Your Soreness May Not Be What You Think It Is!

OBaseball Catcherne of the biggest challenges I’ve had with athletes is getting them to look at a sore part of their body in a whole new way and then tap for that. Athletes are so conditioned to think that if some part of their body is sore, it’s because they were over-using that part of the body either in competition or practice. (I’m not talking about soreness that accompanies a real injury or after workouts.)

I’ll illustrate this by sharing a great story. I worked with an MLB catcher for three seasons before he retired. During the season, we would do weekly sessions to stay on top of issues that arose. For three solid seasons we had the exact same conversation, and it went like this:

Me: How is your shoulder and how are your knees?

Him: Well my shoulder is a little sore because I’ve been catching a lot this week (or my knees are a little sore because I’ve been catching a lot this week).

Me: Your shoulder (knees) isn’t sore from catching, it’s because there’s something you are emotionally upset about that didn’t get processed out of your body and it’s sitting in your shoulder (knees). Do you have any idea what that might be?

Him: No, not really. (Sometimes he did know.)

Me: How are things with your wife? How are things with your kids? How are things with your teammates? How are things with management? (After getting to know him, I narrowed it down to this list of questions.)

Him: He would name what he was upset about.

Me: Okay, move your shoulder (or bend your knees) and tell me on a scale from 0-10 how sore it feels.

Him: It’s about a 6 (that usually seemed to be the level of soreness).

Me: Let’s tap on the emotional upset. We do the tapping and then I ask him to move his shoulder or bend his knees and now tell me the level of soreness.

Him: He giggles and says “that’s amazing, it’s gone.”

Me: Yes, that’s because the soreness wasn’t from throwing and catching, it was the emotional upset that got stored in your shoulder (knees) to get your attention.

On the very last day I worked with him, we had this conversation again and tapped one more time for his soreness. Only this time we had a different ending (after he giggled and said “that’s amazing, the soreness is gone”)!

Him: So what you’re telling me is that when I’m upset about something it can settle into my shoulder and knees and cause soreness.

Me: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.

Him: So all these old retired catchers that are walking around all crippled, it’s not from catching all those games, it’s from all the emotional stuff that happened during the course of their career that never got processed and is still sitting in their body.

Me: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.

Him: So what you’re telling me is that I don’t have to be crippled when I’m older.

Me: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.

It brings tears to my eyes every time I tell this story. This man believed he would suffer the same fate as some other retired catchers and have to live a life crippled and in pain from years of catching. He now knows this isn’t true.

My experience with him is a common one among all my athletes. From golfers who believe their shoulders and backs are sore from swinging too much to runners that believe their legs are sore from practice, time and time again I’ve been able to show them it’s not what they think it is.

While emotions have an energy and frequency to them, first and foremost, they are chemicals that are released by the brain and flood the body. When you are angry with someone, that chemical of anger releases from your hypothalamus and floods your body, docking onto cell receptors made just for anger. I have come to believe that our body will place that anger (or whatever the emotion is) in a location that will be sure to get our attention. For athletes, that location is usually in the part of your body you use the most in your sport. It sure does get your attention!

With the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques it’s easy to speak to the body and release that soreness. The biggest challenge is the athlete’s conditioning around this issue. I spend a fair amount of time retraining athletes to ask this question when they notice soreness and their mind says it’s from competition or practice, “what’s happened in the last 24 to 48 hours that I’m upset about?” Your mind will do a “computer search” and pop up the answer and that’s what you tap on. Keep tapping on the issue and all the aspects around it until the soreness is gone. I promise you’ll be amazed!

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2 Responses to “Your Soreness May Not Be What You Think It Is!”

  1. Gloria Arenson Says:

    As usual, you hit the nail on the head! I was remembering when many years ago I was bedridden with what I now know is sciatica. It was excruciating. Years later I asked myself what was a “pain in the butt” at that time. It was sooo obvious. My 14 year-old daughter was acting up and I felt powerless over her.

    Thanks goodness I now have the tools to deal with these kinds of stress.

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