Certified as an EMDR therapist, when a performer experiences what is perceived by them as an “athletic trauma,” I work with my clients on processing a specific memory that can become stuck and repeat itself when situations similar to the trauma are present. Examples of this in sports might show up as:
Volleyball - continuing to hit the net after they serve or hit the ball.
Swimming - jumping up off the diving block instead of out, limiting the distance achieved by the start in a fast race.
Basketball - missing the game tying free throw.
Football – fumbling the handoff.
When the impact of an experience is traumatic enough it can become a stored memory complete with the physiological responses and thoughts that were present during the event.
These traumas can have lasting effects on future performances. The goal of EMDR for athletes experiencing these performance blocks is to:
Process the performance trauma by identifying pain points.
Desensitize the athlete from the experience by processing the emotions connected to limiting, negative beliefs, images and feelings that have been impeding peak performance.
Allow the athlete to feel they are fully present and are able to show up to practices, games and competitions with a clear mind.