Have you ever felt disconnected from your body? Have you lacked confidence in the amazing things that your body can do? As athletes we are connected to our bodies through performance. We are taught from the time we start playing to feel into the cause and effect of the decisions we make, whether through movement on the court or how our performance is impacted by our sleep, nutrition, hydration, breath, movement, recovery time & connection with ourselves and others. All of these factors make an imprint on how we play our game. When uncertainty or challenges arise in our lives, it’s easy to let our habits slide in one or more of these areas and our bodies and athletic performance pay the price. How can we explore the ways that we can be kinder to ourselves to let these habits become a part of the integrated flow of our lives rather than a rigid list of things we must maintain?
My philosophy is not about getting everything right and down to the last detail every day. It’s about consistency and improvement over time, and extending ourselves grace when we fall short. If we feel like we have to keep up too many habits all at once to improve as athletes, we can wind up in a deep pool of anxiety and burnout. So many sports, including volleyball, ask for a high level of specialization at a young age and, between school and club sports, and beach and indoor play, don’t encourage time off for the body to rest and repair or spend time cross training so our bodies can experience a variety of motion patterns that strengthen us rather than induce overuse injuries. Beyond how we play, we have to establish strong habits around these pillars to maximize our longevity and keep playing deep into our lives:
In this section you will find ideas and answers to the questions of how we can prioritize our health and take care of and connect to our bodies so our biology works for us instead of against us.
While there is nothing more rewarding than watching athletes succeed, there is something that I want to impart to them about maximizing our athletic experience from a young age that doesn’t seem obvious to the athlete’s mind. In an athlete’s work, one of the most rewarding processes is finding flow in our athletic experience, that experience when time and space fall away and we are completely in the zone. Treating these pillars of health with respect is an integral part of attaining a high flow lifestyle. We may all find challenges with one or more of the pillars but, as athletes, recovery, whether from failure, or extended periods of hard work, can often be a difficult concept for us to grasp; but rest is part of optimal performance. As athletes, we can be quicker to recognize struggle and grind as part of the process to achieve flow, but there is an equal need to restore our bodies, and to make that a part of life’s best practices can be a harder lesson to learn than it sounds.
In the world today, I talk to so many people, from kids all the way to adults, who struggle with anxiety, physical overuse injuries, and overloaded nervous systems, in fact I’ve been there myself, which makes it easy to empathize and recognize. There is an ethic built around hard work, one that people of past generations instilled, that, while admirable on so many levels, can cause build up of some pretty intense feelings, symptoms, and inflammation in our bodies that impact our performance on the court.
One of the great gifts of being an athlete is how we learn to listen to and connect with our bodies and learn how to take care of them in a way that maximizes our performance. Come listen and learn from people who understand how to make your biology work for you and develop a relationship with your body that serves you on and off the court and far into the future.