A Great Start to 2017!!

Welcome to 2017! I am back at school after a nice relaxing winter break! 

I had a particularly exciting start to my year, when I was invited to give a talk and team building session for a 12 year old girls Ringuette team last weekend. 

I had a lot of fun planning this 2 hour session. I first gave a bit of my own history.  I was only 15 years old when I won my first World Champion Title in New Zealand.  Although I competed in an individual sport, I also played on a high level soccer team and every team sport through school so I do know what it’s like to be a team player. It was important for me to acknowledge the parallels and differences between individual sports and team sports. The bottom line is that regardless of  being on a team or not, it is so important to always strive to be the best versions of ourselves. 

Sharing My Views

For the first hour, I focused on creating a positive relationships with pressure by:

  • being passionate
  • being confident and
  • being true to ourselves

Competing at a high level taught me the importance of being able to rise up to the pressure. It’s pure magic to be able to enjoy the competition, instead of crumbling under the pressure. I learned that if we can smile at pressure, instead of frown, we can achieve incredible things.  Athletes perform better when they are confident than when they are scared.

When you’re part of a team and you can be passionate, confident and know you own strengths,  you add so much to a team and together become even stronger.

We talked about their own individual goals and then the team goal. 

The coach also had the opportunity to share her own goals for the team and also for herself as the coach.  I think everyone liked hearing how much she believed in them.

Activities to Bond

For the activities section, the girls were brought through team building exercises in pairs and in small teams to bond and build trust off the ice. We did balancing exercises, using each other’s weight to work as a team and bigger strategic group challenges to work on communication and leadership skills within a group. 

Team mates (especially girls) need to feel that they can really trust each other on and off the rink/field/ring etc.  The more comfortable the team mates are together, the more they know they have each other’s backs which also helps deal with the pressure. Everyone is link in the chain.

Knowing Your Strengths

The girls were divided into two groups to problem solve.  It was very clear that they all had their own strengths.  Some were definite leaders, some were better communicators, some were great at following instructions, and  some were very creative in problem solving.  The point is – everyone had something to offer and together they were able to complete the task at hand.

It was fun to see their competitive spirit while racing in their teams to complete challenges and really work together.

I love to emphasis that everything we learn in sports (individual or team) applies to how we approach anything else in life whether it be school, relationships, our careers, other hobbies and goals etc. For me, I know the transferable skills have impacted me deeply in my personal life.

In school, I am currently doing a critique of a campaign advertisement. We got to choose any brand we wanted, so naturally I picked one that one that has struck a chord with me. I chose the Always #LikeAGirl Campaign. The essence of this campaign is to address the issue that there is a distinct gap in confidence in younger girls through vs. girls late teens, and early twenties. There is a decrease in confidence in girls while going through puberty and over half of girls quit sports around the same time.  The brand  Always is determined to help change that with their campaign to rewrite the rules of what it means to be a girl in society. 

I am a huge fan of this campaign and talk about it often. I think about everything that sports has done for me, especially competing at such a high level. Sports and competition has helped me grow as a person and taught me lessons that have shaped who I am and the way I approach life; I hope that the girls on this team keep playing sports and keep doing what they love to do, no matter what!

I was honoured when their coach contacted me to give this workshop.  It’s something that I love to do and I look forward to my next Believe Project Session 🙂