Rayer & Ansley reflect on social media absence during 2018 World Cup

England Women HWC2018
Dealing with distractions on the pitch is a crucial element of being an elite athlete but distancing yourself from them off it can be quite a difficult challenge.

The invention of social media has certainly changed the way many of us experience the world now and it can be very hard to avoid seeing things that you don’t like and can upset you.

To avoid just that, during the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup England’s women chose to come off all social media.

However it’s not always easy to break a habit such as that, as Ellie Rayer explained on the latest episode of Inside The Circle: The Podcast.

“It’s bad but a lot of people get so hooked and you unconsciously go on your phone, click and app and find yourself scrolling,” the midfielder explained. 

“You’re not necessarily even doing anything but just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. That was one of the reasons why I always go with a bag of things to entertain me because I find it quite scary just how much time you could spend sat on social media. 

“By removing that from your day you suddenly have so much more time to focus on other things. It just wasn’t worth having anything that could throw us off in those scenarios. 

 “I didn’t delete the apps off my phone. I logged out of all of them and turned off notifications but didn’t delete them. I moved where the app was on my home screen, so I swapped where Instagram was with my calculator. 

“It was ridiculous how many times subconsciously I’d go on my phone and be on my calculator because that’s where the Instagram app was before, which was a little bit scary.”

While it may have been hard for some players to initially break the habit of scrolling through social media, the whole squad were in agreement that it was the best thing for them.

Playing in a World Cup on home soil in front of 10,000 fans is one of the pinnacles of anyone’s career and the team wanted to make sure they were in the best possible frame of mind to maximise the situation and perform at their best.

“It is a way of ensuring that while you’re in the little bubble that you’re in that you’re just focusing on yourselves, not what people are saying about you good or bad,” Ansley explained. 

“You can purely just focus on the performance, there’s no other distractions. With it being very well publicised, in London on home soil, a big World Cup etc. obviously the media attention is greater, you’re under a bit more scrutiny and it’s just very easy for people to see something that could throw them off. Or likewise someone is getting heaps and heaps of praise and someone else is not getting mentioned. 

“What’s the point in putting yourself at any risk of seeing something you don’t want to which could potentially harm your performance? Ultimately we’re there to perform and to play hockey. That’s what we love doing and that was the most important thing we felt as a squad.

“It also makes everyone a bit more present and there as a team. It just becomes a habit. We don’t have phones at meal times anyway but when we have a bit of dead time you can just see that everyone goes to their phones and starts scrolling. But when social media is not a thing everyone is talking to each other and having a lovely time.”

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