The Darkness inside an Athlete’s Brain

Starting this post I am feeling an uneasy feeling, firstly because I know that getting inside of the brain of a high performance athlete is dangerous; secondly because every person is different, my experiences, my thoughts and my belief system is true to me and is to be taken solely from a personal view and not to be interpreted as the only way that an athlete’s brain works (you are all educated people so you will hopefully get it :P).

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” VINCENT VAN GOGH

Dealing with darkness…what does this mean? In any athlete’s life (any life) you will have to come up against yourself and your brain. Inside your brain will be some interesting things. Inside here will be self doubt, anxiety, procrastination, fear, fear, fear and maybe let us just throw in some crazy mood swings just for fun. You may be on edge, you may be so worked up that you under perform even when you DID EVERYTHING to make sure that you could perform. These experiences will either destroy you or create you but persistence is the key. The brain and psychology is one aspect that I wish athletes studied on par with their degrees to gain their best performance.

So how do we deal with the darkness? Sadly, some athletes and people never do, some people learn to live with it and others learn to conquer it. You have the choice: give up, let it destroy you, or fight, fight through to get to the better days of your athlete life.

“Ride the waves everyone told me, enjoy the journey, they told me, I don’t think they realised how fucking big the waves were going to be” – Aimee Phillips

The next post I am going to document 30 days of me trying to use HEADSPACE (a meditation app). I am a very strong, self aware person but have neglected my meditation practices and I feel that this will add to my game and who I am as a person, most importantly. So the next 30 days I am going to document using the app and if it actually changed anything. See my stories and Facebook updates.

Also a massive thanks to my FACEBOOK community. 1000+ likes a month ago, but most importantly, genuine connections and support from you during the last 5+ years. You have helped provide me with the opportunities I have today. Thank you for never leaving my side.

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Champions League Qualifiers

In an interesting build up, I decided to stay in Wales. Within a week of accepting to stay in Wales for the campaign, I had an offer to go to Spain. It is funny that when it rains it pours and in an opportunity retrospect, you may have little or no opportunities and then many at the same time. Murphy’s Law.

“Being in limbo is one of the most annoying positions to be in, but I guess that is the beauty of an adventure: you never know where it may lead you”.

The draw? Ukraine bound playing against; Malta, Ukraine and the Champions of Romania. Never in my life would I have thought that I would have played in the Champions League, let alone discover and meet people from these beautiful nations. Thank you for your adventures, I had a blast. Thank you for introducing me to Ukrainian Soup, a delicacy from your country, thank you for the free wine and the best coffee in the sun. 4 nations coming together to play the game and for women, a beautiful memory. Hopefully not my last experience in Champions League again but if it is thank you to all the Met girls for making it an enjoyable experience for me and congratulations on your recent campaign finishing second in your group.

There are many segments of my Adventures in Wales, the draw, the games, the celebrations, Luckily, Tom Guntrip (Our Media Guy) based his Masters Thesis on the build-up and experience of competing at a Champions League Qualifiers. See the link below. Thank you so much Tom for sharing this journey and using your skills to add to the game and promote the women’s’ game. ENJOY!

“THE REAL VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY CONSISTS NOT IN SEEKING NEW LANDSCAPES, BUT HAVING NEW EYES.”

Next Stop: Wales

After my stint in Serbia I traveled to Wales. Some of my best memories to date are the days that I spent in Wales.

The people, the people, the people what beautiful, caring souls. And how did I get here? They say the world is small after this experience I really believe it. Thanks to 2 of my good friends who I met during my time in Auckland, they organised this move for me sweetly. Their kindness I will never forget. Everyone knows someone and all it takes is a message from one and you could be bang smack into the UK. Either way I got there.

The Training: I think I was the fittest I had ever been in my career to date being in Wales. Being a part of the Cardiff University set-up and High Performance systems; I was able to become strong, focus on my sprinting technique, use explosion and strength as a massive part of my game. The programmes and build up to Champions League was done brilliantly, the team was supported by excellent coaches, staff and the University. It was so nice to be back into a Western Culture. Just with more of what I knew. Thank you to all the girls who took me out, made me feel welcome and gave me a home when they did not need to. Playing football and fighting for positions can make these relationships difficult but I really appreciate this effort and fr looking past this.

Champions League…To be continued. If you want to know more details about certain aspects of my adventures, just let me know. I am sure we will get back to it eventually.

Until my Career (whatever I am doing) is over let us talk Serbia

Hi lovely people, I have 3 posts to blast out on a Wednesday, end of the season kind of thang. Anyway, I am in an interesting part of the season, the part where I TRY to let everything be but also take a direction and suss out my options. Football wise, career wise and life wise. Although, you may think that this is easy but for someone who travels from place to place this can be the hardest part ; being in limbo. You learn to ride the uncertainty. You learn to be at peace with whatever you can and try to breathe. The dream of course to earn the mega bucks playing at a high level, sadly the reality for semi/professional women’s players we often play for the game and in some cases the game can control us. One day, I really hope that this will change and is starting to right now thank goodness. So for many players, like me,we are filled with uncertainty not knowing what is just a CV away; I kind of find that so beautiful now and what first world problems my dear.

Options. Thank you God for a world of options. You have blessed me with an education that has given me multiple opportunities and led to experiences that have forced me to grow. On my adventures, I have been lucky to take on some interesting jobs. Never thought I would have experience in the Early Learning areas of learning. Never thought that I would be teaching Business English in Germany, scouting in Auckland and being a live in carer for a couple of years. There are so many jobs that I have had to pick up just for that extra cash, for that experience and to fill in the now. What I will NEVER forget are the people that have always made me a home in their home. Their love and support gave me the strength to get me through the season.

For the now, I will be ENJOYING this moment and when my contract is over very shortly this season start to knock on a few more doors. A lot of new doors are opening. Sydney has a beauty of opportunity.

Keep smiling, even when it is hard. Find what makes you happy and CELEBRATE IT. Celebrate it every single day. For we are impermanent.


The Training in Serbia

It is hard for me to remember exactly the details of every single part of my journeys. However, I will try my best.

The training in Serbia started with bands. I will never forget these bands, we spent 6 months told the same thing: “butt down, lower, knees apart, you are not doing it right”,daily. Crab walk, forwards, backwards, you name it. Reflecting on using these resistance bands I will have to say that I will continue to use them and THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT for your strength and general glute pre-activation.

The other aspect of Serbian training that was very important was our foam rolling. I never realized that foam rolling was such a sport and I will never forget the daily pre-activation workouts because the foreign players were always critiqued in every single way. For example, make sure that you are rolling on your side now, instead of your back. It was so stressful, I cannot paint a picture for you to understand but really looking back at it now. I am glad it happened and I can’t help but laugh at myself because the whole situation was comical.

Lastly, one aspect of Serbian training that I really admired during my time in Europe was the ability of Serbian players technically. In my team, all players were able to chip a precise ball with both their left and right foot to a player. An area that I have struggled with in the past and am not as precise with. I absolutely enjoyed playing with players who could cross a ball or loft a ball over the back-line and create space and time for you when you felt like there was none. I felt really challenged during this period of time, it hurt but I needed it to improve.

Overall, training with this team really improved my skill technically, not physically because we hardly did any running but technically I was introduced to another ball game. This was a general brief of training. The next blog will be about some funny memories. Please, control yourself for the next blog, you may be shocked.

Love Aimee, and p.s. thanks for following all my posts an stories on Instagram lately. I love your input.