My Personal Journey into Sports & Performance Psychology

Now that we know the basis and history of the exciting field of sport and performance psychology, let me tell you why I chose the career field. Let’s time travel back to the year 2013. I was a freshman in high school and was at the basketball’s team summer tournament. Two days in, and I tear up my right knee. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), meniscus, and medial collateral ligament (MCL), all in shreds. So what happened next? Read on for My Personal Journey into Sports & Performance Psychology…

Dealing with an ACL, Meniscus Tear & Scoliosis

So, one surgery and six months of physical therapy later, I was back on the court. The next season rolls around and I am fit, healthy and happy. Well that is until I drove into lane and went down in pain as my left knee went out; and you guessed it, another ACL and meniscus tear. So, here comes another knee surgery. This one, however, comes with a price. I also had to get my scoliosis (curvature of the spine) fixed. 

9 Months’ Physical Therapy

Nine months of physical therapy  and I am back in action. Only for a little though. Fall practice starts, and a week in, I once again tear my left ACL. Another season gone. I am devastated. I do the physical therapy and get to play out my entire senior season, but it has been a bumpy ride. Three years of not being able to play the sport I love came with many emotions, most of them being negative. I had to help myself get through the pain and depression. 

I was thinking “How can I help athletes and other active people get through the injuries, physical therapy and the depressive states of not being able to do what you love?”. I did not want others to go through the same mental rollercoaster I was forced to go through. I first went to school to become a Physician’s Assistant. I quickly figured out that that field wasn’t for me. I need to actively help those going through the bumpy ride of injuries and uncertainty in fitness.

Deciding on Sports & Performance Psychology as a Career

I found sport and performance psychology and knew this is what I had to do. I have worked at the physical therapy unit where I spent my high school career at. The therapists and athletic trainers would ask me to talk to those dealing with injuries. 

The people who were uncertain of what would happen to them after surgery and physical therapy. Most of the people were high school athletes. I would listen to their concerns and sympathize with them; but most importantly I would encourage them to finish out the therapy, get healthy and get back to doing what they loved! 

Helping People Get Back into Sports & Action

I still try to go back to the physical therapy center when I am home from school. Even if I help one person get back into sports and action, I know I’ve made a difference. How can anybody be truly happy when something they love to do gets sidelined or put on hold? I made it my goal to help people, (even if it is just one person), get back to being happy and active.

I am now going into my last semester of college, and I’m ready to further my education and passion of sport and performance psychology, (with a heavy focus on injury psychology), in graduate school and in the real world. So, in two years, look for me trying to change the world of active people needing help to get back to what they love as an educational sports psychologist. 

Many people find meaning in their experience by helping others avoid the mistakes they made. Often the most fulfilling careers come from such a way to add value to other people. What are your thoughts on Cierra’s story above? Share your comments in the comments below, join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter InstagramWant to get deeper into the subject of motivation? Then check out these articles on a wide variety of motivational subjects to find your happy!

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