Injury is common in the world of sports, and yet even the best athletes in the world often struggle with rehabilitation and returning to competition. Why is that, and what can be done to help them? The combination of sport psychology and cognitive psychology helps to answer these questions. Injury can take a large toll on an athlete’s sense of self and motivation. This is where the framework of the working self, the Self-Memory System, and goal setting can be useful for these athletes. The Self Memory System informs identity by guiding us to think about past experiences and using that to set future goals. When past and present do not line up, goal setting and motivation suffer. The words we use to guide and adjust this process matter. Language can help alter their self-perceptions, and the words we use allow them to seek coherence and find meaning (Pennebaker & Graybeal, 2001). This is a general way to help athletes’ well-being. The purpose of this project is to help recovering athletes better understand this process and work through them in a workbook format. A self-help workbook is a powerful, positive tool for these athletes as long as it is grounded in psychological science. This kind of self-help is called a wise intervention and can be a beneficial tool in giving psychology away to athletes. These athletes often need help re-discovering their focus, confidence, consistency, and motivation to excel in their sport once again. Athletes need to be able to create a personal action plan through goal setting that helps them track and facilitate their own growth. As they work through this goal setting and growth process, it also helps to share their goals with others. In this case, athletes use language and communication to further their social connections with teammates, coaches, trainers, etc., and to help themselves cognitively work through experiences and feelings. An assortment of activities, such as executive function exercises, mindfulness practices, and instructions for effective goal setting, that will be included in the workbook can be used to help athletes set and accomplish their goals, to return to high performance, and increase their overall well-being.
From Recovery to Enhancement: Using the SMS to Recreate Your Athletic Identity by Brynne Middaugh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.