With the fall sports season underway and the start of winter sports not far behind, athletes finally have opportunities to put the hard work they did during the off-season on display.
Motivated players all across the country spent the summer in the weight room and on the field, working through the heat to enhance their strength, speed and conditioning. For these student-athletes, every minute of the off-season was a chance to #WINFROMWITHIN. Whether they were pulling weighted plates, shuffling through speed ladders, or sprint training with parachutes, these competitors took advantage of every opportunity to get better.
Many of these athletes shared their stories by creating their own digital Gatorade bottles (which you can do, too, by clicking here). We've selected the most inspiring images and asked these hard-working student-athletes what it means to #WINFROMWITHIN. Here are their stories.
Pulling Sleds and Pushing Limits
The weighted rope he's pulling feels like it's a mile long. But for Timir Sarker, it's either pull the rope or get backed up against the ropes.
He thinks for a second about stopping to rest. Give up that easy? Nope. The junior wrestler from John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, N.J., won't have it. Success is his only option. Failure is not. "I always keep the word 'failure' in my mind while training," he says. "I was going to give up and rest a little before continuing to pull the sled, but I didn't because I wanted to push my limits and become better."
This drive to push beyond his limits is what fueled Sarker's #WINFROMWITHIN moment. He feels this drive every time he trains. He says, "Sometimes I won't have a rep count. If I do and I don't feel the burn after I finish the number of reps I'm supposed to do, I will do extra reps until I feel a good burn."
That burn continues to stoke Sarker's fire to #WINFROMWITHIN when it matters most—on the mat.
A Labor of Love
For Paige Thompson, the ladder of success isn't something she climbs. It's something she runs through in a flurry of flashy footwork.
The Chesterfield, Mich., native is a co-captain of the L'Anse Creuse High School-North varsity soccer team. She also competes on the club circuit and regularly attends skill camps and clinics. With so many soccer-related activities filling her schedule, Thompson doesn't have a lot of free time. And while many people her age are spending their off hours hanging out with friends or watching television, she realizes that precious time could be dedicated to improving her game.
So what does this standout student-athlete do after school? Perform speed ladder drills in her backyard.
"I know that if I don't continue to condition and train on my own time, I will not be the best player that I can truly be," Thompson says. She also knows the faster she can tap her toes in and out of those little boxes, the more likely she'll achieve her dream of playing college soccer.
For Thompson, #WINFROMWITHIN isn't just an expression. It's a lifestyle.
"To win from within, you have to be self-motivated," she says. "If you love what you do, that will motivate you in all kinds of ways. I love competition and I love seeing how far I can push myself."
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock