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The Mental Game with Sam Brief

The Mental Game with Sam Brief

By Sam Brief
Under our critical microscopes, athletes compete, coaches coach, and we discuss.

But what’s happening inside these performers’ minds? Let’s dive in. And as the world recognizes that embracing mental health is necessary, “The Mental Game” serves as a platform for open and honest reflections.

On The Mental Game podcast, host Sam Brief breaks down mental health and performance psychology with these athletes, coaches and experts from around the world.

Music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe to The Mental Game on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more.
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The Mental Game with Sam Brief

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Jon Laaser
Episode 45 of The Mental Game features Jon Laaser, former play-by-play voice of the Virginia Tech Hokies who now is a mental health advocate and founder of Laaser’s Ladybug Society.  In the midst of his own lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, Laaser stepped down from Virginia Tech in 2019 to pursue full-time mental health advocacy. He and his wife, Renée, founded Laaser’s Ladybug Society, which focuses on aiding Mental Health education and treatment. For more information on Laaser’s Ladybug Society, click here.  On The Mental Game, Laaser delves into…  His unique journey and personal battles along the way  Why he founded Laaser’s Ladybug Society  What mental health advocacy looks like at the local level  Much more  Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself.  The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
39:57
May 22, 2022
Olympic Figure Skater Jason Brown
Episode 44 of The Mental Game brings on Olympic figure skater Jason Brown. Brown, a two-time Olympian, won a bronze medal in at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and most recently appeared at the Bejing Games this winter. After becoming one of the youngest male figure skating Olympic medalists ever, Brown achieved international stardom, known for his effervescent personality and artistry on the ice. But the Highland Park, Illinois native faced a major roadblock in 2018, failing to qualify for the Olympics after falling on his opening jump. He moved back home, felt burned out and even contemplated retiring at age 23. Then, Brown turned it around. He moved to Toronto, committed himself to a growth mindset and began performing for his own happiness, not to please outside forces. That dedicated propelled him to the 2022 Olympics, where he earned a personal best in both the free skate and short program. On The Mental Game, Brown dives into… The reckoning he faced in 2018, and how he powered past it Why he almost retired at 23 His mental routine before, during and after a performance How the intense pressure of the 2022 Olympics affected him How he feels on the ice Much more, including how he chooses music for his routines Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
01:02:20
April 26, 2022
Carrie Jackson
Episode 43 of The Mental Game features Carrie Jackson, a mental skills coach, author and podcaster who focuses on mental recovery from physical injury. Jackson started the “Injured Athletes Club” podcast and co-authored “Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger From Sports Injuries.” In her expansive work, she coaches athletes on accepting injury, battling through and how to navigate rehab. On The Mental Game, Jackson delves into… Why injury acceptance is a crucial first step to recovery How the media covers sports injuries, and how it can improve The most dramatic comebacks she’s been a part of Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
49:01
April 05, 2022
Julie Kliegman
Episode 42 of The Mental Game features Sports Illustrated copy chief Julie Kliegman. Kliegman is set to release her book, “Mind Game: Inside the Mental Health Playbook of Elite Athletes,” in 2023. Kliegman, whose work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Ringer, BuzzFeed and more, has written extensively on mental health in sports, including this Sports Illustrated Daily Cover from April 2020. On The Mental Game, Kliegman dives into… The misconceptions surrounding mental health and athletes What Ben Simmons’ situation illuminates The most fascinating stories she’s gleaned from her book research Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
33:33
March 23, 2022
Katie Krall
Episode 41 of The Mental Game brings aboard Boston Red Sox Development Coach Katie Krall. Krall, who graduated from Northwestern University just four years ago, has long vied to work in baseball and in January was hired to work with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs in the Red Sox system. Krall previously spent time with the Cincinnati Reds and in the Cape Cod Baseball League before leaving the game to work as a Strategy Program Manager at Google for a few months. Then, the Red Sox came calling and Krall hopped aboard their organization, where she’ll work on player development. On The Mental Game, Krall dives into… The challenge of leaving baseball (and then returning) How mental health ties into her role in player development How being a woman affects her in her position Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
