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Episode #80

How to Respond to Failure

with Melissa Humana Paredes

19 Jul, 2022 · Beach Volleyball

Melissa Humana Paredes, a pro beach volleyball player, 6x FIVB Gold Medalist, 12x FIVB Medalist, and a World Champion shares the mistakes and errors she’s made along the way, and how she learned to grow from them.

Voice In Sport
Episode 80. Melissa Humana Paredes
00:00 | 00:00


Episode #80

Guest: Melissa Humana Paredes

“How do you respond to failure?”

[00:00:00]Stef Strack : today's guest is Melissa Humana Paredes, an incredible professional beach volleyball player. Melissa is a six time F I V B gold medal. 12 time F I VB medalist five time Canadian champion. And most recently a world champion Melissa has had such an inspiring journey starting her professional career, very young and continuing to grow into the sport.

But today she tells us about the mistakes and errors that she made along the way and how she learned to grow from all of them. Melissa touches on the topics of body image and confidence, but she also talks to us about how she stayed engaged and avoided burnout in an individual sport like beach VO.

Melissa reminds us that how we respond to failure is the most important determinant of our careers, both on and off the court. And that when failure does happen, we need to give ourselves grace. It's often hard to do, but it's such an important lesson for all of us, whether we are in high school or trying to make college teams, collegiate athletes trying to make conference championship teams or even entrepreneurs running a business. Welcome to the voice and sport podcast. Melissa. We're so excited to have you here with us today.

[00:01:19]Melissa Humana Paredes: Thanks so much for having me. It's been a long time coming.

I'm I'm excited to be here.

[00:01:23]Stef Strack : Absolutely. Well, we love to have Canadians on this team. I, myself come from a Canadian Olympic dad. So it's always a pleasure to speak with incredible women from Canada. So both of your parents were also accomplished athletes and coaches. Your mom was a ballet dancer and your dad was a volleyball player too.

And he was actually part of the Chile national team and later coached Canada's John child and Marqui to a bronze medal. So how did having parents who were such incredible athlete impact how you up as an athlete and viewed sports?

[00:01:55]Melissa Humana Paredes: I think it was really formative for myself growing up to be surrounded by these two figures that prioritized physical activity and that prioritized healthy competition.

And it really just kind of set the foundation for how I approached my entire life. I think I feel really lucky and maybe I didn't realize it at the time, but I feel really lucky to have had these influences. Because I think having parental role models who model, what you wanna do in life can be tricky as well.

Like I think. It can be overbearing at times. Maybe it strains the relationship or maybe it strains your relationship with the sport you choose or the activity you choose. And I feel really lucky that that never happened in my instance. And I think they were so supportive of whatever I chose. I think they just wanted to make sure that I was active, healthy, and happy and, and whatever I chose, whether it was sports or not that they would support and they would be happy with, I was never pushed to do anything.

And they kind of just laid all the cards down in front of me and put me in a bunch of different things and see what stuck. And fortunately for me, I found my calling and I found what stuck, and that was beach volleyball, much to my mom's dismay who wanted me to become a ballerina. But as soon as I put on a tutu, I was just furious.

So that didn't work out for me, but beach volleyball did. And I am where I am today because of, because of them.

[00:03:15]Stef Strack : That's amazing. Well, I'm sure your mom's not disappointed with you now. You're on team Canada and you've won several championships, so pretty incredible run. I do wanna kind of go back to those early years though. Did you always just play volleyball or did you try a lot of different sports and then how in the end did you choose your sport?

[00:03:34]Melissa Humana Paredes: Yeah. Great question. When I was young, I did try a bunch of different things. I was in swimming and I was in soccer. I did hip hop lessons. I did, I mean, piano lessons and I, I did acting like I really did everything like.

Tried everything. And I was not good at a lot of it. I did I did a lot competitively at a young age just to kind of be active. And then I started to realize, I didn't like not being good at it or at something. So the things that I wasn't good at, which is not a mentality that I abide by now, or that I recommend, but the things that I was not good at, I didn't wanna continue doing.

And I started to gravitate towards things that felt more natural to me that I kind of had an easier grasp on and over time that became volleyball. And that was more natural. Again, it wasn't pushed on by my parents or by my dad specifically. Given that it was his sport, but by the time I was in high school, I was pretty much only playing volleyball at school.

I tried out for the junior and the senior teams and the co-ed teams at my high school and I was playing club volleyball. And I was just, I made every team and I was really, I felt really confident in that arena, but it also kind of on the other side, I didn't allow myself to try out for more teens in high school because I was afraid of getting rejected.

And I remember, I, I wish so badly now. I wish I tried out for the basketball team. I wish I did, you know, track and field. I just wish I tried all these things. That's the time to do it, you know, when you're in those years and you can afford to just try these things. I think it would've made me a better athlete.

Actually, if I had just, you know, done all these different sports and kind of learned these different skills, it would've helped with my coordination and whatnot. But also I think the lessons behind that would've made me maybe more a resilient person in hindsight. I think, I think it's always tough to talk about that, but I wish just, you know, trying things that were scary and outside of my comfort zone was something that I was comfortable doing back then.

And that's one of the biggest lessons that I tell some friends of mine or some younger athletes is, is to just try everything and don't be afraid to fail, even if it is so uncomfortable. Like I think I, I put myself in the volleyball world too soon. I committed too soon. And you know what, maybe I wouldn't be a world champion.

Had I not committed too soon. It's so hard to say. But I really just that time in my life I was, I think about 14 years old when I fully committed to volleyball and, and beach volleyball specifically. And, and I think maybe at times I think it's too young and that I wish I tried more sports, but it was, it was, my passionate was my love and I just, I, I, couldn't not do it.

[00:06:19]Stef Strack : Yeah, I really appreciate what you're saying. And I think it's amazing advice to any young, young woman out there. That's like maybe feeling pressured to specialize early and instead like really maybe exploring some of these other sports, even if you suck at it, just to try, I think it, like you said, it gives you things that you can use back in the sport maybe that you are better at.

So I think it's so important. And I wanna dive a little bit into maybe then the pressure that was surrounding you as, you know, an athlete that was specializing in, in volleyball and also had , a dad who coached to Olympic male athletes into a bronze medal, you know, at one point your dad was your coach, and then you were coached by John child, the Olympic that your dad coached which is, which is amazing to have that caliber of coaching.

But I'm, I'm assuming that sometimes it might have been hard to remember.

Who you are outside of your sport and you know, to not burn out. So did that happen to you, in high school, did you start to feel like you were getting burned out and, and if so, what advice do you have to the other girls out there that maybe they also specialized at like 13, 14.

And they're now in like their junior year of high school and they're feeling burnt.

[00:07:31]Melissa Humana Paredes: Yeah, I think that's such a great point. And I wanna come back to, I, I think that I felt really lucky having the parents that I had and the coaches that I had because While they were, you know, Olympic level coaches for better, for worse.

I feel like the Olympic journey or, or the Olympic dream was kind of normalized in my household just because, you know, my, my dad went to a few Olympics as a coach and, and we would just kind of watch him on TV or just watch him travel the world. And it just seemed like, oh yeah, that's what dad's doing.

Or, you know, it was just, and he would bring home and he brought home a medal one time. And I would, I was four years old when he brought home this, this Olympic medal. And I was like, oh, this is really cool. And look, this is in my house. And, and so at a very young age, I got this taste of the Olympics and this dream and, and all the things that it took, but it was just kind of like dinner time conversation as well.

And so for me, the Olympics was always top, top of mind, but always something that just felt really attainable knowing what it, what it took to get there. It kind of just normalized the experience. Again, it feels very weird saying that, but. It kind of also took the pressure off a little bit between, my dad and I, where he, he never pressured me to get into the sport.

He never pressured me to be, you know, I have to do this and I have to go to the Olympics and I have to be a world champion and, and all this kind of thing. I never felt that I felt very supported from him being my coach. I think we, you know, initially had troubles finding that line between parent and coach, but we got there and I think that can be really challenging to manage.

But I think eventually it got to a point where I was in high school where I had to start choosing between you know, being A high school kid and, you know, being just like a normal kid who's managing school and a social life, but then also this dream of mine. And I did, I remember I started to feel a little burnt out by my I don't know, we say grade 11 or grade 12 in Canada.

I don't know what that translates to in, in the us, but

[00:09:32]Stef Strack : It's like your junior year in high school.

[00:09:34]Melissa Humana Paredes: There you go. My junior, yes, my junior year. Yeah. And I remember feeling very alone and very lonely at that time. And, and I remember I was one of the first people to kind of.

Take beach volleyball on full time, year round, not just in the summer in Canada, specifically. We didn't really have set structured programs at that time. And, and I know that I wanted to do this like wholeheartedly 100% after school, I would be so tired.

I'd, I'd go to practice and then I'd have workout. And, and then by the time I was done that, you know, I'd go home, I'd eat dinner and then I'd have to do school and then do it all over the next day. And it was starting to weigh on me and it, it started to kind of just like take away the excitement and the passion and the love that I had for this game.

And it started to feel like work. And I felt like I was kind of alone in this space and all my friends were doing other things. And I remember I questioned a lot. I was like, is this the right choice for me? Like, is this what I wanna be doing? I wanna wholeheartedly commit to this dream and I wanna make this happen, but I feel like I'm, at this point in my life, I feel like I'm sacrificing so much that it's, it's gonna make me lose my love for the sport.

And I remember having these conversations with my parents and I was going into my last year of high school, I guess my senior year. And I had the choice to if I wanted to continue playing club volleyball or if I wanted to you know, specifically stay and play beach volleyball only, and I was kind of one of the only people doing that so that I wasn't involved in a team.

It was very lonely. I think beach volleyball gets this reputation. People don't really realize it can be very lonely cuz you're not on a team of like 12 to 16 girls, it's just you sometimes and you and your partner. And so I remember, I ended up choosing to, to do beach volleyball because it seemed like that was the right decision for my dream.

And in hindsight I learned very quickly that that wasn't the right decision for. Myself. And I remember after my senior year heading into university, I decided I wanted to play into volleyball again and be on a team and, and just had that like university experience and allow myself that experience.

to not just be like, so dialed in and focused on this one thing, which might sound counterintuitive, but to allow myself the experience of the, of finding the joy and the passion and the love again, and being surrounded by a support system. And so heading into university, I joined my varsity team. And that was probably the best decision for me when I look back because it allowed me to find the joy again, create a really great network of teammates and, and eventually like my best friends and my sisters, and it just made my whole university experience so much better.

And so much more fulfilling. It made me a better athlete. It made me a better leader in a lot of ways and it made me a better person. I learned how to time manage and prioritize. And so I think those years were very formative for me. And I feel like, yeah, I felt a little bit of the burnout and I feel like I learned really important lessons and I try and Echo those lessons to, to other young girls who, who need the advice, because I think it's important to just like allow yourself some grace and while still being true to who you are and, and wanting to accomplish things, you can still allow yourself this grace period to still find joy.

You're, I mean, you're so young and, and, and you just, you love what you do. And, and I hope that you love what you do and, and you don't want to lose that, especially at a young age, you wanna avoid Burnett as much as possible.

[00:13:12]Stef Strack : I think it's really awesome that you kind of recognize that you were lonely and like it's interesting because you know, you and I have some similar, similar stories here, cuz I was in a very, individualized sport as well, which is ski racing with an Olympic Canadian father like you. And so in a way I had like the best support system but my sport and being a woman in, skiing, growing up in Alaska, it was very lonely.

I, I actually felt the exact same way you did. And that is one of the reasons why I shifted to soccer before I went to college. And I was around that same age, like 15, 16 years old, where I made that shift. And so I think, you know, just reflecting on your experience, you started representing Canada internationally at a really young age.

I mean, you were 16 years old and it was a pretty organic transition for you, on the beach volleyball side to go to that level. But it's so interesting what you're saying, because I, I think you want to just listen to how you're feeling and ultimately make the best decision for yourself, which should be really, really hard to do.

If you feel like the pressure from certain coaches or family members or teammates, but leaning into like how you feel and then making those shifts, like you did heading into university and look at you now. I mean, you went back to beach of volleyball and went on to, you know, to be on team Canada again.

So. There's so many different ways, to get to your dream. And I love that you leaned into how you were feeling in that moment heading into university. I think it's just a really great, a great piece of advice for other young girls out there.

[00:14:52]Melissa Humana Paredes: there. Thank you. And I think , yes, there are so many different ways to accomplish your dream and there's so many different pathways and, and every journey is unique to yourself.

And so what might work for somebody might not work for you. And so I think it's important to recognize that, and there's a lot of trial and error in this process and I think it's okay to error. And along the process, you'll probably find out that things don't work and that does not mean that you're a failure.

I think it's just, again, a lot of a trial and error and I think that's so important to recognize we're all in a different pathway and that's okay. You don't need to shame yourself.

[00:15:24]Stef Strack : Absolutely. Well, let's talk about that first tournament that you went to in college because you came in last. So I think , I think that this is similar to what a lot of young women face when they go from high school sports to college sports is all of a sudden, you know, you're the top of your game in your city or your school.

And then you have to make this big leap and, and it. Different right. In your case, you went from beach to, to indoor, but at, at the same time you did go to a different, a different environment. So what about that experience? Would you, would you say you learned from, in terms of like resilience and confidence that other young women could take into their first couple years as they're transitioning to college?

[00:16:06]Melissa Humana Paredes: Yeah. I actually love this story so much. And it, it was actually my very first international beach volleyball event.

And I remember that it was in Turkey. It was the under 19 world championships and I was coming from Canada and we were the Canadian champs, you know, back to back years and provincial champs and, back home, we were so good at, at our sport and we earned this right to represent Canada internationally at the youth world championships.

And we went and we were so excited and, and also really nervous, but almost maybe too Not too confident, but we didn't really know what to expect. And we, again, we were coming from being the best in our country the best in our area. And so when we went internationally, it kind of just opened my eyes and we finished dead last.

Like we did not make it out of our pool which was a really hard realization. And there were a couple incredible lessons from this whole experience, but I remember very vividly how the, the feeling of how embarrassing it was to finish dead last, especially when you felt like you, were at the top of your game, back home, and then you finish dead last in this tournament and you're representing Canada and it's just, you do kind of feel embarrassed and shame, and you don't wanna show your face when you go back to Canada.

And it's just like, oh my gosh, like, you could really let that weigh on you. And I remember thinking, well, I've got a couple choices here. I could really let this weigh on me. I could really let this define who I am as an athlete and think that I don't have a a chance internationally in this game, or I could take the lessons and learn and experience what I saw other countries doing and how they're operating and how they're training and what level they're at and use that as motivation and use that as a way to just kind of like survive and, and get better and learn and thrive and, and become the player that I wanna be and give myself another shot and give myself that boost of confidence and push myself and see how far I can go.

Like see, really see, where I can take this. And fortunately, a couple years later after lots of training and lots of hard work and lots of ups and downs We went back to the, the world championships this time it was on home soil. And we finished second and I remember for myself, my very first international tournament, I finished last.

And then a couple years later, Coming on top of the podium, not on the very top, but on the podium was a huge realization in resilience for me and in perseverance and in belief in yourself as well, and in hard work, I think there's just so much that sports can teach you and, and that specifically failures can teach you.

I think it's how you respond to the failures. That's going to be able to guide the rest of your career. And I think I'm still learning these lessons to this day. I've been doing this for so long. I'm almost 30 now for more than half my life, I've been doing this and I'm still learning these lessons.

And these are the hardest lessons, but they're the most beautiful ones. They're gonna be the most painful ones, but they're gonna be the ones that you grow from. And I think I always go back to that memory because it's really special and I think it's really formative. But you always have a choice on how you respond to failure.

And I think it tells a lot about a person on, on what they choose to do.

[00:19:23]Stef Strack : Absolutely. Well, I love that story and you were still in high school when you experienced, the finishing last transitioning to a different stage, you know, in your case, a world stage coming in with team Canada, but a lot of girls, most women are going from like one stage of like high school or club sports into college.

And that transition can be, can be really hard too, cuz you're probably gonna fail in a couple different areas and you're probably not gonna be the best on the team right away. So reflecting back on your experience in, in college, you were very successful and were the first team, all star and the York lion's women athlete of the year. So reflecting back now? Like what did you do, I guess, to, to have such a successful transition and was it as good as we're reading here on paper with all these accolades or there's some tough times in there that you would wanna share to our community.

[00:20:17]Melissa Humana Paredes: Yeah, absolutely. I, I don't think it was as smooth sailing as, as it is on, on paper.

I think of course there were tough times. And initially when I went into university, I was recruited to be a certain position. I was actually if, if there are any volleyball listeners out there, I was recruited to be a Libera, which is kind of like a defensive specialist, mostly because I was on the smaller end of, of height specifically in our sport and I had really good ball control.

And so they just thought, you know, put her in this position and I felt very on truthfully, I felt very limited in this position cause I felt like I had more to offer. And I was kind of put it into this box. And I remember throughout my first year, I just felt like I had untapped potential and, and I wanted to do more, but I didn't really know how to ask for it, or I didn't really know if it was my right or if I just had that privilege to be able to do so.

And I remember in my second year of, of university, we went to this exhibition tournament and one of, one of the the starting attackers, she got injured and we needed a, a sub last minute. And, and because I actually played B volleyball, I had a, a wide variety of skill sets and They as a joke put me in, in her position and and I thought, oh my gosh, okay, well, this is an opportunity I could take this.

You know, this is funny. Everybody thinks this a joke. You know, this game doesn't really matter. Let's just see how I do. And I thought that I could also like really prove myself here and I could use this opportunity to, you know, take it really seriously. And, and I actually was the top point score of that game.

And I remember I surprised myself even, and I think I surprised my team and my coaches. And, and after that point I became a starting left side and a starting front row hitter. And I felt like I really rose to the occasion in that moment. And it was kind of my opportunity to prove myself and to prove that I, I can do more.

And I think from that point yeah, I think what I ended up doing and, and being a leader on the team was to just. Lead through my actions. And I always kind of felt that was my way of, of leading not by like telling people what to do or, or, but just kind of like through my actions. And, and I feel like I surrounded myself with the right people and, and had really, I felt really lucky and blessed to have the team that I had because we all kind of pushed ourselves on the court.

It was such a supportive and amazing group of women that I played with at really important times of our lives. And, and it brought us all really close, but I think it was, we had a really great team culture and atmosphere that allowed ourselves to push each other and still be very supportive of each other.

And, and I just felt yeah, I felt like it was an important transition from coming from high school into university into this unknown, this big world. And you're kind of just at, at the bottom of the totem pole and you don't know where your place is and you don't know, you know, What you can ask for you feel shy or you feel, you know, a little bit more reserved.

I think these are the moments that it is. It's your time to shine your time to push through it and untap your potential and just see what's possible for you. And I, and I think I was able to do that in that exhibition game. But I think there are multiple other ways to do that. And just by asking as well and having conversations and putting yourself out there, those are the ways that you can kind of see what you're capable of doing.

[00:23:36]Stef Strack : I

love it. Well, after university, you kicked off your then amazing pro career. You are a six time F I B gold medalist, 12 time F I B medalist and five time Canadian champion. But the list goes on to two time aBB B champion Commonwealth champion, and also world champion most recently. So you've had some success after college and I would love just for you to share with our community. As you reflect back on that, like run after university, what are the three things that have really set you up for success that all these young women in college who are thinking about going pro should consider.

[00:24:17]Melissa Humana Paredes: Oh yeah, those are great questions. And I feel like this is such an important time in somebody's career, especially a young woman. It's, it's so huge. And I, and I feel like one, one of the most important things that you need is, is you need. An amazing support system and it doesn't have to be very big, but it has to be filled with people or even a person.

You just need to have a space where you feel safe, you feel that you can be vulnerable in, but that you feel that you're being pushed and you're being challenged. And you're surrounded by people who have your best interest in mind, and that love you and that respect you and that want to see you thrive and that want to see you tap your potential.

If you find someone, or if you surround yourself with people who see before you see what you're able to accomplish, you're gonna be so far ahead of everybody else. And that's just kind of sourcing out people who, again, you feel connected to that you feel that you can trust and that you feel safe with.

And that was, it's so important to me because leaving university and moving to this new chapter of my life meant that I was gonna be leaving home. Right. And so I had to find a community and I had to find a safe space for me to go to that I felt like I could be myself, that I could be pushed and that I could accomplish my dreams in a safe environment.

And so I feel like that's so important. And secondly, you have to be able to know and ask for things that you. Needs like be in tune with yourself and really be honest, look in the mirror and ask yourself what are the things that I need to be able to be successful or to thrive?

Or what, what are the things that I need to feel fulfilled or to feel like I can accomplish my dreams. And don't be afraid to ask for them. I think it's often where young women, we feel silenced or we feel like we don't have the ability or the privilege to be able to ask for things that we want, or maybe we're too bossy or, or whatever it is.

And, don't listen to those narratives, like ask for what it is that you want recognize. And if you don't know, then again, trial and error, find out what it is that you need to be able to be your best. And it will honestly, it will change over time. Those things will evolve over time and you might not know until later, and that's totally fine.

Like I'm still learning. I'm still trying to figure out what my body needs, what my mind needs, what I need. To be able to be the best and that has changed. It looks different than it did three years ago. It looks different than it did five years ago. And yeah, I feel like those are, are just really, really important.

And thirdly, I guess I just wanna say like give yourself a break. Like, don't be so hard on yourself. I think it's really easy for female athletes, athletes in general, who are so competitive to just go a hundred percent. And if you're not performing, you feel like a failure. And I think that can be so detrimental where just give yourself that grace, allow yourself to learn, allow yourself to make mistakes and allow yourself to fail.

I think those are so important and those are some of the biggest lessons I've had and the feeling sucks. I'm not gonna lie. It's not easy. It's so hard. Like you hate not being able to accomplish what you wanna accomplish right away, but let it happen, give it time and allow yourself to grow and learn.

And, and don't put so much pressure on yourself because that will come with time.

[00:27:37]Zosia Bulhak: Thank you for listening to a voice and sport podcast. My name is Sasha Bullock and I'm the producer of this voice and sport podcast episode and the lead producer of the voice and sport podcast. I run track in cross country at the university of Houston, and I love working with voice and sport in order to support young girls and women in sports, I would really love it.

If you would join us in trying to make a change, go follow us on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter at voice and support for more amazing content. You can also sign up for free and join our community of female for mentorship, sports, content, and inspiration. Thank you. I really hope you enjoyed the rest of this episode.

[00:28:18]Stef Strack : really love this conversation around grace and giving yourself more of that. I often, as an entrepreneur, I'm trying to remind myself of that myself. I'm not on the competitive world stage like you, but I always say, okay, like give yourself some grace, give yourself a break. And I just wonder for you, what does that look like?

You know, can you, can you share what that looks like to our community? Almost like your. At ways of giving yourself grace or self care or really making sure that you're, you know, like enjoying the journey cuz you know, there's gonna be those ups and downs.

What does it look like for you?

[00:28:58]Melissa Humana Paredes: It, it looks like so many different things and I'll give you a couple examples, but I do wanna say like, The, the path that we choose as female athletes or as female entrepreneurs is uncomfortable just by nature. And that's such a great place to be because it's a place of growth.

Like I think when you get outside your comfort zone, that is when you know that you are pursuing something really difficult and it's really worthwhile. And so I think it's also important to realize when you're in those uncomfortable situations, you have to allow yourself to grow through them and give yourself that grace.

. So let's see for a practice for instance, and this is this like hits home because yesterday's practice for myself. I wasn't happy with like, I, I don't think that I performed very well. I didn't execute the way that I wanted to in specific areas. And I just left that practice feeling really disappointed in myself.

And like, I, I just didn't come through for myself, for my team and I could have let it ruin my entire day. And I just focus on the negatives. And so even in an example, like this, allowing yourself to think about the entirety of the practice and stepping outside of it and not just focusing on the negatives, but giving yourself the grace and be like, oh, but I actually did this really well.

So let's focus on, on this and what I did well here and give yourself, I'd say like two ups and two downs of practice. Like not just not being so hard on yourself, that you only focus on the negatives, but think about, you know, what. This, I actually did really well on, I'm gonna applaud myself for this and pat myself on the shoulder, even though I don't want to, I know I did well on this and I deserve a, a pat on the shoulder for this and not let it ruin the rest of my day.

I feel like since graduated and since going pro volleyball is kind of like the one thing, this sport is the one thing that, that I do. It's a 24 7 job. And it's so consuming that it's so easy to take over your entire day, but then allowing yourself when you come home to have that break, to have that reset and have that space from whatever just happened previously.

And so when I do come home, if I'm very negative, I try not to be, but then I, I have these, little reminders that will kind of get me out of that funk and, and allow me to, again, kind of give myself grace, whether really it's embarrassing, but I'll put on music and I'll have like a little dance party.

I'll put on a really nice song. And I'll just like, get the energy out of my body. And literally danced by myself in my room or in, in, in my bathroom or whatever that looks like. I also, that's just a, kind of like a. A quick remedy. I love just going out for a walk can be really peaceful, listening to, to a podcast.

I love going to concerts often by myself too. So if I have the time it's been tricky during COVID. But before that I would go to concerts by myself all the time and just allow myself that evening or that, that afternoon to just like be present in someone else's talent and get outside of my world and, and give myself that space from, from all the pressures that I put on myself.

And just realize that like being in that moment is part of the journey. It's not, it's not all encompassing on the court or, you know how practice went that day. That's not indicative of how your journey's going or how, you know, if you're worthwhile, if you're stepping up to the plate, I think it's all part of it.

It's all these little memories that you allow yourself grayson. And I think even on the road, it's so easy to get so focused and bogged down on being so present. And, and, you know, you have to stick to the routine, you have to stick to the schedule. There's no getting out of it. You're just, you're so in it, you're in the zone, but allowing yourself to maybe go explore a new city that you're in, walk around make memories every time you're out there.

I think there's this misconception that when you're driven and you're so focused and you're in the zone that you can't get out of it. And, and you can't go explore and make memories at that same time. And I feel like it took me a long time to realize that, but that's me giving grace in a very high pressure situation is, is being able to just like step away from the situation, look back and be like, look, I'm in a really cool city.

I'm in Germany right now. Or I'm in, you know, Greece. Like, let's go explore, let's go have some Greek food and let's enjoy this moment and not put so much pressure on having to perform all the time. And I think obviously like giving myself, asking for breaks is also a way to give yourself grace and not feeling guilty or shame in that.

I think there were a lot of times where I would feel burnt out or physically mentally fatigued. And I didn't know if I would be able to just like carry the level that I needed to perform at practice. And so by asking and speaking again to people that you feel very safe with being like, look, maybe I don't feel my best today.

Maybe I don't feel my best tomorrow. Like, I need, I, maybe I need a break. Maybe I'm gonna take this weekend to just kind of decompress and do that with confidence and grace again I think is so important. And I think we all have to feel like we can ask for that because there's so much, there's so much good in just taking a break and a breather.

It doesn't have to be for a full weekend or it could be for a week or it could be for an hour, whatever it is. Just recognizing that and allowing yourself. The permission. You don't have to ask for permission from anyone it's kind of just from yourself. You just have to like have these conversations with yourself.

And it makes the whole process so much more enjoyable.

[00:34:16]Stef Strack : that you're having

in your head, they. Make it or break it for you as an athlete. It's one of the things we talk a lot about at voice and sport and why we have so many sports psychologists part of our community, because we want girls to tap into the mental side of the game and we also really want them to tap in and emphasize recovery.

So all of the things you're mentioning right now are so important. It's amazing to hear that you've really taken that on as like a priority, especially, it sounds like after college and into your professional life, it's probably one of the reasons why you've won so many championships and why you've continued to play for so long.

So we know one of those amazing partners that we have in common is whoop.

We launched our whoop hi vis blue band on April 19th, which is really exciting. And the portion of the proceeds goes back to gifting girls with memberships to voice and sports so they can access sports psychologists and amazing athlete mentors like you.

So, you know, tell us a little bit about how whoop has helped you optimize rest and recovery and how it's helped you improve this aspect of giving yourself.

[00:35:21]Melissa Humana Paredes: Yeah, first of all, congratulations, this is so exciting. The blue band is so beautiful. And I, I'm just so honored to be part of this and, and you're doing amazing work for young females everywhere.

So thank you. And congratulations. Being a part of the whoop community has been really impactful for my my performance. And it it's actually, I didn't even realize it at first. To be honest, I, when I first heard of whoop and, and saw everyone had whoop, and I was like, what is this? It's kind of just like a, a fitness tracker.

Is it like Fitbit? And I realized it wasn't even close. It was so much more than that. And there was so much that I did not realize that I was not in tune with about my body. And when I spoke earlier about, you know, knowing what your body needs, knowing what you need, whoop was actually a big part of that for me to be able to understand what I was feeling and what the reality was, you know data is power.

Information is power, and I. Realized that there was a, a lots of moments in my life where I was just not listening to my body and it was sending me signals and I was pushing them away. And so when I had the dad in front of me, it was so important for me to see, especially when it came to recovery and, and resting.

And so, you know, seeing how I'm sleeping, seeing how I'm engaged for the day, like how my body is prepared, how it's recovered from the day before seeing and realizing maybe there was this training session that I didn't think was that straining on my body. But when I look and I see the data, like it's so easy as athletes to kind of just push through.

I think we're just trained to do that. Like our body is machines, which is so unrealistic because we're human. And we're often we're just pushing through or pushing through. And I think whoop allowed me to realize, oh no, you know, this was difficult on my body today. I have to take rest and recovery extra important.

Like I have to really, really Figure out what I need to do to recover so I can be better for tomorrow. And so I think the, the data was huge and not only that the great part is you can kind of create your community and, and your teams. And, and so I have a team with my strength coach and with my coach.

And so they're also able to see, you know, how I'm recovering and how hard I'm working, and we have conversations. And if we notice that my recovery is a little bit lower, we'll implement that into the training. And so we're taking these signals from my body, which I think historically I've kind of ignored because again, you're so ingrained to just push through and to fight through it and fight against your body.

And now I feel like with whoop, I'm allowed to work with my body and this information that I can just share, be like, look, I'm a hundred percent recovered. Let's really get after it. Or, you know, look, I didn't have a great sleep last night, or look yesterday was really challenging. My body hasn't quite recovered.

We modify accordingly, you know, and I think it's just so important again, to just be in tune with yourself. Like now I feel like I've gotten to a point where I can finish a training day and I kind of know what strain I'm at or, you know, I can wake up the next morning and I know how, what my recovery will be like.

And so I've started to just kind of be in tune with my body again. And whoop was a big part of that. I think it's so important.

[00:38:29]Stef Strack : I love it. Well, I love it when you can use data for good, and I think that's, that's one of the things I've been doing is just like monitoring my sleep more, even as an entrepreneur, like I do need to make sure I'm prioritizing sleep. Otherwise it's one of the biggest performance benefits that you can have for yourself the next day,

which I think is completely underestimated, especially when you're in high school and college you don't even think About it.

[00:38:52]Melissa Humana Paredes: I could go on for hours about this because you know, when you think of recovery, you think, okay, fuel protein, you know, stretching, ice, bath, all this stuff, but really sleep is the number one form of recovery.

And I didn't realize it until later in my career. And I wish I learned it earlier because it is a game changer. Absolutely and I didn't realize it until. Until whoop until I had the data that maybe my sleep wasn't consistent, that my sleep was not enough. And so now that I have this kind of this tracking, it gives me, it's almost like a competition with myself.

Like how can I sleep better? How can I get my recovery to be better? And yeah, I think it's just so important to, to really monitor that and prioritize, sleep, and use the wearables and whoop to be able to help you to do it. I think there are certain things that you can take from it. Because it can be overwhelming.

If, if you don't know what you're looking at or what's important or priority for you, for me, it's recovery and sleep. Those are the two metrics that I really look at every day and really analyze. And I take seriously because I know it's so important for my career and for my.

[00:39:52]Stef Strack : I love that. Well, let's talk about other kind of data points and specifically around equity in the world of volleyball. I mean, a big part of what we do at voice and sport is advocate for change. We have an incredible program called the vis advocate program where girls in high school and college can join us, get trained on, different areas that we're really trying to get after.

Right now, we have a huge initiative around title nine as it's the 50th anniversary in the United States of title nine. But outside of that, we have nine global goals that we are advocating for as a community. And I'm curious to hear a little bit more about the volleyball world. Like what does the landscape look like between men and women?

Is it equal? How is the prize money to pay the media coverage? So as being. One of the women at the top globally in this sport, where, where are, where is the progress? Is it equal? What is left to really try to improve.

[00:40:48]Melissa Humana Paredes: I would love to speak about this and thank you for everything that you do and that voice and sport does. Because I think it's so important and I, I feel really proud in a lot of ways of my sport. But let's start, let's quickly.

Let's start with the media coverage. Cause I feel like that is kind of just very top of mind and very easy for a lot of people to kind of zero in on, because when you look at beach volleyball, if you Google it, if you see the news articles, a lot of it is about our uniforms and the sexualization of female athletes female beach volleyball player specifically.

And I feel like we can get into this a little bit later, but I feel like it takes away a lot of the sport itself and the sport in, in, in a bigger picture. I feel like the constant narrative of our uniforms and our bodies takes away so much from the work that we do as an athlete, not even as a female athlete, but as an athlete, the work that we put in our performance, our, our, our work ethic, the way that we execute, the thing that we've dedicated our entire lives to is being stripped down to how we look or what our bodies do or what our uniform looks like.

And it just hurts my heart sometimes because we put in so much time and effort the same that, you know, our male counterparts do or, or whatever. And the only thing that's getting attention is our uniform. And I think what's also lacking here is people might not know. And this might be a surprise is that beach volleyball is one of the only professional sports that pay their men and women equally.

It's always been the case for as long as I can remember. And I'm so proud to be of a part of a sport that does pay their counterparts equally. I think it it's something that needs to have more attention and that I want people to know more about, because I feel like we should be supporting those sports as a community, as society we should be supporting and uplifting and investing in sports that pay men and women equally.

And yet I feel like the support hasn't always been there from investors or from the media or, or just, you know, in general, I think peace volleyball has as a, as a much higher potential to be able to grow. And I think it's just, I wish people would understand and realize that that is a huge step, not just for female athletes, but for sports.

I think, I think it's a huge step. And I think unfortunately, a lot of the attention just gets put onto our, our uniforms. And so I really wanna make it clear that we've done some incredible things as a sport. And we're very inclusive, especially when it does come to our uniforms. I think ultimately what might get forgotten is the element of choice as female athletes, we, we choose to wear, we have options to wear whatever we want on how we feel most comfortable on what what the conditions provide.

If it's cold, we can wear leggings and long sleeves. You know, if it's 40 degrees and you're dying, you can, you can wear, you know, a, a bikini. And I think more often than not the female. Will choose what they feel comfortable in what they think will allow them to perform at their highest level.

Would they feel comfortable in playing in? And if that is the beginning, I think that choice piece needs to be respected. And I think there was a lot of coverage over the last few years. I think beach volleyball got a bad reputation of not allowing their athletes to be able to choose what they wanna wear.

But I think that was a misconception because we do have that ability to choose what we want. And I, we were actually confused with this news article that went around. We were confused with beach handball where they didn't allow their FEMA athletes to wear short. I don't know if you're aware of that article.

[00:44:34]Stef Strack : I was gonna, I was gonna bring that

[00:44:35]Melissa Humana Paredes: Yeah. So, so when that article came out, I was shocked because the title said beach volleyball and they don't allow their athletes to wear shorts. And I was like, wait, no, that's not right. And then I realized that it wasn't beach volleyball, it was beach handball.

And that was infuriating for me because I mean that whole situation, I was shocked that they would not allow them to wear what they wanted because I come from a sport where again, you can wear what you feel comfortable wearing. I remember so vividly from the real Olympics, there's this really great image that I have in my mind.

It was a game between Egypt and a game between Germany and in the picture Germany was wearing, you know, just their, their regular bikini uniform. And then the, the female athletes from, from Egypt, they were covered head to toe and, and, and I think it was just such a beautiful representation of the inclusivity of our sport and of how beach volleyball, female beach, volleyball athletes, they look different and it's beautiful and it's accepted and it's represented.

And yeah, I feel like that part is missing. And I feel like the media, I hate this, this narrative that sex sells and they really just kind of like hone in on that piece of our sport. And there's so much more to us as female athletes. And there's so much more to female athletes in general than just how we look.

And I don't think it's just specific to beach volleyball, but across the board, the questions that female athletes get asked and it's different than the questions that male athletes get asked. And I think it's so important to advocate for yourself as a female athlete on what you choose to wear, what you choose to feel comfortable and the questions that you choose to answer and the responses that you choose to say they are so powerful.

And I want you to just kind of own that moment and own the story that you wanna tell and own, own your story. I think that's so important. And create that path and be that, that trailblazer, because, you know, I feel like it's just the beginning for female athletes and for female sports.

[00:46:30]Stef Strack : Well, I love we wrote about this a great, we have a great article. If you guys wanna check it out on voice and right now just talking about this, the sex exploitation and of really the media coverage of women athletes, and it's not just in volleyball, it comes across in other sports too. And I think your perspective is really, really interesting because the Norwegian.

Handball team when they stood up about sexualization of their uniforms, they were met with a fine, right. It was a $1,700 fine for violating the international handball Federation rules that states that women have to wear bikini shorts while men are allowed to wear long shorts. And then there was a similar situation with the, the German gymnastics team and they said they were tired of sexualization of gymnastics.

And so they wore unitards stretched through their ankles rather than exposing their bodies in leotards. It was that's more traditional. So I think what you're saying about the choice is, is really powerful.

When the media continues to sexualize women and in these sports, it, it makes it really hard.

I think for young girls, where then all of a sudden you get into this comparison trap of like thinking that you need to be looking a certain way to be performing. And it takes away from what all of these amazing women athletes are doing, which is like incredible human performance.

So I it's very frustrating, but at the same time, there are these rules out there and some of these federations.

So you're saying that in beach volleyball at the, at the national level, both in Canada, it sounds like, and the us that there is no such rule that you can choose what you wanna wear.

[00:48:14]Melissa Humana Paredes: The, this is for the international level.

I don't know if the, the rules change actually at the national level, I would hope not. And I would be very disappointed if they do, but I know internationally you have the choice to wear shorts. You have the choice to wear leggings. You have the choice to wear a t-shirt or a tank top or a long sleeve, or just a sports bra.

