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“How to reach your goals – whatever they are” Open Colleges talks with sportswoman, Ellyse Perry

by Yvette Maurice

Sportswoman Ellyse Perry has played for Australia at international level in both soccer and cricket. Here, she shares her motivational strategies with Open Colleges and explains how you don’t need to be on the sports field to come out a winner!

Ellyse Perry is only at the start of her sporting career but is already being heralded as “arguably the best female athlete in Australia” by Cricket Australia. She made headlines in 2012 when she was given an ultimatum to choose between the two sports she professionally represents, cricket and soccer.

According to Wikipedia, Perry is the youngest person, male or female, to represent Australia in cricket and the first Australian woman to have appeared in both cricket and association football World Cups.

Ellyse is also currently studying, working in radio and TV as well as playing sport professionally. Here, she shares her tips on setting a winning mindset, how to cope with challenges and reaching goals.

When challenges arise, how do you keep your mindset positive?

It’s easy to be involved with something you love doing and that you feel passionate about, certainly for me that’s playing sport and being physically active. I never expect things to be completely smooth. For me, I find that motivating and invigorating. It is challenging sometimes. You come up against things you don’t expect to. Part of the fun of it is working out ways to be better.

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It’s also important to have a great support network, my teammates, my coaches, the people involved in the organisations I work at. But I also rely on the support of my family and friends.

How do you mentally prepare yourself for a big game?

For me, emotions and physicality go hand in hand. When preparing for a big match, I always make sure I am in the best space when I have prepared as much as I can. A lot of that goes down to training well and getting skills and making sure that I can do everything I am capable of doing. When I do that – it’s basically down to focusing on being relaxed and confident and putting all that work into practice.

Sport is a very fickle thing to be involved in. It’s also difficult to predict what will happen. I always feel the best when I think that I have been able to control everything that I am able to control. That always puts me in the best possible position.

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When you’ve pushed yourself as far as you can go – how do you get that extra 10%?

I do it by having the will and the resilience to want to improve and push myself, and to experience the hard times, the things that aren’t necessarily that enjoyable at the time. But I know I’ll reap a lot of rewards for them in the future.

Similarly, I think it’s really great to have someone alongside you, pushing you and helping you get the most out of yourself. Sometimes it’s very easy to be surprised with how much you can get out of yourself just by someone else telling you that you can, and keeping you working hard, pushing yourself.

What support do you get from your family and friends?

I use my friends and family as a way of getting away from what I do during the day. My family knows the real person that I am, they don’t just look at what I do. For me, that’s always a real comfort because it allows me to not get too tied up in these things that are important to me, but don’t define me.

You are the 36th most marketable athlete in the world –  do athletes need to be marketable?

Business for me is more of a side product of what I do. I’ve been grateful to have a lot of other opportunities outside of my sport. But business is definitely not something that motivates me. It’s also very hard to control.

Thinking about sponsorship takes away from the essence of why I started playing sport. I love the challenge of trying to get better at things and the camaraderie I have with my teammates.

How did you overcome the challenges you faced in your career?

For me, not losing sight of the fact that I play two sports. They are two sports that I love and have played since I was about 5 years old. They are what makes me most happy, in terms of my life and my career. There are always clashes that pop up with the two sports and decisions that I have to make around that, often the biggest challenge can be around being definitive and decisive.

I try to follow my gut feeling. I try not to worry too much about people’s reactions; how much people are relying on you and not letting people down.

Are you still doing any radio work? What’s next for you?

Yes, I work at Triple J and I do some work for Fox Sports too.

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What’s next for you?

For now, I am really just trying to enjoy all the experiences and opportunities that are coming my way. I want to improve as a player and play in a lot more competitions and continue to do well. I am also studying at the moment as well (Ellyse is a student at The University of Sydney, doing a degree in Economics and Social Sciences).

I hope to finish that, and to use (my qualification) in the future. I’d also like to be able to give back to the organisations that have given to me in both cricket and soccer and more broadly speaking, women’s sport in general.

Want to find out more about Ellyse?

For more information, head to her official Facebook page

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