35:55
March 14, 2022
Paul Marlow
Episode 40 of The Mental Game features Paul Marlow, AKA Tall Paul, founder of Never Alone, an online resource leading the conversation on day to day mental health help. Marlow, formerly a Toronto Blue Jays draft pick, believes that everyone can work on bettering their mental health, just like with our physical health. Marlow started Never Alone after a traumatic period in his life, during which he lost his father to Parkinson’s and cancer. Marlow embraced honesty in his recovery process, and he founded the platform soon after. Marlow is also the founder of Tall Paul, helping Tall Men find clothes to feel comfortable in their skin again. Visit Never Alone by clicking here. On The Mental Game, Marlow delves into… What we all get wrong about mental health, starting with the term “mental health” The unique philosophy behind Never Alone Why harnessing the power of honesty is so crucial Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. To contact Paul Marlow… Twitter: https://twitter.com/hitallpaul Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/neveralonefam/ Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@neveralonefam Tall Paul: https://tallpaul.ca/ The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
46:10
February 25, 2022
Chris Troye
Episode 39 of The Mental Game features Boston Red Sox Minor League pitcher Chris Troye, a philosophical and positive thinker zoned in on his mental skills. Troye attended UC Santa Barbara, where he rapidly emerged as a stud pitcher and top prospect. But as a sophomore, Troye tore his UCL and missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That’s when Troye hunkered down and learned who he really is: Not Chris Troye, the pitcher, but Chris Troye, who pitches. Since then, he’s dedicated himself to positive thinking, the Stoicism philosophy and social media as a force for good. On The Mental Game, Troye delves into… How to mentally recover from Tommy John surgery Why he’s such a positive person His unique living situation, and how he learned to adjust on the fly Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
49:36
February 09, 2022
Freddie Stevenson
Episode 38 of The Mental Game features Freddie Stevenson, former pro football player, author and activist. Stevenson rose from a childhood of homelessness and poverty to the NFL. Then, after his playing career which featured a National Championship at Florida State and a stint with the Chicago Bears, Stevenson experienced severe depression, bringing him to despair. But he harnessed the power of a positive mindset to turn his life around and later authored “Trials To Triumph,” which details his journey in vivid detail. Stevenson has found his purpose in life: To help others power through their trials. On The Mental Game, Stevenson dives into… The struggle of his often homeless childhood How he learned to battle through unthinkable obstacles His advice to you Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
37:30
January 15, 2022
Kieran Lovegrove
Episode 37 of The Mental Game features Kieran Lovegrove, a retired Minor League Baseball pitcher who has made waves as an activist speaking out on baseball’s “mental health crisis.” Lovegrove made waves in a September ESPN.com piece by Joon Lee in which he details his harrowing journey as a young minor leaguer, which included severe anxiety and depression, alcoholism and a suicide attempt. Lovegrove was “reborn” after his attempt, and he has since turned his life around, committing to staying sober, prioritizing his mental health and helping others who have been through similar journeys. On The Mental Game, Lovegrove delves into… How his life turned upside down as a teenager, and how he remade himself How therapy and other coping strategies have revolutionized his life His advice to you Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
01:06:11
December 23, 2021
Scottie Lindsey
Episode 36 of The Mental Game brings aboard Scottie Lindsey, currently in his fourth season as a professional basketball player. Lindsey plays for the Windy City Bulls, NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls. Lindsey played college basketball at Northwestern University, where he powered the Wildcats to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 2017. From there, he has made three stops in the NBA G League and played briefly in Portugal last year. With the NBA in his sights, Lindsey tore his ACL in December 2018, setting back his NBA dreams and forcing him to start from scratch. On The Mental Game, Lindsey dives in on: His ACL injury and the mental strain of starting over How the G League serves as the ultimate resilience test His advice to you Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
37:29
December 08, 2021
Austin Anderson
