How To Maintain Confidence After An Injury

  • 22 Dec, 2015

Injuries can be devastating and demoralizing to athletes…

The longer an athlete cannot practice, the more difficult the layoff and recovery process become.

But the day you step back into competition may be the most anxiety-ridden moment.

Returning from an injury may bring to the surface many fears: fear of re-injury, fear of losing your role on the team and fear of not performing at your previous level of play.

Playing with fear cannot, not only negatively affect your play, but increase the risk of further injury. You must manage the fear in order to maintain your confidence after an injury.

How To Maintain Confidence 1

Dallas Maverick small forward Chandler Parsons is facing the same injury issues.

Parsons is heading into his fifth year and averaged 14.5 points per game over the course of his career. Parsons has been rehabbing a knee injury from last April and is closing in on a return to the basketball court this preseason.

To maintain confidence, Parsons practiced the skills he could perform safely.

“I was in the chair for the first month doing different things working on my handles, so when I could move and start using the pick and roll and have the ball in my hands more.”


Parsons has a positive outlook regarding his return to the court. Though Parsons is confident and well-prepared for his return, he has tempered his expectations.

“That’s the trickiest part for me. I don’t really know what to expect, because it feels fine. There’s been no pain, no swelling and no setbacks. There’s no reason for me not to be confident when I play. I’m not babying it at all. I’m doing different drills, and I’m in the weight room every day. I think a lot of it is going to be mental, just believing that it’s OK and I’ll be ready to go.”


Parsons has the right mentality in dealing with his return to competition which has aided his confidence and will help his transition back into competition.

Parsons has adopted a patient let’s-see-what-happens attitude which lessens anxiety and does set him up for failure.

The Optimal Mindset For Return To Competition

Fear of re-injury is normal. Many basketball players, in the back of their mind, have thoughts about the injury and return to the court. But that is where those thoughts need to be contained… in the back of your mind.

You want to focus on “what you want to happen” instead of “what you are afraid might happen.”

Focusing on what you can do and what you want to do will help you maintain your confidence throughout the injury process.

Try These Tips To Maintain Confidence After An Injury:

  1. Set manageable goals for your return to competition – Once you are fully recovered, you can adjust your goals upward. By not setting your goals too high, you will keep anxiety at bay and steadily increase your confidence with each step forward.
  2. Maintain a positive outlook – If you can focus on what you can do, you can prevent negativity from corroding your mindset. Your attitude toward returning to competition is everything. Fear only serves to hold you back from your potential.

Pick up Dr. Patrick Cohn’s free sports psychology report titled, “10 Costly Mental Game Mistakes Athletes Make Before Competition“. 

Author @Patrick Cohn

Dr. Patrick Cohn is the owner of Peak Performance Sports and a world-renowned mental training expert who works with athletes of all levels including junior, collegiate, professional, and senior athletes.
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