I made this IG post a few weeks back that got a lot of positive response, so I wanted to dive a bit deeper on some of the points made.
ACL injuries and rehab are just as equally mental as it is physical.
I’d argue more mental. It was for me in both of my recoveries.
But, what most people see is the injury, surgery, recovery. The physical aspects.
What people don’t see is how this injury takes away the things you love to do. And, how that is a big part of what gets you out of bed each day. What makes you tick. What makes you human.
Our mindset drives our actions.
How we view this injury and recovery makes all the difference.
You can play the why me and victim game for a second, but that’s not going to help anything.
It’s already happened. What can we do now?
Instead, let’s view it as an opportunity.
The first point I make.
Constrained by an injury/surgery.
I view this as a positive constraint. Where you get to focus on certain aspects of rehab and training while not getting to caught up on chasing too many goals.
Rebuilding from the ground up.
It’s an opportunity to focus on the foundations. Maybe before, you had some performance leaks or movements you could improve upon – here’s your opportunity to slow things down and do so.
Relearning how to move your body.
It’s a process. You taking walking for granted or bending your knee very easily till we can’t and it’s so freakin’ hard to do so. We feel like a girafe on skates. We get the opportunity to appreciate the things we took for granted.
Anchored to the basics and fundamentals.
That’s how we become better athletes. We do the basics and fundamentals exceptionally well. Not the fancy novel stuff you see on IG or YouTube. It’s doing it savagely well.
Adding light to heavy load.
This is progressive overload at its finest. We focus on light to help build up capacity and then work to improve not only size, but peak strength. This will build the base to be versatile as an athlete whether that’s running, jumping, cutting, reacting.. which leads me to the next point.
Adding slow to fast velocity.
It’s hard to go fast if you’re not strong. You want to make sure you’re able to control movements and positions before we start adding speed. Strength allows us to do this. It’s what allows us to surf the continuum to become more athletic fill the remaining buckets of being powerful, elastic, and reactive.
Simple to complex reactivity.
It doesn’t stop at getting strong and fast. You likely need to be able to react and not think about your knee with every movement you do. That’s where starting simple is key. You want to add layers to your rehab and training to make sure the cognitive loading is aligning with the mid to later stages when you have more variables in play – whether that’s soccer, football, skiing, BJJ, pickle ball, basketball, snowboarding, running around with your kids, etc.
Dealing with setbacks.
Oof. This is ACL rehab in a nutshell. There’s not a single ACLer our team has worked with that’s had a smooth non-setback type journey. I remember when my hamstring went pop because I did too much and also recovering from a hamstring autograft. A setback. And it wasn’t the only one. Not to be cliche, but isn’t this life? Nothing going as we originally planned. It’s crazy how much my two ACL rehab processes created opportunities for me to handle hardship better. Which leads me into…
Improving mental resilience.
I’m stronger because of my ACL injuries. I’m a better human because of my ACL injuries. I can handle hard things. And, I’m sure as you’re riding this rollercoaster of a process, it might be hard to see at times. But, I promise you it’s there. And when you get to the end of the journey and look back, you’ll be like – “man, I’m better because of it.”
It’s an incredible opportunity to become a better athlete.
It’s an incredible opportunity to become a better human.
How is your perspective of this process impacting your actions? How can you shift that to viewing it as an opportunity?