Episode 35 of The Mental Game features Austin Anderson, Director of Athletic Communications at Judson University (Illinois). As a young child, Anderson overcame significant mental illness and “feels that a main purpose of the remainder of his life is to share his experiences, make awareness for neuro-immune illnesses, and discuss mental health in the modern age.” Anderson operates “Minds of Meaning,” a personal website dedicated to such awareness. On The Mental Game, Anderson discusses: His childhood journey in tackling a severe illness The remnants of anxiety he still feels as a result and his initial tentativeness to share Why he so proudly shares his story now Much more To contact Austin, email him at mindsofmeaning@gmail.com and visit mindsofmeaning.com Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
40:57
November 12, 2021
Jordan Kipper
Episode 34 of The Mental Game features pitcher Jordan Kipper, a former Los Angeles Angels draft choice most recently starring for the Chicago Dogs of the American Association. A graduate of TCU, Kipper is now in his eighth professional season. He reached the Triple-A level of Minor League Baseball with the Baltimore Orioles organization and served as the ace for the Dogs this past season, earning the American Association Pitcher of the Month honor for August and finishing the season with 51 strikeouts and two walks in his final seven regular-season starts. Kipper will next pitch for los Algodoneros de Guasave of the Mexican Pacific League. In his Mental Game debut, Kipper discusses: The shift in his mental process that turned a disastrous start to 2021 into a banner year The crippling anxiety he used to experience before starts His journaling process, which he feels has buoyed his success Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
46:08
October 09, 2021
Peyton Stearns
Episode 33 of The Mental Game features National Champion tennis star Peyton Stearns. Stearns is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin and has already etched herself as one of the top young stars in the country. In the spring, she led the Longhorns to an NCAA title and was named Most Outstanding Player. She then earned a qualifying wild card for the women's singles draw at the U.S. Open, where she fell to the United Kingdom’s Harriet Dart. As a 19-year-old, Stearns recognizes that her mental game is still a work in progress, and on the podcast, she dives into: The moment her mind hampered her during her freshman season What it feels like to let go and just play tennis, to be in the “zone” Dealing with nerves at the U.S. Open Much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
31:45
September 19, 2021
Tony Rossi
Episode 32 of The Mental Game features Chicago-based actor and mindset coach Tony Rossi. Tony has performed professionally in both the Boston and Chicago markets. Prior to making the move to Chicago, he worked with Greater Boston Stage Company and Boston Children’s Theatre. His commercial work includes BUNN, Ortiz, Fanatics, and others. He now is a mindset coach and certified speaker who helps fellow actors “stress less, laugh more, and see things differently when it comes to the challenges in their creative careers.” Rossi hosts the Actor Problems podcast, as well. On the podcast, Rossi explains: The incredible amount of overlap between actors and athletes as it relates to mental health How he coaches actors on dealing with rejection and self-doubt Why emotions can be a superpower Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
49:49
August 15, 2021
Jake Dahlberg
Episode 31 of The Mental Game brings on Jake Dahlberg, a fifth-year professional pitcher who just signed with the San Francisco Giants organization. Up to July 20, Dahlberg was pitching for the Chicago Dogs of the American Association. Note: We recorded this episode on July 19, one day before Dahlberg was signed by San Francisco, validating his commitment to the mental game. Dahlberg, a University of Illinois-Chicago alum, was drafted in the 21st round of the 2017 MLB Draft by his childhood team, the St. Louis Cardinals. After two seasons with St. Louis, Dahlberg was released and joined the Dogs in independent baseball.  This past offseason, Dahlberg renewed a sharp commitment to his mental game, rooting out negative thoughts and undeserved pressure. On the podcast, Dahlberg tells us:  Why he decided to commit to his mental game How he processes thoughts on the mound  How an anger management course changed his career — and life Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
40:29
July 22, 2021
Dr. Harold Shinitzky ... on Naomi Osaka, media and mental health, and more
Episode 30 of The Mental Game brings on the podcast’s first-ever return guest, Dr. Harold Shinitzky. In a lightning bolt moment for sports and mental health, Shinitzky joins to discuss where we stand, including the strong reaction to Naomi Osaka’s very public ordeal with her mental health. Shinitzky and Sam Brief delve into how the media should cover mental health, why fans get wrapped up in athletes’ personal lives and how to thaw the “glacial pace” of change. Dr. Shinitzky first joined in November 2020, when he broke down mental toughness and dished out the secret to effective trash talk. Shinitzky works with Olympic and professional athletes from every major association (PGA, NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL). He also serves as president of the Florida Psychological Association and is the author of A Champion's Mindset: 15 Mental Conditioning Steps to Becoming a Champion Athlete. Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
