26 Jul 15 Lessons For Young Female Athletes on Training and Life
It’s been a while since I’ve written a deep, heart gripping article.
I’ve been jiving a lot with the science and training content lately, and have been enjoying sharing the latest female athlete performance training literature on my YouTube Channel.
Alas, today I felt convicted to write a different piece because it has profound messages that all young girls need to hear – for sport, as well as life.
I hope that these 15 lessons speak to you, encourage you, and empower you.
1. Discipline sets you free.
You can only wing it for so long. You can only get by with going through the motions for so long. You can only do the bare minimum for so long. You can only be disorganized and chaotic for so long.
Until…you need to up the ante on your discipline. This means building a routine that dials in your nutrition, your training, and your recovery, and sticking to it without wavering.
Discipline is given a negative connotation, but truly provides fulfillment in the long term. It serves as a strict, yet strong foundation on which you implement your life.
Here is one of my favorite quotes on discipline:
This is so true – discipline may be an annoyance initially, but in the end, it pays dividends.Discipline may be an annoyance initially, but in the end, it pays dividends. Click To Tweet
In the performance world, it can be a pain to do extra strength training, or to prepare your meals and snacks for a busy week, or to remember to do your recovery work, but this discipline keeps you energized, strong, and confident. The initial cost is worth the end benefit.
And guess what? That’s life.
I can think of several examples in the real world:
Being disciplined with money and not buying the coolest things to impress others, to later have security and accumulated wealth.
Being disciplined in academics and studying and not partying like a rock star, to have greater career opportunities after college.
Being disciplined and saying no to alcohol and not being a part of the “cool” crowd, to later have longevity and health.
Being disciplined with nutrition and taking extra time to prepare your meals for the week, to later have a healthy body composition and vibrant energy.
Discipline sets you free.
2. Speed development is simple.
…But just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean girls do it correctly.
Here are 3 tips:
– Run fast
– Work on mechanics year round
– Utilize proper rest times
Nail down these three consistently, and you’re on your way to becoming a faster athlete.
3. It’s Not About You
I used to be into the “self help” and “self care” and “you cannot love others until you love yourself” culture. It’s a deceptive movement that looks alluring on the outside, yet it leaves you feeling alone, isolated, and depressed time and time again.
This is because humans need each other. Humans get meaning from service to others, and not always putting the self first.
Yes, you need your days to rest and care for your mind, body, and soul, but the truth is, you still have a job to do.
You have teammates to help. You have a coach to serve. You have friends and family to care for.
If you waited until you were 100% okay and just “loved yourself enough”, until you meditated ten times today, and did your positive affirmations, you’d ignore those who desperately need you.
Sports aren’t about you. It’s about the collective and something greater than yourself.
You have a job to do today and it’s to be of service to your teammates and coach.
You can celebrate your teammates even if you’re in a rut. You can still show up for your team even when you’re injured.You can celebrate your teammates even if you're in a rut. You can still show up for your team when you're injured. Click To Tweet
You don’t need to figure yourself out and find your inner peace before you can serve others.
You also can’t just wallow in your sadness, and hide from the world. This makes matters worse.
You have people to serve and connect with.
So next time you’re not at 100%, go help someone.
It’s not about you, and realizing this makes your life far more rich and meaningful.
4. Lead by humbleness.
Women are told to be loud and bold. I’m all for female empowerment, but in a different way.
Being humble, moving in silence, and setting a quiet example can be just as inspirational and powerful, as the girl who posts every accomplishment, experience, and worldly adventure on Instagram.
Walking with a humble spirit takes more strength and more confidence in yourself.Walking with a humble spirit takes more strength and more confidence in yourself. Click To Tweet
You don’t have to boast, show off, and yell, “I am woman, hear me roar!” to showcase your talents and your amazing life. That’s actually seeking external approval.
You can lead by being humble and by simply, doing the work.
I promise you, there are plenty people observing from afar who are inspired by your humility.
It’s true strength, and it’s also a quiet confidence that roars from the depths of your heart.
If you’re so fantastic and so amazing, you don’t need to tell everyone.
You just let your body of work speak for itself.
5. Analyze what you post on social media
Social media is your digital resume, so you need to be careful with what you post because years down the road, it will either serve you, or haunt you.
Is what your posting for Likes and validation?
Is what your posting boastful?
Is what your posting without class and modesty?
I get I sound like your mom, but you need to use better discernment when posting your pictures.
You will never be fulfilled if you keep chasing approval from the internet. You will never be happy because it will never be enough Likes and comments.
Analyze what you post and why.
Are you doing it for your ego and putting yourself on a pedestal, or are you doing it for education and actually trying to make a difference in the world?
6. Before quitting something, try it for 6 months straight.
Don’t get mad at the results you didn’t get, with the work you didn’t put in.
Want to get better at something? Don’t quit and commit to it for 6 months. No slip ups.
Then, see what happens.
7. Your nutrition must support your training and life.
Your body is a temple.
Nourish it. Hydrate it. Fuel it.
With the amount of calories being burned from your training and games several times a week, your nutrition must support this massive level of expenditure.With the amount of calories being burned from your training and games several times a week, your nutrition must support this massive level of expenditure. Click To Tweet
Otherwise, your muscles, bones, and joints will wither away, and your energy, motivation, and focus will wane.
8. Good training habits now set you up for a healthy adulthood.
Reality check: you’re going to have to train harder as a retired athlete, than you are now as a youth athlete.
Life gets harder as you age with muscle atrophy and cognitive decline creeping in over the years.
