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.

How to Deal with People that are Hard to Deal With – Football – Wise

Hi everyone, we are going to have a small break from my adventures in Serbia and get back to those stories next week. This blog is about dealing with those hard personalities on and definitely off the pitch and yes I am one of them.

In football there are huge personalities and in life, but in this blog I am only going to cover some of the personalities that I have had to deal with on the pitch. Some people may be able to relate, others not, and that is perfectly ok but if you are one of those players or people that can relate then this blog is for you.

When you are playing in a team, there are huge and forever-changing dynamics and personalities. If someone does not like you, they have the power to destroy your season and either turn the team against you or make you the champion or “popular player”. I am a very positive individual, who can be very kind. In football, this has been mistaken by many players. Who have made fun of how I am as a person and as a player on the field. I have a unique personality that can easily be targeted. Why? This is because I am different and I guess football teams can either embrace that or ridicule you for it.

I do not know about you but I can accept criticism, but what I do not like and absolutely hate is the constant yelling and being talked to like a dog from individuals at times, it comes with the territory. Why do these players do this? Good question, please ask them for me. Obviously, everyone has different belief systems and deal with situations differently. This will happen anywhere you are but I truly believe that there is no space for toxicity in any organisation.

. Personally, I do not believe that someone telling me how to play the game every move of the game is effective because I have my own brain, but what is helpful is my teammates having high expectations of me, like in Germany. My advice on this, put them in their place, otherwise they will get worse and worse. Or just laugh and feel sorry for them and play BOSS anyway. When you play BOSS, there is nothing more to say.

Look, the main thing to say is: I feel you. Over the years, I have had so many messages from players explaining to me the racism, abuse, isolation they found whilst playing in their teams. I really hope that this does not happen to you, but there will be times where you face adversity, I can guarantee you on that. We have all gone through it, we go through it and yes, these players are in our team, and we are a team so we have to work with what we have got. You can influence how they react and deal with you but I don’t think its worth the energy worrying about or thinking that there is something wrong with you; there isn’t.

No one should be talked to with disrespect or a tone that is not respectable. Do not ever let them dim your light.

Until next time. Aimee

How I Got Through My First Year Away?

Yeah, I put on 6kgs and spent 3 weeks getting it off to complete exhaustion (that is another story)

Hi everyone, me again and it is time for a new post. Ok, so this post will be a general intro to how I survived my first year overseas, trying to play football.

Ok, well first of all has anyone been away from their home before? 26 years old and I thought that I knew it all. Obviously, I was seriously mistaken. Travelling overseas and living in a different country from your own is one of the most liberating and challenging experiences that you will encounter. When I moved from Christchurch to Auckland, I grew, emotionally, physically but for me the most powerful change was in my soul. To some people this will not make sense but to spiritual people, these buzz words will get you going. To most people it did not make sense. Why was I giving up my fruitful career in teaching? Why was I moving cities when I had everything? A partner, my family. And I was leaving it for the unknown. Nothing, no job, no security, no friends, no family. I was leaving it for myself. Well looking back at it now. I have to say “Who says that I had anything?” To society I had success, but society has created such a dull reality to life that now thinking about it. I was playing safe and although I lived life to my fullest in Christchurch with what I had, life is this moment, no matter what it looks like, in the end I guess this journey and the unknown is the most beautiful thing I even OWN apart from the strengthened relationships with my beautiful family of course. To live with no regrets, no matter what the outcome, I did it for me. And although sometimes I question this decision and wonder what my life would be now if I was teaching in Christchurch and in the leadership roles that I always dreamed of. I certainly as hell would not be the person I am today without it. So I will trust in what the universe has in store for me.

I was ready to leave New Zealand, I had an offer to go to Germany and I did not take it. I chose to stay and finish my Masters, gain some financial stability for once and tick off the boxes that I needed. There were many reasons, you know, my football life may have been very different with this decision and as well as my academic life but I stick with my decisions and what my heart said and the journey I am on now. With football, it is so hard or anything to know what to do. I have spent millions of conversations with friends, going back and forth with not knowing what to do. In this situation all I can say is DO WHAT YOU WANT… AND THEN OWN IT. YOU HAVE TO. We are fortunate to have choice whereas others do not. In January, it was time to leave. I said to myself “whatever team that wants me”, I will take it. So long story short, I went to Serbia. Now, stop there for one second and shut the front door, before you go to Serbia I really hope that you think about this decision and your own safety. I was really busting to go overseas and I guess that is what I did.

Next blog, when I stepped into Serbia.