Feeling unable to enjoy sport 

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While International Day of the Girl may be over, at GFS we believe every day is a good day to celebrate girlhood and share powerful advice. This is the last guest blog in our current campaign, but we encourage you to keep sharing your wisdom and lived-experience with girls.

We always welcome those who wish to contribute and share their thoughts and feelings with GFS! Get in touch with our Communications and Marketing Coordinator, if you wish to take part in future GFS guest blogs.

But first, meet today’s guest blogger, Amanda Capon, Chief People and Culture Officer of idverde UK and an Ambassador for Institute of Directors (IoD).

I am not a sporty girl. I really am not. Co-ordination is beyond me, my limbs don’t like to conform.

I go red… I mean puce red, and I sweat, so I look like a wet, sweaty beetroot – it’s not fun for anyone! 

So, when it came to games lessons, I had a bit of a panic. First, there was getting changed in front of other people, and I really was not body confident. Then, there was the fear of the teacher, who was walking around the changing room, shouting instructions.

And then I had to go out and do something (whatever the sport was) that I couldn’t do, knowing that the hour would end with the dreaded showers. Eeek! 

And I’d be the one on the bench.

The last one to be chosen because, however much you had a sympathetic ally, and despite the fact that they didn’t actually dislike you, they knew that their team probably wouldn’t win with you on it. Oh, the shame!  

But, I couldn’t change the school timetable, so there it was… two times a week for five years… games. Aargh!  

So, I realised I had to make something work.

My best efforts to always be at the back of any queue, or hide as a deep fielder, or get lost in cross country, only lasted so long, and then I realised I was going to have to make something work.

So, I played to my strengths and did the ‘tall’ things. I was Goal Defence in Netball, Wing Attack in hockey and anything that needed a blocker.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t good at any of these things, but I knew where I was headed when the positions were being called.  

As I have gotten older, I’ve come to realise that exercise is important and everyone faces challenges, doubts, and setbacks, so you are never alone.

I’ve also realised that ‘sport’ doesn’t have to be some wildly competitive stress-fest, you just need to aim to do something every day, even stretching can be good.

Moving all the parts of you that you can move is brilliant, particularly for individuals with certain physical disabilities. I have MS and I couldn’t walk the length of the room, or the length of the garden and now I can go further and further through small improvements.

So, set yourself realistic, and kind goals. Progress takes time, and you need to be patient. Even the best sportspeople were once where you are now.

Celebrate your achievements and be proud of what you can do. Your mind is just as important as your body, so take care of your whole self. Stay hydrated, eat and sleep as well as you can and have fun!  

 Thank you to Amanda for sharing your story of girlhood. If you’re a woman looking to find a way to support girls and young women, get in touch with us! We’d love to hear what you have to say. 

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