Futsal is an intense and grueling sport. Like soccer, it involves running, passing and fancy footwork, but it’s played inside on a solid floor with a smaller, harder ball. Staying fit enough for it is a commitment, staying injury free can be a challenge.
Samira Razavi, athletic therapist at the Toronto Futsal Club, watches school aged kids and 40-year-old weekend warriors tackle the sport every day. And when it comes to injuries, “a positive attitude keeps clients motivated to engage in their recovery,” she says.
In fact, research shows that ‘glass-is-half-full’ people have more favourable outcomes for just about every health outcome. Those with a positive attitude live longer, resist the common cold better and are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than our negative counterparts. Throw in our lower rates of depression and staying positive is an undeniable part of wellbeing.
It plays a star role in recovery, too.
Like many ATs, Razavi uses a combination of manual therapy and movement with her clients. “Clients who come in with a negative attitude tend to enjoy the manual therapy portion of treatment, but dread the part where they are off the table and have to actually put in work,” she says. “A positive attitude allows clients to go through the movements in the clinic properly and remember how it feels so they can reproduce it as part of their home exercise program.” Homework is the key to progress when working through any injury.
But maintaining a positive attitude can be hard at the best of times. When we’re in pain, or worried we won’t return to an activity we love, none of us are a ray of sunshine. Luckily, optimism can be learned. We can trick ourselves into it, even if we’re not feeling it.
First, be realistic. “Clients expect a certain level of recovery at a certain point and if they don't meet their personal criteria, they get discouraged and go into a negative place,” says Razavi.
Expect your therapist to work with you to help you stay positive. “If I have a really competitive athlete, I make everything a competition against me – they usually win and that makes them feel good,” says Razavi. She also makes sure to show clients their improvement, keeping track of how far they can push, pull, stretch or reach. “Visually seeing the change helps the athlete stay focused,” she says.
Don’t talk smack about yourself. It can be easy to say negative things when you’re in the middle of your second, seventh or twelvth session and still can’t put weight on your ankle, reach your hand above your head, or meet whatever goal you set. You have to believe you’ll get there – and believe that negative self-talk gets in the way. Instructional self-talk (“arm straight!” “kick high!” “breathe!” etc.) is more effective than motivational self-talk (“you can do it!” “go get ’em,” etc.).
Just keep it positive, and you’ll keep motivated.
BPHE, ATC, CAT(C)
Currently Head Athletic Therapist at Futsal Club Toronto, Samira provides immediate on-field emergency care, injury prevention techniques, and rehabilitation and has worked with varsity athletes at George Brown College, the University of Toronto Soccer teams, and the Ontario Soccer Center at both the provincial and national level. She also works at Competitive Edge Physiotherapy and Sports Conditioning when not on the soccer field or futsal court.