The Voice in the Back of My Head

Grit: noun 1. a positive non-cognitive trait based on an individual's passion or a particular long-term goal or end state coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual's path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization 

Grit: noun 1. a positive non-cognitive trait based on an individual's passion or a particular long-term goal or end state coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual's path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization 

You know that voice in the back of your head? Sometimes the voice tells you that nothing could ever stop you. You rock. You're the best, hardest working, most talented player and it convinces you to keep going. It's positive. It believes in you, so you push on.

Sometimes the voice tells you to quit. To give up. To make excuses. You're tired. You didn't sleep well. Your hamstring is tight. The human body isn't supposed to be able to do that. It's not worth it.

I've always had a strong relationship with that voice in the back of my head. It's always been there, it's always been a strong contributor to my performance, in both good ways and bad. I've been going to IPF now for about 3 months and I've never heard that voice talk so much.

It's constant. There are days when it says "Do a pull-up!" so I do a pull-up. There are days when it says, "I'm tired," so I find myself hanging onto the bar for dear life, kicking my legs desperately to try to get myself up there. When we ride the bike, sometimes it says, "This is godawful, you can't possibly get to 0.3 miles in 30 seconds 6 times in a row. It's not possible." Sometimes it says, "Push harder, get there no matter what. It's supposed to hurt." Regardless of the type of day I'm having, the voice is always there.

IPF has taught me to harness the power of that voice. When Walter is screaming from the front of the bikes, "You tell yourself you're gonna make it," I tell myself I'm gonna make it. Walter's voice becomes the voice in the back of my head. That voice is getting trained by the people at IPF, just like my body is. That voice is getting stronger just as my legs and arms are.

For the past few weeks, Kristie, Steph and I have been jumping into workouts with the hockey girls. These girls are absolutely phenomenal at plyometric jumps, workouts in the weight room, bike sprints, and general mental toughness. They take such good care of their bodies and they don't accept anything less than 100% from themselves or each other. It's amazing to me that I have this opportunity to surround myself every day with these amazingly strong and talented female athletes.

One day I was the only person in the workout who couldn't do a weighted pull-up. My competitive side reared it's head and I was visibly upset. I could be doing off-season workouts on my own and I would probably still be super proud of myself for getting a regular pull-up. I wouldn't be pushing myself forward necessarily as hard, because I wouldn't have 10 other girls who were clearly stronger than me in that area to make that voice in the back of my head say, "Throw 5 pounds on and get a freaking pull up. This was good for last week but it's not good enough now."

So now, not only is that voice in the back of my head getting trained by Walter and Jamie, it's getting trained by my peers. It's getting screamed at and cheered on and questioned and challenged, all at the same time. It's growing in confidence, in familiarity, and in character. 

Working out at IPF this offseason has made my body stronger. It's made my mind stronger. And it's taught me that the voice in the back of my head is made up of nothing but my own belief in myself. The more prepared I am physically, the more confident and positive that voice will be. So as I continue into 2017, now fully able to do a pull-up, I've prepared myself to be my own motivation on the field. Because that voice in the back of my head has taken influence from Walter, from IPF, from the hockey girls, from Kristie and Steph. All of those people have helped my voice come to terms with just how much I believe in myself.