Hard work and positive attitude

Susanna Halme is a Finnish women’s national team player getting ready for third major championship tournament of her career.

“Life is a journey. There are uphills and downhills. In order to achieve success you need to get a taste of what it feels like to be in the bottom. It’s a cliché, I know, but still very true.

We’ll have big games in our home soil in September. The European Championships will be the first big event for me and our whole team in two years. We worked hard to reach the Rio Paralympics from the IBSA World Games and the Euros in 2015 but had to settle for a year without big games. It was a huge disappointment but thinking back it also opened some opportunities for us to get better. We had enough time to build a good background and focus on basic training. It was also an opportunity to do something else than sports. I spent six weeks doing voluntary work in Tanzania. It was a refreshing experience!

Now our team is ready and motivated to chase success in Pajulahti. For me this is a significant moment: The Euros are third major championships in my career but in a way these are my first. I started in national team in autumn 2014 and was in the IBSA World Games in Korea 2015 and in the European Championships in Lithuania 2015. But in those events I mainly sat on the bench. During the last year my playing have developed and I have grown and learned a lot – which means I have also gotten a bigger role in the team. These will be my first games where I know I will have a big part to play. Will it mean bigger pressure also? Yes and no.

Mainly my personal preparations and training has gone well. In December me and my two national team colleagues started physical training sessions in Newton Finland. Development has been vast ever since. My performances in the national league games and in national team training camps have been stable. I have done lots of distance learning in my studies so I have had enough time for training. I have been able to train twice a day without the overall load getting too heavy. I believe and hope that all this hard work will pay off in September.

Everything hasn’t been so smooth, though. We have had injuries and some of our players have been sick (I have dodged the bullet, luckily). Our roster is small so the quality of players needs to overcome the lack in quantity. It means that we can’t really afford to be injured and miss trainings. Also my studies hasn’t gone as well as I planned. In the end of May I once again went to the entrance examination to try my luck. The stress of unknown future is something that can have impact on training as well.

I’m anxiously waiting the European Championships in Pajulahti. I trust in our team – we are not afraid of hard work and the atmosphere is very positive. I’m sure you will get to see a repaired and motivated Finnish team which will be playing straight from the heart in front of the home crowd. This will be an enormous opportunity for myself as well, get to present my skills and will to win in a familiar venue in front of Finnish goalball friends!"

There will be total of 22 blog texts published in the Pajulahti 2017 blog, one text every week until the 2017 IBSA Goalball European Championships on 18–22 of September. Each week there will be a different writer. New blog text will be published every Wednesday.