58:18
July 01, 2021
Dr. Wendy Borlabi
Episode 29 of The Mental Game brings on Dr. Wendy Borlabi, Chicago Bulls Director of Performance and Mental Health. In addition to her role with the Bulls, Borlabi also manages a private practice, Borlabi Consulting and consults the NBA. In her past, Dr. B served as a psychologist for the United States Olympic Committee and as an Athletic Consultant at James Madison University. Borlabi also founded Wisdom Knot, a non-profit that, in her words, “works to increase self-exploration in inner city youth by engaging them in interactive initiatives to extend their relationship with the game beyond competition.” On the podcast, Borlabi shares: How to communicate with professional athletes Why we should avoid the word “weakness” The number-one facet that performers need to improve on Much, much more Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
35:35
June 08, 2021
Brennan Metzger
Episode 28 of The Mental Game features 9th year professional baseball outfielder Brennan Metzger. Now in his debut season with the Chicago Dogs, Metzger was a San Francisco Giants draft choice in 2012. In 2013, Metzger, who suffers from Crohn's disease, was hospitalized for over a month, undergoing a major surgery that removed his large intestine. He also entered into four emergency surgeries that gravely threatened his life. At age 23, Metzger nearly died in the hospital. He lost 80 pounds. Metzger maintains that, while his body was rendered non-functional, his reliance on staying mentally attuned through focus, staying present and positive saved him. He still carries those skills with him today as he continues his pro baseball career. On the podcast, Metzger delves into: How he nearly lost his life at age 23 What inspired him to mentally refocus and engineer his recovery How he transfers those skills to the baseball diamond What he learned through working with Dr. Ken Ravizza, considered one of the pioneers of sports psychology Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
40:37
May 25, 2021
Megan Skaggs
Episode 27 of The Mental Game features Megan Skaggs, a six-time All-American gymnast at the University of Florida. Before stepping foot on Florida’s campus, Skaggs had already earned two medals for U.S. Gymnastics. Now an accomplished collegiate gymnast entering her fifth year, Skaggs is locked in on her mental game and shares her recipe for overcoming the myriad obstacles of an elite gymnast. On the podcast, Skaggs dives into: How she combats negative thoughts while competing Her worst fall, and how she rebounded from it Why she’s returning for a fifth season at UF What she hopes to improve on in her mental game Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
30:60
May 10, 2021
Jonathan Jones
Episode 26 of The Mental Game brings aboard Jonathan Jones, a student-athlete development consultant, TedX speaker, podcast host and former student-athlete. Jones played basketball at Richland College and the University of Texas at Tyler, a tenure he says was rife with costly mistakes. Now, he advises current student-athletes on their development, focusing deeply on mental health. Jones recently launched “Podcasting for Players,” a platform to help student-athletes develop their own podcasts, starting at West Virginia University. On the podcast, Jones delves into: His rocky journey as a student-athlete How NCAA Name, Image and Likeness legislation might impact mental health Why student-athletes are such a unique population for development A discussion with Sam about the best Trader Joe’s products (surprisingly on-topic) Enjoy and remember to be kind to yourself. For more on Jonathan Jones, visit jonathanjonesspeaks.com. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
42:56
April 19, 2021
Dr. Veronica Ivy
Episode 25 of The Mental Game features Dr. Veronica Ivy, world-champion cyclist, professor of philosophy and activist for human rights. In 2018, Ivy became the first transgender world champion in track cycling, then won another title the next year. Her athletic feats, however, have spawned vitriol from critics who claim that, as a transgender woman, she has no right to compete in women’s sports. Numerous death threats have been issued against Ivy. Ivy isn’t just a champion athlete, but she’s a world-leading expert on athletes’ rights, advising nearly every level of athletic organization, including the International Olympic Committee. On the podcast, Ivy dives into: The therapeutic methods that have taught her to cope with hate and death threats Why transphobia may have kept her from vying for the Olympics How being an expert in psychology and philosophy helps — and hurts — her mental health What it’s like to compete when some think you don’t belong Warning: This episode contains explicit language (but with good reason). Enjoy and be well. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
51:28
April 06, 2021
Xavier Fulton
