Psychological skills such as goal setting, imagery, relaxation and self-talk have been used in performance enhancement, emotional regulation, and increasing one’s confidence and/or motivation in sport. These skills can also be applied with athletes during recovery from injury in the rehabilitation setting or in preseason meetings for preventing injury. Research on psychological skill use with athletes has shown that such skills have helped reduce negative psychological outcomes, improve coping skills, and reduce reinjury anxiety (Evans & Hardy, 2002; Johnson, 2000; Mankad & Gordon, 2010). Although research has been limited in psychological skill implementation with injured athletes, these skills can be used when working with injured athletes or in the prevention of injury. Injured athletes may use psychological skills such as setting realistic goals in coming back from injury, imagery to facilitate rehabilitation, and relaxation techniques to deal with pain management. In prevention of injury, the focus is on factors that put an individual at-risk for injury. Thus, teaching strategies of goal setting, imagery, relaxation techniques, and attention/focus can be instrumental in preparing athletes for a healthy season.
Madrigal is with the Department of Athletics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE.