Athletic prodigy Ellyse Perry on balancing study, professional sport and life as a young adult.
Dual sports star of Australian cricket and soccer, economics and social sciences student at Sydney University and involved in the Adidas’ school fun run program, Ellyse Perry is in high demand. Squeezing in a quick chat before scooting over to Sri Lanka for the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup, it’s quickly clear Ellyse manages her many commitments with impressive skill and maturity for her 21 years.
Making her professional cricket and soccer debut while still in secondary school, Ellyse is the youngest Australian to represent her country in cricket and the first Australian woman to appear in soccer and cricket World Cups. It’s a remarkable achievement and when asked who helped her along the way, Ellyse gives the credit to her folks.
“They introduced myself and my older brother to sport and activities when we were really young and it was a huge part of our family life. Every day after school we’d come home and be out in the backyard or down at the park. It was something that we were always encouraged to do and something that I fell in love with and developed a passion for.”
Juggling sporting and academic commitments with general social and family obligations can be tough, but Ellyse believes finding a balance is the key to keeping everything ticking along.
“It’s about maintaining a balance but doing it in a way that you still enjoy everything that you’re doing. I always hate leaving uni assignments to the last minute because you’re rushing and it becomes a stress. If you can keep things equal, spread your time across the things you need to do and know that there’s a way of doing things, that sort of keeps things manageable.”
And in a time of digital diaries and personal organisers, Ellyse finds her old-school paper diary an invaluable way to keep up to speed with what’s planned for the week ahead. “I live out of my diary, I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of that. I can see what commitments I have on at the start of the week and then plan time around that to do things that I know need to get done.”
Through her work with the Adidas School Fun Run, a health initiative encouraging school kids to host a fundraiser fun run, Ellyse is raising awareness of the importance of physical activity in children. “The initiative also helps school children take responsibility to fundraise and complete a task, which is a fantastic idea and a really great way for kids to contribute to their school and encourage the application of physical activity. ”
Speaking more generally about what advice she has for people looking to improve their own fitness and wellbeing, Ellyse believes it doesn’t matter how you start or what you start out doing, what counts is that you enjoy it.
“Walking the dog, playing touch football, it’s all just as important and beneficial. Having a friend along to enjoy the activity you’re doing is a good way to help you see it as a pleasure not a chore. It can then become a real part of your life rather than something you have to do.”
Looking ahead to the next 12 months, it’s an Australian summer of soccer and cricket comps, aspirations for selection in another World Cup team and a dream to keep up this impressive double act as long as possible that fills Ellyse’s (paper) diary.
For more information about school fun run visit Adidas School Fun Run