Episode 24 of The Mental Game features Xavier Fulton, former NFL, CFL and University of Illinois football player. After starring at Illinois, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Fulton in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Fulton’s subsequent NFL career was marred, however, by injuries and cuts, before he settled in the Canadian Football League, winning the 2013 Grey Cup with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Fulton has since opened up about the anxiety and depression he dealt with as a pro football player and is now a proud mental health advocate and father to two in Chicago. On the podcast, Fulton delves into: How his concussions spawned mood changes and mental health struggles How he became a boxing champion amidst his pro career Why the professional athlete life isn’t what it seems Managing depression and anxiety in the NFL and beyond Why sharing your story and struggles is vital Enjoy and be well. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
51:11
March 29, 2021
Matt Fitzgerald
Episode 23 of The Mental Game features writer endurance sports writer, coach and athlete Matt Fitzgerald.  A runner since the age of 11, Fitzgerald has channeled his love of endurance into writing. The New Hampshire native has authored nearly 30 books, many focusing on the mental side of endurance sports, including “The Comeback Quotient and “How Bad Do You Want It?” which this podcast’s host has read.  On the podcast, Fitzgerald breaks down:  Why reality holds the key to life How elite endurance athletes think (and explains that you can too!) Why some athletes can compete into old age Why the New England Patriots demonstrate an elite mental game.  Enjoy and be well. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
59:12
March 16, 2021
Bob Tewksbury
Episode 22 of The Mental Game Podcast features 13-year MLB veteran and certified mental skills coach Bob Tewksbury.  After pitching for six big league teams and winning 110 games, Tewksbury earned a master's in psychology and enlisted as a mental skills coach with the Boston Red Sox, where he won three World Series rings. He then moved to the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs before crafting his own practice, which you can find at BobTewksbury.com.  A titan in the industry, Tewksbury authored Ninety Percent Mental, which (producer’s note) is an absolute must for any sports psych nerd.  On the podcast, Tewksbury reminisces on his career through a mental game lens, while offering insight into how mental coaching has transformed sports as we know them. Enjoy and be well. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
50:47
February 24, 2021
Matt Gerdes
Episode 21 of The Mental Game Podcast features world-renowned BASE Jumper, skydiver, author and CEO Matt Gerdes.  Gerdes is one of the world’s top BASE jumpers, completing 1,200 jumps and skydives to date. He authored The Great Book of BASE and also co-founded Squirrel Wingsuits.  On the podcast, Gerdes brings us inside the mind of a BASE jumper. As one of the world’s most dangerous sports, BASE jumpers must be incredibly risk-averse. In spite of the treacherous risks, Gerdes describes why it’s well worth it, thanks to the eurphoric and peaceful feelings he experiences mid-jump. Enjoy and be well. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
28:29
February 15, 2021
Joel Goldberg
Episode 20 of The Mental Game Podcast features Kansas City Royals broadcaster Joel Goldberg.  Goldberg serves as pregame and postgame show host for the Royals on FOX Sports Kansas City while also hosting the “Rounding the Bases” podcast. In addition, Goldberg is a renowned public speaker, tailoring his message to the value of people. As he says, “it’s always about people.”  Goldberg also authored Small Ball Big Results, which focuses on the little things that add up to wins in baseball, business and life.  On the podcast, Goldberg delves into the value of relationships and how those relationships have been turned upside down by COVID. He also shares stories of his tenure with the Royals and breaks down the perfect hot dog. Enjoy and be well. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
49:54
February 08, 2021
D.J. Snelten
Episode 19 of The Mental Game Podcast features former Major League pitcher D.J. Snelten. Snelten pitched for the San Francisco Giants in 2018 and is now a member of the Chicago Cubs organization.  After leaving the Giants, Snelten briefly joined the Orioles before spending the 2019 season with the Chicago Dogs of the American Association. In Chicago, Snelten experienced a mental turnaround, in part guided by teammate (and former idol) Carlos Zambrano. Since then, Snelten has skyrocketed back into affiliated baseball.  On the podcast, Snelten breaks down his psychological approach to pitching and takes us through the life-changing moment in 2019 that turned around his career.  Enjoy and be well. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
42:23
February 02, 2021
Chad McGehee
Episode 18 of The Mental Game Podcast is with the Director of Meditation Training at the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department, Chad McGehee.  McGehee is literally one-of-a-kind: He’s the only Director of Meditation at an athletic department (as far as he knows). He serves a unique role in strengthening the minds of Wisconsin Badgers across all sports. On the podcast, McGehee touches on his role at UW before explaining how we all can incorporate mindfulness practices into our daily lives. He even takes us through a short, but effective, mindfulness practice.  Enjoy and be well. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