It really is up to you. And I think it is really dependent on the conditions as well. Like I often play in, I, I just came from a tournament in Mexico and I was wearing a t-shirt in leggings because it was a little chilly and I just felt more comfortable wearing a t-shirt in leggings. And, you know, we're not met with any resistance and I was just watching another tournament in Brazil this past weekend and the Norwegian beach volleyball team, they were wearing shorts.

And it, it is, it is, this is at the highest level, the highest international level of beach volleyball. And, and that's what is accepted. And I think when you look at kind of the examples of the beach handball team, and they're met with a fine, like, that is such a dated way to go about things. And I think we, as female athletes one have to speak up and I'm so proud of them for speaking up and for it's extremely uncomfortable and you're gonna be met with pushback, and I'm sure the media could take things and twist things, however they want, but to be able to speak your truth and do it with confidence and do it with knowing your story and creating that story for yourself is so important.

And as female athletes on the other side of it, we have to support them. You know, we have to be able to cheer them on and, and stand up with them and for them because it's not easy to, to speak up especi. In a, a society or, or, or especially with media who, who tends to kind of twist the stories and, and change it the way that they want to we need to be able to support each other.

And, and I think that's so important as female athletes in general at, at all times,

[00:49:57]Stef Strack : Well, there are so many that like antiquated policies still out there and Federation rules, or even in the NCAA, you know, some of the sports still require women to be in all of the same uniform, which then eliminates the choice, right? Because then you can't wear what you want or feel comfortable in because you all have to look the same.

And, you know, I think there's still like work to do in this space. It's one of the areas that we're gonna be advocating for over the next year. And I'm excited to kind of dig into this area. So anybody out there listening to this that wants to join our advocacy team, this is on our radar.

And we're, we're definitely gonna be looking out for all sports where there's still these antiquated policies and try to help help other young. women it's important because you and I talked about this before, but when you don't feel comfortable in your skin, you know, it can affect your confidence or how you feel about playing that sport.

And all of that goes beyond even just on the court, right. It, it actually can extend into how you feel about yourself in general. So I wanted to dive into this as our last topic is like for yourself, you know, did you ever have moments where you weren't comfortable in your skin or felt self-conscious with your body and how did you work through that as an athlete, throughout all of these different levels that you've been playing at?

[00:51:17]Melissa Humana Paredes: Yeah. I mean, of course I did. I definitely did when I was younger and maybe not in the traditional sense. I, I have always kind of had an interesting relationship with my body and the way that it's kind of evolved and, and changed over time and, and just become, you know, this, what it's become for me now is this incredible beacon of it allows me to be able to pursue my dream.

And I'm just so grateful for it. It become this tool for me to be able to, you know, Excel at what I wanna do. And, and I feel so grateful for it. And sometimes I catch myself being really negative towards it and I'm like, oh my gosh. But look at what it can do for me. And so I think realizing kind of when I look back at how I used to see myself when I was really young and then now it's changed.

And I think constantly your relationship with your body is constantly going to be changing. And I think we go back to grace, but being kind and this positive self talk with yourself is so important. I'll catch myself all the time. And I think it's really easy. Especially when you play in the bikini and you're so exposed when you look at pictures or when you watch yourself or you look in the mirror, you might not feel comfortable on a single day.

It's so easy to let that take over, but you have to change the narrative and think, but look what, look what my body does for me. Look what I, what I put my body through. And it still shows up for me every single day. And it's still here and it's still trying to do the best that it can on the court. And it's, allows me to move fast.

It allows me to jump and I have to treat it well. I have to fuel it. I have to let it recover. I have to give it love and shower it with Kind words and, and it worked really hard. And when you start thinking about everything that your body does for you, rather than what your body doesn't do for you, you start to see it differently.

And I think that really helped me be really kind to it, because again, it can, you can be so hard on yourself and you can start being really negative and you can play the comparison game, which is so easy to do in this day and age. But you're only hurting yourself by comparing yourself to somebody because your body is so unique to you.

And when you realize that for at least for myself, for an athlete my body allows me to accomplish so much and I'm so lucky to be able to. Work with my body. And, and it has a purpose. My body has a purpose and and it's not just here to look good for anyone else's eyes. That is never the point when I got past that narrative which was kind of in instilled in me at a young age with kind of the information that you're fed as a young girl.

When you look past that point and you look what it does to serve you, you start to really appreciate it and feel a lot of gratitude towards it. And I think that was really important for me. And to say that I do that all the time would be a lie. It's still a work in progress and sometimes I still catch myself being really hard on myself or not feeling comfortable in my skin.

Our bodies change so much and they fluctuate all the time, who I am at the end of a season or what my body looks like or how my body feels at the end of the season is totally different than at the beginning of the season or in the middle of the season. And I love that because that's what bodies are for.

They fluctuate, they change depending on where you're at, depending on what, what season you're at. Whether you're an athlete or not, it just changes. And to be aware and comfortable with that and recognize that is beautiful. Like, look how much work your body can do. I'm just constantly in awe and feel so empowered to be able to be a female and to have all these incredible things.

Our bodies are beautiful and they allow us to do so many different things. And I think it's important to just surround yourself with that kind of messaging and people who support you regardless.

[00:54:58]Stef Strack : And one of those wonderful things about being a woman athlete is getting your period. Now, I didn't always think that when I was growing up, but now I have learned how incredible it can be as a performance tool. If you can get past all the different, crazy myths that are out there. And this is one of the reasons why we have voice and support sessions every week on our platform so that young women hopefully will learn these things earlier about their bodies and that your period can be your superpower and it can actually be an incredible indicator of health and wellbeing. And so it's a mindset shift on like what your period can do for you.

Which is certainly not how I felt as a young woman athlete. So what has been your journey you know, thinking about your period and especially now that you're using whoop and some of those new features that track your menstrual cycle. Tell us a little bit about that journey for you.

Was it the same as for me, like where you started out hating getting your period and now it's it's like

shifted for

[00:55:58]Melissa Humana Paredes: for you? Absolutely. And I actually really wanna recognize whoop in this journey because I feel like a lot of the data That are that's given to athletes is done on men and does not take female bodies into consideration.

And more importantly, our menstruation, which is so important for how our body functions. And I think now that we have, you know, data on this and, and, and wearables that take that into consideration is mind blowing. And I can't believe it's 20, 22, you know, and we're finally getting there.

We're finally starting to prioritize and recognize how important our menstruation is for life. and I think as an athlete extremely important because when I grew up, I hated getting my period. I had terrible cramps and I just felt so uncomfortable and, and bloated. And again, when you're in a bikini, when your uniform is so exposing, you just feel so uncomfortable in your skin.

