What if recovery from an injury that typically lasted over 16 weeks took less than five weeks? Athletes in one study learned how this could be accomplished by using three simple, mental tools, or Between-The-Ears Skills (or BTE’s).
Researchers Cupal and Brewer (2001) randomized assigned 30 athletes recovering from anterior cruciate ligament knee reconstruction into one of three groups. The control group received no intervention, the placebo group received encouragement and support (but no intervention), and the intervention group in which the athletes received an intervention along with encouragement and support. Compared to the two other groups, the intervention group recovered 11 weeks faster (less than 5 weeks versus over 16 weeks)!
What were the tools used with the intervention group athletes? The three “Between the Ears” (or BTE’s) were:
- positive self-talk
But not only did these athletes experience a faster recovery speed, there were other benefits, too. Cupal and Brewer (2001) found that the intervention group experienced significantly less re-injury anxiety and pain while exhibiting greater knee strength than the other two groups.
…intervention group experienced significantly less re-injury anxiety and pain while exhibiting greater knee strength…
Bottom line: Be smart, efficient, and use your recovery process as an opportunity to go beyond just basic healing and use this time on the sidelines to make long-lasting physical and mental gains.
Nicole Pacheco is a peak performance coach and consultant for individuals, athletic teams, and business organizations. She has presented at local and national levels on the topics on a range of peak performance and mental health topics. She received her doctoral and master’s degrees from the Adler School of Professional Psychology and has authored a number of writings, on-line articles, a peer-reviewed journal article, and an e-book, “Between the Ears Skills: Building mental muscle for athletes.”
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