51:05
January 25, 2021
Swen Nater
Episode 17 of The Mental Game Podcast features former NBA and ABA star Swen Nater.  Nater won two championships playing for the great John Wooden at UCLA. Now an author and motivational speaker, the Dutchman heeded Wooden’s famous philosophy while serving as a practice player behind Bill Walton.  Nater was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to the U.S. as a nine-year-old. Before stepping on American soil, he had never seen a basketball. Nater didn’t play in high school after being cut his junior season but subsequently catapulted to All-American heights at Cypress College in California. After Nater’s dominant season at Cypress, Wooden recruited the big man to UCLA, telling Nater he wouldn’t play but that he’d learn, practice and make it to the pros.  Nater then became the only player to never start a college game but wind up as a first-round NBA Draft selection. He played 12 professional seasons.  On the podcast, Nater reflects on the myriad teachings of John Wooden, including the Hall-of-Famer’s legendary attention to detail and high-octane practices. Also a former sports psychology professor, Nater delves into how each of us can apply Wooden’s philosophy to our own lives. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
50:17
January 19, 2021
Andy Harris
Episode 16 of The Mental Game Podcast features performance coach, author and speaker Andy Harris.  Harris wrote Leading From the Back and works with an eclectic mix of clients, including college baseball teams and college basketball referees. In the podcast, Harris delves deep into his fascinating work with basketball officials, lending insight into how he coaches them on dealing with incessant booing and occasional missed calls. Harris also coaches us on his visualization and goal-setting techniques. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
41:18
January 15, 2021
Ray Ray McElrathbey
Episode 15 of The Mental Game Podcast features Ray Ray McElrathbey, a former Clemson football player who is portrayed in the new Disney film, Safety.  Safety tells the powerful story of Ray Ray and his brother-turned-son, Fahmarr. With Fahmarr in jeopardy of entering foster care, an 18-year-old Ray Ray took custody of his then-brother, who moved into his dorm room at Clemson. Ray Ray, who became Fahmarr’s legal guardian, battled through myriad obstacles (including fighting NCAA violations) to raise Fahmarr. On the podcast, McElrathbey reflects on the lightning-quick maturation process he underwent while raising Fahmarr in college. He also details how he managed his own mental health and expounds on his present-day mission, including helping other former athletes to transition into life after sports. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
54:04
January 05, 2021
Dr. Rob Bell
Episode 14 of The Mental Game Podcast features mental toughness coach Dr. Rob Bell. Bell has coached PGA Tour champions, an Olympic medalist, a USTA National Champion, plus other professional and college athletes. He’s also caddied over 20 events on the PGA Tour and has penned seven books on mental toughness.  Bell also battled life-threatening injuries to become an Ironman athlete. He’s currently training to run 100 miles in the fall.  On the final episode of 2020, Bell details how falling off an 80-foot cliff changed his life, describes the magic of mental toughness and applies his philosophy to hot-button topics in sports today. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
44:03
December 31, 2020
John Walsh
Episode 13 of The Mental Game Podcast features longtime NBA and MLB producer John Walsh. Walsh is currently the television director for the Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Brewers and most recently served as producer for both the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Cubs.  In his packed career, he has worked for the Los Angeles Raiders, the NFL on FOX (on John Madden’s crew), FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports Wisconsin, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, NBC Sports Chicago, FOX Sports 1 and the Big Ten Network. Walsh also operates his own sports production company to produce amateur sports. Walsh co-hosts and produces the “Gimme the Hot Sauce” podcast with Stacey King and Mark Schanowski, as well. In this episode, Walsh discusses the myriad lessons he’s learned from the TV truck, in which rapid communication and level-headedness reign supreme. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
50:41
December 07, 2020
Hannah Huesman
Episode 12 of The Mental Game Podcast brings Hannah Huesman to the show. Huesman is a mental skills coach for the Philadelphia Phillies and the host of #MentalSweatMonday on her Instagram page, @hannahhuesman. She was recently named No. 2 on LinkedIn’s list of “Top 10 Voices in Sports” for 2020. On the podcast, Huesman breaks down her role training the minds of Phillies players, practicing the crucial skill of listening and encourages us all to add an “optimistic cherry on top” of our days. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
