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AFL’s Hawthorn moves on quickly from loss

October 1, 2012

A disappointing weekend for Hawthorn has been quickly turned around by a renewed focus on a 2013 comeback.

Mark Evans, the club’s general manager of football, had this to say in the Herald Sun following the loss:

“You spend a lot of time planning for all the things that need to happen, but you don’t give a lot of thought to planning for what happens after a loss.

“But the club’s focus is about picking ourself up. Just recognising that they (Grand Finals) are hard to get in and even harder to win, and we turn our attention to getting on with the next one.”

The mood in the Hawthorn rooms immediately after the match had been doleful “and then quite emotional when the family and friends came into the dressing rooms and you realised the immense effort that goes in from so many people,” Evans said.

“You realised that it was the end of another campaign and you were into day one of the next one. Later that night the people at the function were still very respectful of the year that the club had put in, and the players were very well received, but there was maybe a little contemplation about the missed opportunity.”

This is to be expected.  The psychology of sport is serious, and the message sent of accepting the loss and moving forward as a team is a great example, particularly for young people.

Sports Psychology Today recommends the following five tips for being supportive to young players after a loss, but the advice works well for all ages:

  1. Focus on maintaining and improving confidence. 
  2. Focus on what was done well rather than mistakes.
  3. Allow a cool-off period of at least 30 minutes after a game for emotions to return to normal.
  4. Put the game in perspective – this is not a final chance, and there will be others.
  5. A loss does not mean you are a bad or weak person.

With those things in mind, players and fans alike can put a great season behind them and look forward to what’s in store for next year.

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