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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to play my sport to the highest level. I play hockey for the Scottish Ladies team and have done since 2001 taking part in three Commonwealth Games, two World Cups and various European Championships. 

May 2015

Not only has this allowed me to make some excellent friends in my team mates but it has taught me so many different skills; leadership, organisation and communication to name but a few. 

Playing sport at an elite level takes a certain amount of dedication and sacrifice all of which helps to prepare you for the world in general. As part of my role as a Scottish Hockey player I have a strong belief that it is our duty to meet with and inspire the next generation of young people to be the best that they can be, in whatever they choose.  When the opportunity to be part of the Champions in Schools programme came along, I’ll be honest, I was keen but also very anxious. The thought of standing in front of lots of school pupils and speaking was not my idea of fun and made me feel very uncomfortable - clammy palms and the sweats come to mind! I decided to go along to the training provided by Winning Scotland Foundation to see how it went...it’s safe to say that I’ve never looked back.

The Champions in Schools programme has given me lots of skills and confidence that I can use in every day life. It’s given me the opportunity to spread important messages to the youth of today and has opened my eyes to some of the issues that they face daily. I still remember at the age of 9 a representative from the local running club came along to my primary school, as someone who was always obsessed by sport being told that I could go along to the club and become an athlete made my day. Never underestimate how much of an impact you can have on a young person’s life. 

I was naturally competitive and never ever wanted anything to defeat me. Looking back this is a trait that has probably led me to the successes that I have had. I don’t like to feel defeated, so I push myself out of my comfort zone and strive to be the best that I can be in all I do. This is particularly true when being told I am unable to do something!  This was easy for me in a sporting context, but when it came to things like public speaking, it was a whole new ball game.  I even remember getting thrown out of an English class as I couldn’t bring myself to speak in front of my peers. It took me a while but I eventually realised that by applying the same thoughts to these problems as I do in sport then I can achieve everything I want in life… now speaking in front of groups of people is something that I do on a daily basis. This is one of the messages that I like to share with the schools that I talk to, not everything in life is easy, quite often we have to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations but the sense of achievement afterwards is the best reward.

Vikki

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