24 Jul An Open Letter to Young Female Athletes Who Want To Level Up
Dear Young Female Athlete,
You are in control.
You control your thoughts, your words, your actions.
You control what you consume, how you speak to yourself, what you do.
You control your mindset, your affirmations, your daily habits.
You control your friend groups, your nourishment, your self care.
You control your focus, your attitude, your training.
Ahhh, sounds relieving, right?
Sounds simple, right?
Sounds easy, right?
Sounds like the greatest self help, spiritual, woke, positive, and most glittery advice, right?
Alas, it is, and leveling up is a simple pursuit.
It’s hard to do consistently and relentlessly.
It’s challenging to be dialed in with everything, from training, to nutrition, to sleep, to stress management, to social media, to friendships, to recovery and leisure, to hydration – all while still looking like a composed queen amidst the noise.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
It’s okay to feel anxious.
It’s okay to feel uncertain.
It’s okay to feel doubt.
It’s okay to feel flat.
It’s okay to feel you’re failing others.
It’s okay to feel you’re failing yourself.
It’s okay to feel the world is going insane.
I’ve been there. Your friends have been there. You’re not alone.
Being a young female athlete is a bumpy, imperfect journey that has its away of making you forget who you are, detouring you from what is important, and making you wonder how you’re going to maintain momentum.
Especially nowadays in a drastically changing and uncertain world, it isn’t easy to be self aware. It isn’t easy to unplug from the virtual negativity, remember your priorities and hone in on your strengths. It couldn’t be harder to sift through the fluff, not get distracted by the news feed, and not get triggered by the drama.
On top of that, you are asked to show up on the pitch fully yourself – resilient, tenacious and confident.
But how can you when you just failed an exam?
How can you when you just broke up with your boyfriend?
How can you when your best friend stopped following you on Instagram?
How can you when your menstrual cycle is rocking your world?
How can you when you feel the weight of world issues on your shoulders?
How can you when you want to change the sickness of society?
How can you when you’re stressed with grades and SAT scores and college apps?
These are all understandable traumas in the young female athlete world.
World events, boyfriend problems, friend drama, school stress, standardized tests, hormonal storms, social media bullies – all of the things that are detrimental to your athletic performance.
But guess what? As much as you cannot escape the setbacks and distractions, you can always come back to this constant:
You are in control.
You are in control of leveling up all components of being a young female athlete – sleep, nutrition, relationships, recovery, physical training, community – so that when crap does hit the fan, you have a less jolting response.
Rather, you have a cool and collected one that invites problems as an organic part of life, and accepts them with open arms.
As these issues can bubble up, you feel them intensely, and then just like a breeze, they blow through your mind and pass away swiftly.
You control the controllables – the things that help mitigate an eruptive response, and allow you to move into acceptance of adversity.
You are in control.
So start dialing in with all areas of performance.
Sleep – uninterrupted, 7-8 hours.
Nutrition – energy, nourishment through vitamins and minerals, hydration.
Relationships – friends, boyfriends, family who uplift you, boundary setting.
Recovery – breathing, meditation, and stretching to regulate internal stress.
Physical training – building resiliency from injury, improving speed, power, conditioning, and feeling your most empowered.
Community – surrounding yourself with empathetic, motivating, and amazing humans who support your mission, celebrate your strengths, and encourage you to follow your dreams.
If you want to level up as a young female athlete, blossom into a queen on the field, and excel in the world, you have to take inventory of your life.If you want to level up as a young female athlete, blossom into a queen on the field, and excel in the world, you have to take inventory of all of your life. Click To Tweet
You can’t improve your intensity during physical training, if your nutrition is all but chips and cookies and fried food.
You can’t improve sleep quality, if you’re hung up about your friendships and dating life.
You can’t recover, if you’re not putting in the reps at the gym with your mobility and breathing work.
You can’t regulate your body’s stress response, if you’re hanging out with drama infused friends.
You can’t manage your anxiety, if you’re constantly on social media and transfixed by blue light.
You can’t make spontaneous and creative decisions on the pitch, if you’re not working on meditation or calming the nervous system.
You can’t run at your fastest in the second half, if you’re not fueling with the calories and nutrients to sustain your energy.
