Overcoming injury in sport: “It’s about staying focused and having that confidence you’ll come back stronger”

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England Lioness Jordan Nobbs missed out on the chance to play at this year’s Women’s World Cup due to a knee injury. But overcoming injury and working through such a career defining moment can show us how mentally strong we are, as the footballer discovered.

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This week, England Lioness Jordan Nobbs tells Stylist Strong about how learning to appreciate her mental strength helped her to overcome a knee injury which forced her to pull out of 2019’s Women’s World Cup – and how embracing her physique helped her to feel more positive about her body.

1. What does ‘strong’ mean to you?

For me, it’s all about believing in yourself and having the inner confidence to go out there and succeed – whether that’s on a football pitch or in life.

2. What part does physical strength play in your idea of ‘strength’?

Of course, physical strength is an important element for me in football, but I think being mentally strong is the key ingredient in sport.  

3. What impact do you think mental strength has on your life?

Mental strength is what takes you to the next level and it’s something I’ve developed since I started playing when was seven. It’s so crucial to have that confidence when you’re playing for England and Arsenal and it drives you to be the best you can be. The most difficult thing about my knee injury (which resulted in missing the Women’s World Cup) was not being able to play football day to day. When you love something so much and you’ve done it from a young age you really miss both training and the games, so it’s about staying focused and having that confidence you’ll come back stronger. 

Jordan Nobbs
Jordan Nobbs on overcoming injury: "It’s about staying focused and having that confidence you’ll come back stronger."

4. How do you motivate yourself?

I actually like to stay calm and focus on specific tasks each day, whether that’s being the best player in every training session or in a match itself. I’m not one to get too hyper before a big game – my playlist is very mellow!

5. Looking at physical strength, some women feel intimidated at the gym/working out. What’s your best advice for getting through this?

Body image is a huge thing, but we want to encourage all women that they are beautiful. There’s a reason they may have a certain physique – to make them the best at what they do, so it’s important to remember that. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have less muscly legs when I’m wearing a dress, but it makes me better at football, so it’s about embracing that. 

6. What should we remember when looking at other people’s fitness regimes on social media? And in fact, social media in general?

It can be difficult sometimes but try to keep an open mind and don’t compare yourself too much to other people. Focus on being the best you can be – and don’t feel uncomfortable about that.

7. What’s your advice for women who are looking to gain strength, both physical and mental?

It’s all about that first little step – whether it’s getting that gym membership, beginning a fitness regime or joining a new football team. Once you try it I promise you’ll enjoy it! If you do happen to have setbacks along the way, surround yourself with good people and talk openly to keep yourself in a good place. 

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Head & Shoulders, Official Hair Care Partner of the England Football Teams and the UK’s #1 anti-dandruff shampoo brand, spoke to Jordan Nobbs about her confidence building tips at St George’s Park, ahead of England Women’s game v Brazil on 5th October.

Images: Getty/Head & Shoulders

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