45:15
December 01, 2020
Abbie Wolf
Episode 11 of The Mental Game Podcast features Abbie Wolf, a former Northwestern women’s basketball player now playing professionally in Spain for Club Deportivo Zamarat. Wolf recently penned a touching and cogent essay in The Daily Northwestern outlining her mental health journey throughout college (linked here). In this episode, Wolf discusses her battle with performance anxiety, the value of meditation and why she decided to publish a first-person essay. She also reflects on the 2017 suicide of teammate Jordan Hankins and describes the profound reverberations of that tragedy. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
43:26
November 23, 2020
Butch Hobson
For Episode 10 of The Mental Game podcast, 46-year professional baseball veteran Butch Hobson joins the show.  Hobson played seven seasons in Major League Baseball for the Boston Red Sox, California Angels and New York Yankees. In 1978, Hobson set a then-Red Sox record for home runs by a third baseman, with 30. He also managed the Red Sox from 1992-94 and has been a manager in Minor League Baseball and Independent ball since, including for the past three seasons with the Chicago Dogs in Rosemont, Illinois (where I have broadcasted for two years). Before reaching professional baseball, Hobson played for legendary coach Bear Bryant as a quarterback at the University of Alabama. In an extensive conversation, Hobson dives into the psychological side of baseball, lessons learned from Bear Bryant and the challenge — and joy — of managing his own son, K.C. Hobson. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
40:22
November 16, 2020
Dr. Megan Roche
Episode 9 of The Mental Game podcast features Dr. Megan Roche, who is a lot of things. Roche not only is a medical doctor and PhD student in Epidemiology at Stanford University, but she is also a national-champion Trail Runner who was named the 2016 U.S. Trail Runner of the Year. Roche recently co-authored a Stanford study that delved into the severe mental health impact COVID-19 has wreaked on athletes. On the podcast, Roche analyzes the study and its impacts, previews how athletes can adjust post-COVID-19 and gives us some tips on how to navigate the pandemic (hint: wear a mask). The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
41:09
November 09, 2020
Dr. Harold Shinitzky
Episode 8 of The Mental Game podcast is with world-renowned sports psychologist Dr. Harold Shinitzky. Shinitzky works with Olympic and professional athletes from every major association (PGA, NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL), in addition to top junior and collegiate athletes. He also serves as president of the Florida Psychological Association and is the author of A Champion's Mindset: 15 Mental Conditioning Steps to Becoming a Champion Athlete. In an engaging discussion, Dr. Shinitzky breaks down mental toughness, explains why stress isn’t real and dishes out the secret to effective trash talk. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
54:52
November 02, 2020
Coby Karl
Episode 7 of The Mental Game podcast features South Bay Lakers Head Coach Coby Karl. Karl is the son of 2013 NBA Coach of the Year George Karl and played in the NBA, most notably during the 2007-08 season with the Los Angeles Lakers. During that season, Karl soaked up knowledge from all-time greats like Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson. Now in his fifth season as the head coach of the Lakers’ G-League affiliate, Karl is paving his own path in coaching, using many of the techniques he picked up during his playing career and from his father. In this episode, we dive into those methods, reminisce on Karl’s stint with the Lakers and touch on what made Kobe Bryant so extraordinary. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
35:33
October 23, 2020
Sean Quinn
For Episode 6 of The Mental Game Podcast, Sean Quinn joins host Sam Brief. Quinn is a Mental Conditioning Consultant with the Moawad Consulting Group who boasts thousands of hours coaching professional athletes in baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis and golf world as well as top corporate executives.  Quinn takes us through the mental conditioning approach his company employs, which has guided elite athletes such as Russell Wilson and coaches like Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher. He also explains how these coaching techniques can not only help an NFL quarterback come back to win a Super Bowl, but also to help you in your day-to-day life. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
38:23
October 15, 2020
Adam Amin: Part 2
