Method #1: Dynamic Cool-Down

Post-game recovery should start with 4-6 minutes of the same dynamic warm-up drills you perform before the game. 

We like to describe this as “do not slam on the brakes, slow down slowly.” Here is a car analogy. If you are driving your car, and always choose to slam on the brakes as close to the stop sign as possible, this will result in much faster rates of wear & tear on your car. Rather, if you drive like most responsible people, you slowly decelerate as you approach the stop sign and gradually apply more pressure to your breaks, resulting in normal rates of wear & tear on your car. 

Method #2: Get out of a “stressed” state 

 The body perceives all types of stress (high stress environments like a game or physical stress creating from physical exertion such as high-speed skating and/or body contact) the same way. Stress is stress, and it can wear you down over time if you do not help your body to get out of these states of stress. 

Games & high-pressure events create a stress response in your body and activate your sympathetic nervous system aka your “fight or flight” response which allows you to make quick decisions, have a faster reaction time, and produce higher levels of speed, power and force output. This is important – you need these qualities to perform at a high level in a game, but if you do not “get out” of this state of stress and are always in a “fight or flight” state, it can take a toll on your body, mind and performance very quickly. 

To kickstart the recovery process, you need to pull your body out of the “fight or flight” response and perform activities to switch into your parasympathetic mode which is your “rest & digest” response. The state of “rest & digest” is the exact opposite of the “fight or flight” state and helps to reduce circulating levels of stress hormones, reduce blood flow to your peripheral muscles and kickstart the recovery response. 

 The best way to kickstart the “rest & digest” response is to lay on your back in breathe! Set a timer for 3-5 minutes and mindfully breathe through your nose in 1 of 2 ways: 

  • Technique #1: 5-sec in, 5-sec out through your nose. Eyes closed, deep belly breaths. 

  • Technique #2: box breathing technique, all through the nose. 4-sec inhale, 4-sec hold, 4-sec exhale, 4-sec hold.