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Creating a Powerful Post-Game Routine (For Hockey Players)

Updated: Jan 4

One Game Ends, The Next One Begins

Imagine this:

The final buzzer sounds, the crowd roars, and you glide off the ice.

Maybe you won, maybe you lost.

But here's the thing... the next game has already begun.

What you do immediately after each game can define your future as a young athlete.

Most players think that all they need to do is have a pre-game routine and they will be good to go.

But if your goal is to be the best you can be, then I have something different for you.

Your post-game routine is going to be your secret weapon.

It's going to be a tool that separates you from everyone around you.

Because it’s not just about what you do on the ice; it's also about how you handle the moments after.

It's about how you begin preparing yourself for the next game.

When one game ends, the next one begins.

The Challenge of Post-Game Recovery

Every hockey player, regardless of age or skill level, faces a crucial challenge after each game:

  1. Recovering effectively from the game

  2. Managing their emotions

  3. Learning from the game

Whether basking in the glory of a win or grappling with the disappointment of a loss, the minutes and hours following a game are a critical period.

Neglecting this time can lead to burnout, hindered performance, and unbalanced emotions.

These things can affect not just your next game but your entire athletic journey.

The Elite Post-Game Routine

The path to excellence is consistency.

Whether you win or lose, you want to run through the same consistent routine.

You want to make sure that the routine hits all three areas:

  1. Recovering effectively from the game

  2. Managing their emotions

  3. Learning from the game

1. Physical Recovery and Sleep

Let's keep this one simple.

Post game you want to help the body relax and recharge.

Of course in junior I know that after a big win you might go celebrate with the team.

But make sure you still run through a mini routine to get your body calm, cool, and in a recovery state - then go have fun.

Here's the routine I wish I had when I was playing.

Do this immediately after you shower.

The Next Level Post Game Routine (20 Minutes)

  1. Drink post game shake of some kind (quick nutrients)

  2. Complete some recovery breathing (2-3 minutes)

    1. Use this video if you arent sure:

    2. Once you know how to do it, you can set a timer and go

  1. Execute physical exercises (5-10 minutes)

    1. Stretching out all areas of body for 30 seconds each.

    2. Foam rolling to manage soreness

  1. Meditate (2-5 minutes)

    1. Let the emotions go

    2. Do not worry about reflecting until tomorrow when you can watch film and have an honest reflection

When you use relaxing breathing to calm your nervous system, it aids in recovery and better sleep. Remember, a well-rested athlete is a high-performing athlete. So look to get your ideal amount of deep sleep. And if you are going to drink alcohol (or smoke), try to stop at least 2-3 hours before bed so you can get your proper rem sleep. I don't encourage these things, but I know players do it, so I am not going to ignore this haha.

2. Embrace Reflection and Learning (Next Day)

Make sure you always schedule in a next-day reflection to go over your past game.

Whether it was your best game or your worst game, you can always learn something.

The reason we don't do this right after the game is that on the night off, we want to relax and not overthink things.

We also are going to be more emotionally charged which means it will be hard to look at the game honestly.

Best to wait until tomorrow to break down the game if possible.

Unless of course you have a morning game the next day, in that case, best to review your film asap.

So here is the routine:

Start with a structured debrief. Ask yourself these critical questions:

  • What was your objective in the game?

  • Did you achieve it, and if not, why?

  • What can you improve upon?

Now review your game film.

Ask yourself the above questions again.

Note down what you learned.

Note down what you want to work on for the next week of practices.

In our next-level programs, we use a weekly tracker to help keep players on track and keep their training in alignment.

Now the key here is to remember WHY we do this every game.

Because reflecting helps process your performance and emotions, paving the way for growth.

So take consistent time to do this each week after every game.

Watch how you begin to separate from the pack.

The Mindset Of The Elites

Balance Your Emotions

Learn from elite athletes: after a win, get back to work; after a loss, do the same.

Keep your emotions in check.

Celebrate your successes.

learn from your losses.

When you have an off game; remember, that tomorrow is always a new day to excel.

You only lose when you decide you have lost.

Otherwise, every loss is a lesson.

The Power of Consistency

So here is the key: Developing an elite post-game routine.

Realize that this is not a one-time effort.

Consistency is key.

By doing these things, you're not just preparing for the next game; you're building the foundations of:

  1. Resilient

  2. Confidence

  3. Success

Take the Next Step

Now that you know the importance of a post-game routine, it's time to do it.

Write out your plan.

Start implementing these strategies today.

  1. Reflect on your last game

  2. Engage in recovery practices

  3. Assess your emotional response

  4. Plan for your next training and game

Remember, the path to greatness begins with the steps you take after the game ends. See you at the next level!

- Corson

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Who is Corson Searles?

I am a former player & mental/performance advisor for AAA, junior, college, and pro hockey players. I am obsessed with dissecting atheletic performance potential, lifestyle design, and hockey development.


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