And so I had this really difficult relationship with my self when I had my period and. And over time I started to get used to it and when I knew that time was coming, I was like, okay, well, I, this, this week is a write off. And I would just kind of like submit to that only recently that I realized that it is truly a superpower and I actually wanna credit my dad for something, because I don't think he knew this, but for better, for worse, he may have lied to me when I was younger.

And he said that I would play better on my period. And I remember thinking that at a young age, I was like, oh my gosh. And it changed the way that I started to look at when I got my period, instead of being like, oh, well, I'm gonna feel so crappy and I'm not gonna feel confident. And I'm just gonna feel fatigued all the time.

I'm just gonna be cramping all the time, instead of allowing it to kind of take over and, and let it bring me down or see it as a negative thing, this little piece of information my dad gave me and whether he knew or, or what, what he thought he was doing I started to. Look forward to when I would get my period because oh, I would play better.

I would be stronger. I would have more energy or, or whatever it is that I would tell myself. And so I think that just kind of mindset shift, and now with the more data that we're getting, how it can actually be your superpower, I think is so, so cool. And I think we really have to just be grateful for the information that we're getting and, and science and data and just again, appreciate and be in awe of what our body can do.

[00:58:17]Stef Strack : I love it. Well, way to go. Melissa's dad. I had a little shout out to Melissa's dad on this podcast because he was ahead of the times and it is pretty crazy, but you know, just like in sport, like also in science, there's a gender bias and this also goes deep into research. It's why the voice and sport foundation exist.

To fund research on women athletes in all of those developmental moments, because we know there's just not enough research done out there and kind of similar to like the sports side with inequities, with title IX, when that law came into play, it really propelled sport participation for girls across the country in the United States.

But kind of on the flip side, when you look at sports science, it was actually bill Clinton that signed in, into like one of the most incredible but archaic decisions when he was in the office. And this was back in the nineties when he actually mandated that there must be women rats, female rats included in studies so that it wouldn't just be male rats.

And that then. All of a sudden started to create more research behind science in the whole industry. This is not just for sport. This is just in general research. So that was in the nineties and, so it is pretty crazy to think about, you know, when you go down into the niche side of sports science and research, that there's another really big gap.

And we know that only 3% of sports science and research is done with women athletes. And that's why we created the foundation is like let's supercharge this. So one of the first studies that, that the foundation will be announcing will be in 2022, all using a hundred percent women athletes. And I'm really excited to hear the progress of that group.

[01:00:03]Melissa Humana Paredes: that is incredible. Oh my gosh. Oh, thank you so much for everything that you do and, and voice and sport. This is, this is incredible. And this is so needed a long time coming and, and you guys are really paving the way for us and, and I can speak for myself.

We're so grateful.

[01:00:19]Stef Strack : Ah, thank you, Melissa. Well, it's women like you, who inspire me to do what I do. So, we'll end the podcast on our two questions that we ask all of our athletes and, and this is really to help our, our young community. So what is one piece of advice that you would give your younger self in sport?

[01:00:36]Melissa Humana Paredes: think what I would give myself or to anyone else who's younger in sport. If I could tell them one thing, it has to be to, to create a. Safe space for yourself in, in the form of whatever that looks like it could be surrounding yourself with the right people in a support system. And it, it could be just knowing what you need to, to feel safe that you can feel vulnerable and empowered in as female athletes, I think we're often in situations or in communities where we don't feel like we have the right or the, the power to be able to speak up for ourselves.

And I think if you allow yourself and push yourself to create a community to be empowered and to feel like you can just be who you are. I think that's the best advice you can do. And try and do that at an early age, try and get that down and feel confident in, in your abilities, you know yourself better than anyone else.

I think that's so important.

[01:01:37]Stef Strack : The future of women's. And volleyball and you guys are definitely paving the way forward in a lot of areas with equal pay at tournaments, which I think is incredible. It's also one of the fastest growing sports. So like volleyball is, is doing not so bad right now. But what is one thing that you would like to see change for the future of all? women's sports? I love

[01:01:58]Melissa Humana Paredes: I honestly, I just wanna see more excitement for women's sports. I wanna see more people understanding and respecting what we do and not give it a caveat or not finish the sentence with, but, you know, I want people to really understand what we do and feel excited because female sports and female athletes, oh my gosh, there's so much excitement there.

There's so much strength and power and, and beauty, not just physically, but like in the way that female sports are , it is just, it's a beautiful thing to witness. And I think there needs to be more excitement and not like you feel like you have to support them, but that you want to support them. Because this truly is the future.

I think the future is so female.

[01:02:42]Stef Strack : Thank you so much, Melissa, for joining us on the podcast. It's really incredible to hear just all of the insights that you have. And you have said such an incredible career. I think the longevity and the amount of time that you've spent in this sport just goes to show you doing something right. So I appreciate that you're, sharing that wisdom with our voice and sport community, and we're so excited to see what you're what you're gonna do


[01:03:06]Melissa Humana Paredes: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I'm honored to be here. I really appreciate it.

[01:03:10]Stef Strack : this week's episode was produced and edited by vis creator. Zha bull Hawk, a track and cross country runner from the university of Houston Melissa's journey reminds us that we have to work hard to achieve our dreams, but that we also need to work together with our bodies instead of against them. This includes fueling training, but also the often forgotten sleep.

Melissa reminds us that failure is an integral part of everything we do, and that it does not define us as athletes or as people, how we respond to failure. And whether we learn from this is all that really matters in the end. I know it's hard to think that way when you're in the moment, but it's the failures we have that make all of our past to success so different and so exciting.

We're so thankful to Melissa for sharing her story with us today and excited to see what she's gonna be doing next. You can follow Melissa on Instagram at Melissa Huma pod. If you enjoyed this episode, please send it to a friend that you think might enjoy our conversation and be sure to check out podcast number 59 with Kristen Holmes or podcast number 69 with Emily Krause, both incredible vis experts that touch on a few of the topics we hit on today.

Like period, sleep and fueling our bodies. Head to the feed on the voice and sport platform and filter by journey or by volleyball and spend some time diving into the incredible free resources we have here at VI. Check out the sessions page and filter by professional athlete or journey and sign up for one of the free or paid sessions with our vis league or vis experts.

See you next week on the voice and sport podcast.

Melissa Humana Paredes, a pro beach volleyball player, 6x FIVB Gold Medalist, 12x FIVB Medalist, and a World Champion shares the mistakes and errors she’s made along the way, and how she learned to grow from them.