Episode 5 of The Mental Game Podcast features part 2 of a conversation with Adam Amin of FOX Sports the Chicago Bulls. In this installment, Amin expounds on the special relationship he had with his father, Mohammed, who immigrated to suburban Chicago from Korachi, Pakistan in 1978. Mohammed passed away in March 2018, while Amin was in the midst of his typically stacked broadcasting schedule. Amin reflects on his father’s passing and how he processed it, while also touching on the lasting mental health lessons he’s picked up on the way. In case you missed part 1: ESPN hired Amin in 2011, after the 24-year-old graduated from Valparaiso University and spent a few seasons in Independent Professional Baseball and as the Sports Director KUOO, a radio station in Spirit Lake, Iowa, among other gigs. At ESPN, Amin called college football and basketball games on TV, while also broadcasting NFL and MLB games on ESPN Radio. In 2018, he added the NCAA Women’s Final Four and preseason Chicago Bears games to his resume. Now in his first season with FOX, Amin is an NFL and MLB play-by-play broadcaster. His hometown Chicago Bulls (Amin grew up in suburban Chicago) hired him in June as the team’s new TV play-by-play voice. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
41:27
October 09, 2020
Adam Amin: Part 1
Adam Amin of FOX Sports and the Chicago Bulls joins Episode 4 of The Mental Game Podcast, which is split into two parts. In part 1, Amin delves into… How he mentally prepares and focuses for broadcasts The unparalleled value of adjustments His emotions before, during and after calling Notre Dame star Arike Ogunbowale's game-winning shots in the 2018 Final Four against both UConn and Mississippi State. ESPN hired Amin in 2011, after the 24-year-old graduated from Valparaiso University and spent a few seasons in Independent Professional Baseball and as the Sports Director KUOO, a radio station in Spirit Lake, Iowa. At ESPN, Amin called college football and basketball games on TV, while also broadcasting NFL and MLB games on ESPN Radio. In 2018, he added the NCAA Women’s Final Four and preseason Chicago Bears games to his growing résumé. Now in his rookie season with FOX, Amin serves an NFL and MLB play-by-play broadcaster. His hometown Chicago Bulls (Amin grew up in suburban Chicago) hired him in June as the team’s new TV play-by-play voice. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
32:55
October 05, 2020
David Mullins
Episode 3 of The Mental Game Podcast features Ireland-Based Sports Psychology Consultant David Mullins. In the past decade, Mullins has primarily consulted with mixed martial arts fighters, including multiple UFC champions such as the "Notorious" Conor McGregor. In recent years, he has also worked with pro athletes and coaches in basketball, baseball, football and soccer. In this episode, Mullins reflects on his work with McGregor and shares his process for prepping an elite fighter for a high-pressure bout. Mullins also expounds on the over-hyped nature of visualization exercises, compares mixed martial arts fighters to other athletes and even weighs in on the Chicago Bears quarterback situation. The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
51:25
September 29, 2020
Reggie Hearn
Episode 2 of The Mental Game features seventh-year basketball pro Reggie Hearn. Out of high school, Hearn received no Division I scholarship offers, so he joined the Northwestern University basketball team as a walk-on. Four years later, he left Evanston as the team’s leading scorer. Then in 2018, after four G-League seasons, Hearn broke through and made it to the NBA with the Detroit Pistons. He’s since been grinding it out in the G-League, hoping for another shot while also competing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.  Hearn is strikingly transparent about his mental health struggles. Once a Psychology major at Northwestern, he also advocates for more mental health awareness and advocacy in sports and the world at-large.  In this episode, Hearn first reflects on his last few months amid COVID-19 (3:28). He then discusses how anxiety has affected his basketball career and his life (5:02).  Hearn explains his how mindset changed after making it to the NBA in 2018 (19:40). He then expounds on memories of his time competing with Team USA, where he met LeBron James, Anthony Davis and others (23:50). Finally, Hearn shares parting thoughts on his journey with mental health and what others can glean from it (28:06).  The Mental Game podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.
35:06
September 21, 2020
Casey Crosby
Episode 1 of The Mental Game highlights Casey Crosby, who has spent 11 seasons pitching in professional baseball, including a short stint in 2012 with the Detroit Tigers. Crosby breaks down the unique psychological hurdles of pitching and how he navigated them early in his career (5:15). Then, he discusses Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott being open about his struggles with depression and relates it to his own mental health history (14:20). Crosby takes us inside the whirlwind of emotions he felt prior to his MLB debut against the New York Yankees (23:35), and his subsequent demotion and release (27:55). He reflects on pitching amidst the COVID-19 pandemic (32:28). Finally, Crosby previews his next steps (39:37). Here’s a link to Our Brave Faces, a stigma-breaking organization run by Haley Crosby, Casey’s wife: https://www.ourbravefaces.com This podcast is produced by Sam Brief and music is courtesy of David Brief and Channel J. You can subscribe to The Mental Game on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
42:27
September 16, 2020