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Depression And Sport: After The Game The Judo Way

Many Judo Players Suffer Depression After Competing

You don't have to be a Judo Olympian to suffer from depression after that climactic contest.

If you are any kind of athlete, you will have trained long and hard for many hours; sometimes weeks and even months for that main event. If you don't succeed in your goal you have to deal with the pain both mentally and in judo even physically. But even if you win after the euphoria wears off there is also a sense of loss.

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There is always the next contest, you can always throw yourself into the training for the next challenge but there will always be a part of you that remembers the feelings.

It is said that true champions just shake it off and most of us are told, sometimes even by our coaches that "you just have to move past it or use the feelings as motivation.

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Sometimes it is easy and it is easier for some than others

Most times I never minded losing. I was usually in it just for the fun and I always learned something. I usually spent more time laughing about the fight afterwards than thinking about it. Especially if I or the other player had made a stupid mistake.

I remember one particular occasion where I had beaten another player just weeks after he had beaten me with exactly the same move he used to beat me. We met for dinner afterwards and we were both laughing hysterically about how he could have been so silly as to walk into the same trap he had set up for me weeks before.

Still, there were those contests were it really meant something to win ... or lose. Those occasions still stay with me.

It's easy to say "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger" but sometimes it's hard going through the emotions that will eventually make you stronger.

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Depression and Sport

Judo, Depression and Sport

Nobody wants to call this feeling depression but that is what they are.

Depression and sport can be very real companions and Judo, despite the front that we all put on, is no exception. In fact,Judo players maybe some of the worst affected; after all nobody wants to appear weak, it is a martial art after all.

But it is not a weakness to admit to your feelings. Yet I would venture to say that the more ready we are to acknowledge our feelings the stronger we are because it means going against the prevailing attitudes.

I know, it seems a contradiction that exercise is one of the best things that you can do to combat depression. With all the training etc. that we do, depression and sport should not have any association. It is true that the exercise will combat depression but exercise is not the same as a contest.

Resilience is more than a rebound from a contest

Resilience in sport is more than just being able to physically rebound from a contest. We need to be able to rebound emotionally and that may not as easy.

Depression and sport is not a very open or widely discussed subject. In fact, it is a bit taboo. Still, I think that it is an important subject to open up. I think that to do so is consistent with the nature of Judo (the gentle way).

If you are struggling with depression and sport or depression at all or you are confronting some kind of post-event stress, you should talk to someone about it. Your coach, your team councillor or even an outside councillor. Don't keep it to yourself. Remember that one of the premises of success in any sport is "never give up". It is the same in Judo or any sport. Keep telling until somebody listens.

If you can find a copy I recomend "The Olympian's Success Paradox: When The Games Are Over, Managing Post Olympic Stress Syndrome In Olympic Athletes" it is well worth reading. It is not just for anybody that has experieced this kind of depression but also for anybody that has not experieced this kind of depression, to gain a better understanding.

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