The Psychology of Getting Back on the Field
In addition to the excitement of getting back to training (and hopefully) playing matches, it’s natural to have some concerns both about your ability to recover your previous form and about the possibility of catching COVID-19.
Confidence will come to those who plan and prepare.
Here are some suggestions to help you manage any angst you might be feeling.
I know it sounds obvious but the best way to reduce the anxiety is to train your a_ _ off and come back in the best technical and physical condition as possible.
- It’s unlikely you’ll show up game fit or game ready but you can be as close as possible.
- This ‘downtime’ can be a blessing or a curse. You decide.
If you’ve tuned in to some of the Bundesliga matches lately you can see which players and clubs took advantage of the time they had.
By this I simply mean that there are more intelligent and less intelligent ways to manage risk.
If you happen to be on the more concerned or worrying side of the spectrum, then be smart about doing the things that will minimize your risk. You already know what these things are, so do them. Wear a mask; wash your hands; keep your distance as much as you can; don’t go out if you aren’t feeling well.
While these things may not completely eliminate the worry, at least you can take some solace that you are doing what you can.
- If you have a personal situation (like an existing condition or at-risk family member) then there is no shame in electing to wait until the situation is safer for you and your loved ones.
- Be clear on your value system and your own risk profile and own it.
Embrace the Fear
It’s human nature to avoid things that make us uncomfortable. But sometimes the best thing we can do is run towards and not away from our anxieties.
Consider challenging yourself to take on your fear. Especially if you get the sense that it has moved beyond rational worry, there can be a real opportunity in this approach.
- Think in terms of your own personal Identity.
- Do you want to be someone who takes challenges head on, who fights fear with action or are you the person who gives in to worry?
Express How You Are Feeling
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do to feel better is simply to express how you are feeling.
- Find someone to talk to about what’s going on. Get yourself heard and problem solve as best you can.
- Even expressing your feelings in writing can be helpful. Label the emotions (‘Name it to Tame It’, as the world-renowned educator and Child Psychiatrist Dan Siegel advises). For example: “I’m worried about getting sick.” Or, “I’m freaking out about not being able to play as well as I want or need to.”
- Research has shown that this simple strategy can be profoundly helpful in reducing the intensity of negative emotions.
We are in unchartered territory, so all we can do is do our best to manage through things together. Take control of the things you can until we return to more normal time.
Stay safe. Train hard.