

Find an Outlet: Staying connected during the healing process is important. If you can handle it mentally, find ways to stay involved in your sport, such as volunteering or cheering at local events. If this isn’t possible, find another outlet. Use this time to explore other talents or hobbies that bring you joy and that you may not typically have time for.

We don't choose our setbacks, but we can choose how we deal with them and what we do to get through them. Learn from setbacks and use them as opportunities to become stronger, wiser, calmer, and more grounded.

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