The final whistle blows, the lights dim, and as you exit the rink, there's a weight pressing down on you. It's not the physical toll of the game but an emotional burden. This feeling isn't uncommon; many athletes sometimes feel down or even an odd sadness after a game. No one really talks openly about this, but it's more common than you think.
It's different for everyone, and after years of playing & coaching at all levels, here's some insights I've gained about one of the harder topics in our sport:
1. **Physical Exhaustion**: The intensity of a hockey game can be draining. Our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol & adrenaline during intense physical exertion. When the game ends, there's a sudden drop in adrenaline and other chemicals, which can lead to feelings of fatigue, sadness, or even depression.
2. **Emotional Investment**: Players pour their heart and soul into the game. When things don't go as planned, the emotional letdown can be significant. A missed goal, a lost game, or even a minor mistake can magnify these feelings.
3. **High Expectations**: Sometimes, the pressure to perform can lead to post-game blues, especially if you fall short of your own or others' expectations.
4. **Social Dynamics**: Hockey is a team sport. Differences, conflicts, or feeling left out can contribute to lingering negative feelings for some.
5. **Post-Game Reflection**: After a game, players often replay moments, analyzing their moves, strategies, & execution. Overthinking or dwelling on missed opportunities can contribute to these feelings.
It's essential to understand that it's natural to feel down sometimes for everyone.
Recognizing these feelings are normal and their sources is the first step to addressing them and creating a plan to minimize their effects and get back to your positive, can-do self.
Talk to someone: a coach, teammate, a parent, or for some, a mental health professional.
Engage in relaxing recovery based activities, practice mindfulness, or simply get a good night's sleep. Remember, you don't have to keep these feelings inside, and part of them can even be a good thing...it means you are have high standards & expect a lot out of yourself.
But most importantly, remember, you can reach out to our Coaching Staff anytime you need & we'll do our best to get you back on track asap!