A Publication for SSA Students by SSA Students

The Nest.

The Nest.

A Publication for SSA Students by SSA Students

Looking Ahead:
  • Review Day/Junior Leadership/2:00 Dismissal - May 17
  • Ring Mass - May 17
  • Final Exams - May 20-23

The Nest.

The Nest.

Take It From Me

An athlete’s guide to believing and feeling your best while you play the sport you love

Once there was a six-year-old girl. She was a confident little soccer player scoring six or more goals a game. She was full of energy and didn’t have a care in the world. She didn’t understand what pressure meant. She didn’t understand the complexity of her obsession with running on a field with perfectly straight white lines. The ball at her foot was her passion. By age ten, she had her whole life planned out: she wanted to be on the US Women’s National Team. 

Her parents knew of her dreams, particularly, her dad, who always pushed her to be working. She didn’t know it then, but his pushing would be why she is the player she is today.

There wasn’t a particular moment when everything changed. There were no warning signs. There was no one there to tell her to turn back from the road of anxious-worrying and self-doubt. She was on this path whether she wanted to trek down it or not. 

It’s been 11 years since I was that six-year-old girl, and in that time I’ve lost every shred of confidence I owned and faced the harshest critics tasked to make me doubt myself. During this time, I’ve also built the foundations needed to regain my confidence, and I have been working to pursue this new version of myself I want to achieve ever since. Through my story, I hope you can learn that you are your biggest supporter, but you can also be your biggest critic. Your belief in yourself is the most important aspect of being an athlete, and playing the game you love can be decimated without it. 

For as long as I can remember, I had this overwhelming fear of imminent failure. Every mistake was the end of the world; risks were never taken. “Average” was my middle name. This fear backfired in ways I could never have imagined. I spent hours working, day after day, week after week, but it never measured to anything. I never dared display what I had been practicing. The fear of failure was too great– too overwhelming. Back then, I liked to describe it as drowning in the fear of messing up, letting everyone down and myself, and not amounting to what everyone thought I could become. This was only the brink of my downhill spiral. 

High school has its own challenges. School from 6:45-3:15, homework, studying, practice, wake up, school, practice, late-night studying…. Over and over and over again. Day after day. It became like a checklist. School. Check. Practice. Check. Homework. Check. I was going through the motions. There have been so many times when I have been so overwhelmed that I have skipped out on some individual practices that I like to do on my own, because I’ve had so much to do, and so little time. I was on autopilot, following a routine, half-asleep. Honestly, I don’t remember most of that time, because I was so exhausted. Soccer had its own checklist. This coach likes me. Check. This coach doesn’t like me. Check. I have to get better at this. Check. I have to get better at that. Check. Oh, now I’ve been benched. Check. Oh, now this coach benched me too. Check. Oh, I’ve been cut. Check. I dealt with a period where I wanted to quit the very sport that I had grown up loving for eleven years. The mere thought of this was terrifying. For the first time in my life, I was finally letting someone else call the shots of my career. This moment was when I first realized that something needed to change. 

2024 symbolized the dawn of a new era, a new me. Not someone riddled with self-doubt, anxiety, and fear. A new me. For the first couple of months of the new year, there had been hurdles. There were times when I was feeling better about myself and times when I felt like I was the worst player in the world. Over the last few weeks, I have dug my heels into the ground and focused on this “new me” thing. And so far, I have been successful. I am more confident than I have ever been in my entire playing career. I have taken more risks, and I am finally starting to realize that mistakes are unavoidable, and the fun part of sports is to try and make the least amount of them. I am not where I want to be at the moment, but I know this is only the beginning of this “new me” journey. I dig more into this in my perfectionism article! Click the link to read: https://ssanews.org/3157/features/nobody-is-prefect-i-mean-perfect/

Here are a few tips I have learned throughout this journey: 

Link to Melia’s article: https://ssanews.org/4705/student-life/crawling-to-the-finish-line-my-studying-tips/

Little me! I’m about six or seven in this picture.
Photo: Tabitha Candebat

It’s been 11 years since I was that six-year-old girl. 11 years since I was that confident little athlete scoring six or more goals a game; full of energy, and not a care in the world. I may not be the same little girl I was then, but I am just as obsessed, and just as passionate. I am slowly trying to learn how to be confident again, and after writing this article and reflecting on my growth over the last few months, I can see my progress, and I am so proud of myself. I’ve learned that confidence is never a constant and perfect thing. It’s fickle. It’s something you have to grasp onto for dear life because once it’s gone, it’s hard to get it back. Just take it from me.

About the Contributor
Eliana Candebat
Eliana Candebat, Staff Reporter
Eliana Candebat is a junior at SSA! She loves playing soccer, and participates on both varsity and club soccer. Eliana loves history and law (we can always learn from our past!), the show Criminal Minds, and being a part of The Nest.!