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30 million children play sports each year. Roughly ten percent suffer injuries. The severity of the injuries differ, as does the time needed for recovery. We must start to change our

thinking about injuries. We need to realize that injuries are athletes. While our players get bumps and bruises during practices and games, we need to consider those players who

sustain long term injuries. ACL tears, broken bones, muscle tears, and concussions can all lead to extended time away from the sport. We wish them the best and a speedy recovery and then we get their replacement on the field. At that point we lose sight and contact with the athlete precisely when they need us the most. Today we will discuss the steps that the Nationals Capital Area club will take to make sure that our injured players remain a critical aspect of their team. We will discuss the mental factors that we will use to guide them to return to play. If we really think about it we want to reframe the injury not as a challenge but rather as a threat; A threat to the goals and dreams of the athlete. We must also consider that each injury experience is unique in terms of the athletes emotional response and psychosocial aspects.


We first need to assess the athletes view of the injury. Are they playing the game for fun or do they have long term asperations to play varsity soccer, or even college or professional soccer? The view of the injury as a threat is real. It is a threat to their future aspirations, and as such, it can feel like a loss of who, or what, they were striving to be. From a mental performance standpoint, we must understand that psychological factors can impact the onset of injury and can also determine how much the athlete is able to deal with that injury and the rehabilitation that follows. Research has found links between injuries and athletes. These include reduced levels of self-esteem, anxiety, depression, loss of personal identity, and feelings of isolation. After the year the players have been exposed to, we would be wise to keep these issues in mind. Our kids are stressed. Stress can have a negative impact on the athlete. 80-90% of research studies have shown a significant correlation between stress and sporting injuries. Athletes that have a lot of stress, both internal and external,

and have fewer coping resources available to them, are more likely to present higher stress reactions in a game, thus increasing their risk of injury. These examples on the field include a) increased muscle tension, which can mean poor coordination in movements and b) narrowed peripheral vision and an increase in distractions, meaning that they can miss critical game cues. That can lead to delays in their reaction time, leading to delays in making decisions, which can heighten the risk of injury.

The good news is that mental performance interventions have shown huge benefit in injury interventions. Mental performance can a) reduce the athlete’s susceptibility to injury, b) facilitate the injury recovery process, c) give the athlete control over the recovery process, which in turn increases their motivation and adherence to rehabilitation protocols, and d) improve the communication process between the athlete and their doctors. This all allow the athlete to see themselves as active participants in their process and this has been shown to have a positive impact on injury rehabilitation. It is critical that they have autonomy in their recovery. Parents, coaches, and athletes need to understand the critical aspect of stress and the role it plays in injury prevention and recovery. Eating well and getting enough sleep are two of the simplest processes that can be incorporated into the athletes lives. Proper nutrition and sleep can reduce sensorimotor impairments and keep the athlete alert and energized. WIN the GAME will focus on areas of the athlete’s recovery process, to include

goal setting, imagery, relaxation techniques, and positive self-talk. These techniques will help athletes learn to control what they can control. This can help decrease some aspects of stress, thus helping the athlete decrease the risk of injury.

The Nationals are committed to giving your athlete the best experience possible both in body and mind. WIN the GAME is designed to give you the tools to help your athlete reach their potential on and off the field. Injury Recovery Process


  • Each athlete will deal with their injury in their own manner. There is no one size fits all recovery process.

  • Having a positive support system (Family, friends, teammates) is a critical step in the recovery process

  • The more stressors there are in an athletes life, the more an injury is likely to occur

  • Mental performance techniques can reduce stress, which can lower risk of injuries

  • Eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep can help the body properly recover


Hi, My name is John Hill.

I am a certified mental performance coach that can improve processes for athletes or businesses. I have Graduate degrees in the following areas:

1. MS Organizational Development and Leadership

2. MA Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Coaching)

3. M.Ed. Positive Coaching and Athletic Leadership

4. Graduate Certificate, Positive Psychology

I love the idea of helping people reach their goals, improving work environments and streamlining processes.I believe everything can be improved and made better. It is just a matter of gaining everyone's input and selecting the best way forward after that. As Harry Truman said, it is amazing what you can accomplish whe

n you do not care who gets the credit. I am a coach whose desire is to see people succeed and reach their potential. For me, my mission statement is “To focus my client’s passion and unleash their potential”. I want to help them discover their passion and at the same time discover who they are. Knowing both of these things is critical to personal and professional growth. I will be working with each team during the season to discuss mindset, culture, and goal setting.

If you are interested in individual training please email me at

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