Just like a puzzle, all of these pieces fit together to create the vibrant, colorful whole of you as an athlete.Just like a puzzle, all of these pieces fit together to create the vibrant, colorful whole of you as an athlete. Click To Tweet
After all, you’re a multi-dimensional human, with infinite systems and neural connections – all that must be built to their potential.
Yes, it’s going to be hard to fill these buckets.
And yes, you’re going to fall short in several categories, and deeply ponder, ‘do I really have friends that crappy, who are holding me back from being my best self?!’
Yes, you’re going to make some serious breakthroughs, and become aware of old, comfy patterns that haven’t been serving you.
Maybe you’ve been hanging out with friends who don’t support your athletic pursuits, or who don’t get excited when you achieve something awesome.
Maybe you’ve been on social media 8 hours a day and it’s depleting your energy and ruining your sleep cycle.
Maybe you’re dating a boy who doesn’t encourage you to be a healthier person.
What little things in your inventory can you dive down right now that feel even the slightest bit icky and need improvement?
You are in control of discovering your shortcomings, and then taking powerful action to improve them.
Even the smallest action does you a major service.
Adding a an extra glass of water into your diet. Going to bed an hour earlier. Disconnecting from social media at 8pm. Avoiding the ‘bad crowd.’ Eating a bowl of veggies as a snack. Doing yoga or meditation before a game.
Write these down. Get detailed on your inventory and keep your notebook on-hand.
No, I don’t expect you to be perfect, but I do expect you to make progress – the incremental, subtle progress that amounts to leveling up into something empowering over time.
Progress, not perfection is what will allow you to become the fullest expression of yourself as an athlete and human.Progress, not perfection is what will allow you to become the fullest expression of yourself as an athlete and human. Click To Tweet
In fact, you should be a different person each week.
Yes, each week!
If I see you seven days from now, would you have made the adjustments in your weakest categories of sleep, nutrition, relationships, recovery, physical training, and community?
Would there be a slight improvement?
Or would there be stagnation?
I would hope the former.
You’re here to be hard on yourself, admit your faults, and improve the best you can, even if meager steps along the way that turn into explosive strides over time.
I urge you to deeply look through the holistic lens of your performance. It is the best way to out-run, out-last, and out-play your opponents who fail to look at the bigger picture.I urge you to deeply look through the holistic lens of your performance. Click To Tweet
And I’m not just talking about opponents on the field, but in life, such as toxic friends, stressors, anxieties, fears, insecurities, the whole mixed bag of mess that gets dumped on you every day.
One day, you might become a doctor who needs quality sleep to perform surgery.
One day, you might become a CEO who needs to eat a rich breakfast before you make an investment decision.
One day, you might become a lawyer who needs to stay physically strong to feel confident in court.
One day, you might become a professional soccer player who needs to meditate daily to handle social media criticism.
You are in control.
…of taking this inventory, of looking at the whole of your being, and moving forward to optimize it.
It’s going to be hard.
It’s going to take you scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, yet mustering up self awareness and saying, ‘wait a minute, why am I doing this?’ and you get up to go train instead.
It’s going to take you feeling fatigued and so unmotivated on your period, yet saying to yourself, ‘I’m going to be extra proactive with my nutrition and recovery so I can feel better.’
It’s going to take you feeling emotionally wiped out from your friend groups, yet having the strength to cut people off who have sucked your energy and deterred your progress all these years.
It’s going to take you feeling like a brick is weighing on your chest from anxiety, yet having the awareness you feel off and need to seek help, or confide in others who are trustworthy and empathetic.
You are in control.
Start taking inventory in all of the categories, and start leveling up.
Being in control is an empowering feeling, and you have the capability to take charge of the entirety of your being.
To level up in performance and life, realize you are the power. With a little self awareness and knowing when your mind, body and soul feel off, you can move forward and control how all of the categories of performance manifest.
You are in control to level up.
An imperfect woman who takes inventory weekly, and has committed her lifetime to progress, not perfection.
To listen to more female athlete training insights, listen to The Soccer Queens Podcast.
To train year-round and become the most robust, resilient and confident female athlete you can be, get The Total Youth Soccer Fitness 365 Program HERE.