The good news is, with good training and nutrition, you can still strengthen your body and brain, and live an empowered and vibrant life in your old age.
Start good habits now because you’ll still need to hit the gym and get under the iron when you’re done playing your sport.
9. True happiness comes from the simple moments.
I’ve been to over 15 countries and 3 continents. I’ve seen two natural wonders of the world. I coached soccer and lived in Brazil for a year. I’ve done New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach. I’ve camped in the Amazon jungle. I’ve toured Barcelona’s stadium. I’ve hiked Machu Picchu. I’ve hang glided over Rio de Janeiro.
I guess you can say I’ve lived the wanderlust life that so many girls dream of – when you jet from adventure to adventure, seek the next experience, get excited about who you’re going to meet, and get a rush of dopamine after you post that perfectly staged, epic travel photo for everyone to gawk over.
I’m incredibly grateful and consider myself lucky to have had these experiences, but with anything, there’s always a cost.
Many girls envy this life. They long for it as they scroll their social media feed and see influencers living in “abundance” and their “manifested dream life.”
But truthfully, from a woman who lived it in for many years in her 20s, it’s 1. not reality and 2. not as fulfilling as you think.
I’m not saying don’t travel. By all means, take a vacation and have yourself a magical experience when you can.
But don’t expect it to be constant.
Reality isn’t a wanderlust, carefree, do-whatever-you-want, selfish, fulfill your desires type of thing. Eventually, you have a job to do and people to serve besides yourself. You either pursue a meaningful career, or care for your children and family one day.
Despite all of the sparkling experiences, living a wanderlust life left me isolated and empty at times. I was seeking that next post, next best thing, next adventure all the time. I never found true, steady happiness. It was far, far from a stable life.
I find joy and excitement staying at home with a coffee mug in-hand writing blogs and books for young girls and inspiring the next generation.
The simple things make you not only the most happy, but the most grateful.
10. What you do when no one is watching matters.
Who are you when no one is watching?
Are you your most nourished, healthy, strongest, kind, humble, loving, giving, compassionate self?
Are you making that nutrient packed breakfast? Are you picking up the trash you left at the park? Are you consuming the right social media content as you lie in bed in your pajamas? Are you taking extra time to clean your room and put things in order and be considerate of your parents? Are you learning more about your craft from books and podcasts? Are you acting like someone is watching your every move, and every decision you make is based on integrity and truthfulness?
What you do when no one is watching is what matters, and it’s who you truly are.
You’re not chasing the Like, you’re not trying to reel in more followers, and you’re not seeking clout.
You’re just alone with your integrity.
Be your best self behind closed doors. That’s all that matters.
11. It’s Called Injury Reduction
Anyone who guarantees “injury prevention” or who promises healing…run the other way.
The truth is, health is not guaranteed. Of course, you can stack the odds in your favor by doing strength training, nourishing your body with the right nutrients, getting good sleep, and living your healthiest lifestyle, but injuries can still occur.
Sports are rough, and there are so many factors at play that injuries cannot fully be prevented. They can only be reduced.
Even the strongest athletes can still get hurt. Even the healthiest people can still get the cold or flu, disease or cancer.
Your best bet is to be the healthiest you can be, so your body can handle sport and life stressors better, and so you have a fighting chance to be less susceptible to injury and disease.
Even if worst case does happen, whether you get injured or sick, at least you learned discipline along the way. At least you found meaning in overcoming feats of strength in the gym. At least you respected your body with healthy food. At least you built quality relationships.
Do the best you can to prepare for what life demands.
12. Relationships are important
You can’t brave the world on your own (remember, it’s not about you).
Work as hard on your relationships (if not harder), than your sports career.
13. It Isn’t About Being Positive All The Time
You don’t have to always be positive. And that is okay.
You will face performance ruts, your energy and motivation will plunge at times, and you will struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel when nothing is going your way.
There isn’t anything wrong with feeling bad, even a little crappy at times. It’s sports, and it’s life.
In the most melancholy times, it’s about meaning and learning a lesson, and you may not see it now, but it will show itself at some point, and you’ll be like, “ahh I get why this happened now.”
Have a bad day, but also, have faith that it always works out for your own good.
14. Follow what you’re good at.
“Follow your passion” can be misleading advice.
You see, I’m passionate about baking and cooking, but I’m not going to be the next star on Master Chef. I’m passionate about playing the clarinet, but I’m not going to be in the national symphony orchestra. I’m passionate about fashion and modeling, but I’m not going to be on the cover of Glamour. I’m passionate about economics, but I’m not going to work on Wall Street.
As passionate as I am about these things, I realized I’m not the most amazing at them, and I’m far from being the best of the best.
Instead, I followed what I was good at: soccer and coaching. And the more I followed my craft, the more I fell in love with it as I continued to learn and master it.
I just so happen to LOVE coaching more each year because it is my purpose. And because it’s my purpose, it organically grew into my passion.
15. Everything requires sacrifice.
The question is: is your sport, or your purpose so meaningful to you, you enjoy the sacrifices you make?
That’s when you know you’re on the right path.
Realize that everything in life, even if it’s something you enjoy, requires sacrifice.
What is something that makes you ooze joy that is worth fighting for?
Get clear on this now, and you will never give up even in the hardest times.
For more on specific sets and reps, as well as age specific programs, check out my ONLINE TRAINING SUBSCRIPTIONS HERE
For more on training the youth female athlete, check out my guide book THE STRONG FEMALE ATHLETE HERE