A positive mindset is my secret weapon to overcome any obstacle that comes my way.

This weapon has been the driving force that has gotten me through every chapter of my life.

From migrating from Peru to Australia, learning the English language, building my career in beach volleyball and to the current self isolation period, all had a profound influence on my life.

Through these challenges, I have focused my energies on the positives and embraced each transitions with open arms. By doing this, I have only grown stronger not only as a player, but also as a person.

My love for volleyball began when I was just six years old. Growing up in Peru, volleyball was a very popular sport and nearly every young girl was playing, including my older sister in which I decided to follow in her footsteps.

At 11 years old, my Mother and I migrated to Australia which was where my passion for beach volleyball had sparked.

It was my older brother, who was living in Australia prior to my arrival, who introduced me to beach volleyball.

One day, he suggested we play a social game down at Manly beach which I had agreed to.

That was the first time I had tried beach volleyball and it was love at first play.

By the time I reached 13, I was selected to play for the Under 19 World Championships.

This was the moment where the realisation hit me that professional beach volleyball was something I wanted to continue as a career.

The Under 19 World Championships gave me the opportunity to travel to both Canada and Poland.

The competition was held in Poland, however I got to fly to Canada before the World Tour Event so that I could understand the competitive side of beach volleyball and familiarise myself with the high pressure environment.

I loved every minute of this experience. Ever since I was younger, the urge to travel was so strong and growing up in Peru, I didn’t get the chance to travel overseas at all.

After the experience of travelling to both Canada and Poland to compete, I knew this was my calling.

I fell in love with the idea of doing my two favourite things – playing beach volleyball and travelling the world and that was the spark that lead me to where I am today.

I adapted so well when I arrived in Australia. I definitely experienced a culture shock, but the good kind.

My Dad and my sister remained in Peru along with my Cousins, Auntie’s and Uncle’s so I was upset to leave them behind and not to see them as often as I wanted to.

But, my positivity allowed me to feel excitement to start a new journey here in Australia.

I was lucky to have some family members already living in Australia, so being around them and learning about the daily routines of the Australian lifestyle was very enjoyable and helpful.

I spoke zero English when I arrived in Australia and it took me around six months to be able to have a full conversation with someone.

I knew that learning English was going to be a long and challenging process, but I loved the challenge. I had so much help from my Year 6 tutor who made the process so fun and gratifying.

She was very patient with me. Her techniques along with my positive attitude made the process a lot more quicker.

Being surrounded by my family members who spoke English was very helpful as well. It was easy for me to ask them questions on how to say or define certain words and they would instantly help me understand.

The language barrier was a major obstacle that I had to overcome, but with my positive attitude and excitement for my new life, the negatives were easily outweighed and I ended up enjoying every part of the experience.

When I heard that the 2021 Tokyo Olympic games was postponed, I was not shocked at all.

Hearing on the news how quickly the virus was spreading and the impacts it was causing globally, I knew this was something to be expected.

I came to the understanding that competing in July would also potentially be postponed – which it was, and that is when I decided to prepare myself for what comes next.

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My first thought after hearing about the self isolation laws, was that this time of stillness gives me the opportunity to have another year of training and more quality time at home.

I wasted no time on the negatives and began to shift my focus on my at home training programs and the strategies to take to become an even stronger player.

Yoga is something I have been focusing on as part of my training.

My teammate and I only started to implement yoga into our program this year as we thought it was a great exercise to practice breathing and staying calm in high pressure situations, such as our competitions.

It has also helped me refrain from being stiff during this isolation period and has motivated me to keep in shape.

I am looking forward to seeing how the implantation of yoga has influenced my game on the courts.

I also have an awesome gym set up in my garage. My teammate and I would connect via Zoom with our coaches and train with the equipment our program lent us, which I am so grateful for.

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This was definitely an interesting way to maintain our connection and train together without being physically in the same room.

Luckily, the beaches were not shut during isolation. We made it our goal to keep active as much as possible, so every Tuesdays and Thursdays we would go down to the beach and do some conditioning and running.

We started last Tuesday to slowly return to the beach volleyball courts. After two and a half months away from the courts, it definitely feels great to get back into it. My teammate and I both agreed that the safe way to get back into it, is to take it slow.

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It is really interesting to see the new training conditions. Before every session we have to wash our hands, take our temperature and our coach has to take notes on how we are feeling or if we are experiencing any symptoms.

We also had a doctor check our overall health to get that green light that we can get back to training. I think these restrictions will always remain, which is not a bad thing because now everyone is more conscious about the safety and health of others.

When life does what it does and throws a twist into your plans, a positive mindset will get you through anything.

This secret weapon was the driving force that got me through every challenge that came my way.

Until everything goes back to normal again, I will continue to focus on the good of every situation, which I know will only make me stronger than I was yesterday.