Episode 15: Ryan Bailey – 4X Olympic Water Polo – Calm Intensity
In this episode, we are joined by USA water polo hall of famer, Ryan Bailey. Ryan shares his water polo story from beginning as a young kid brother and son to his athletically involved family to deciding he wanted to become an Olympic athlete. His experiences with his college coach at UC Irvine who showed unconditional support and love as well as his journey around the world of water polo come out in this interview. Coaches and athletes are sure to learn a lot about what a great team athlete thinks and how he thrives.
Links to learn more about Ryan:
Episode 14: Damon Chase – Helix High School Athletic Director and Grade Level Principal – “It’s our goal to win, but it’s not our purpose.”
In this episode, we sit down with Helix high school’s athletic director and grade level principal, Damon Chase. Damon’s story is remarkable. He actually attended Helix high school and pitched for their baseball team before ultimately becoming their athletic director and grade level principal. He continued to pitch until two shoulder surgeries eventually took their toll. His plan was to then become a physical therapist until a pivot occurred and Damon became the school’s athletic director. He found his purpose and made it his mission to implement transformational coaching and make an impact on students and the community. Now more than ever youth sports need a voice of the “how” we win. Damon and Helix high school cemented this commitment by partnering with NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illnesses) and an initiative through CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) to perform a mental health risk assessment for their athletes. Damon is here to help and inform.
Connect with Damon and Helix High School Athletics at:
Episode 13: Ashley Polcovich – Injury Recovery Women’s Basketball – Working toward Acceptance – “This too shall pass”
In this episode, Brian explores the story of Ashley Polcovich. Ashley is now a mental coach and trained physical therapy assistant however she is still working toward acceptance of the athletic career changing path she faced through her injury recovery process. Having endured 5 surgeries in a 3 year span, her mental health challenges as an athlete seeking to hold onto the most important pieces of her self-identity are revealed in this interview. This is very relatable to the community of athletes who feel they have lost the opportunities to play and compete in their sport due to circumstances out of their control.
Connect with Ashley on social media:
Episode 12: Rod Laver – Tennis Hall of Fame Legend – Persistent Competitor with a Learning Curve
In this episode, Brian speaks with tennis hall of fame legend Rod Laver. Rod explores his history in tennis as one of the pioneers of the open era. He is the only player to have won the illustrious grand slam of tennis two times in his career. In this interview, Rod shares how he started his career as a junior leaving his homeland Australia at the age of 17 to compete in Wimbledon and how it progressed to amateur and professional status. He also expands on his mental approach to competing every point and using a steep learning curve to trust himself, his coaches, and what he could achieve.
Follow Rod and learn more about the Laver Cup:
Episode 11: Arik Sikula – Professional Baseball Pitcher – Mental Strategies of a Closer
In this episode, Ami sits down with professional baseball pitcher Arik Sikula to discuss the mental game of pitching as a closer. Arik graduated from Marshall University where he was the first pitcher at Marshall to be named to the First Team All-Conference USA. After college Arik was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. He had a stint with the Blue Jays. Arik played in the Atlantic Professional baseball league. Arik shares the secrets of his mental skills as a pitcher. He used his sense of smell to help calm his nerves in big moments on the mound. After losing his love of the game he took a break, but baseball came calling and he returned. Arik has played baseball all over the world including Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Australia, and Canada. His passion eventually landed him working for baseball jobs overseas.
You can follow Arik’s journey on:
Episode 10: Brooke Maxson – UCLA Women’s Water Polo Athlete – Turning Pressure Into Power
In this episode, UCLA women’s water polo athlete, Brooke Maxson, shares many of the mental training strategies and tools she has developed through her playing career. Expect to learn about how she understands nerves and low confidence as opportunities to turn pressure into power. Brooke also highlights other mental training areas such as motivation during the Covid-19 pandemic, performance routines, and connection with teammates.
You can follow Brooke’s journey at:
Episode 9: Derek Olsen – Pro Beach Volleyball Athlete and Coach – Authentic Confidence and Love of Process
In this episode of the WellU Mental Training podcast, Derek Olsen shares his experiences as a professional beach volleyball player and his transition to coaching at UC Berkeley. His pursuit of the “main draw” and love of the process of training on and off the sand explain what it takes to persevere. There are a ton of mental training nuggets you are going to be able to use in your own sport experience. Listen in!
You can also follow Derek and connect with him on:
Episode 8: Michael Chadwick – USA World Champion Swimmer and 2021 Olympic Hopeful – Success Doesn’t Have a Look!
In this episode, Brian is joined by 2021 Olympic Games hopeful Michael Chadwick. Michael explores what he has learned about himself and his ability to find balance in the intense US Olympic swimming culture. He offers a tremendous amount of insight for other athletes pursuing success in their sporting endeavors. Listen in for the mental nuggets and final take-always he shares from his growth through success and failure.
You can also follow Michael and connect with him on:
Episode 7: Gavin Arroyo – Olympian, USA National Team Asst. and Long Beach State University head water polo coach – Mentored Olympic Guidance
In this episode, we learn from our first coach on the podcast. Gavin Arroyo shares with Brian the lessons he learned about mentality, time management, and goal setting from his mentors growing up in a competitive swimming club and then advancing through his career as a collegiate swimmer and water polo athlete. He also shared how he made the decision to transition to specializing in water polo and pursuing the USA Olympic team . His self-awareness during cultural experiences playing abroad in professional European water polo leagues has truly given him perspective as he works with other young aspiring athletes looking to find themselves too. There are so many mental training tools and nuggets in this episode that you are going to want to listen to it multiple times. Finally, as a division 1 collegiate coach at Long Beach State University he shares his unique advice for athletes and parents exploring the right match for their collegiate experience.
You can also. connect with Coach Gavin at the links below:
Episode 6: Kadee Sylla – NCAA DI Rower – Discovering New Parts of Your Self
In this episode, Ami interviews Kadee Sylla, an NCAA D1 rowing athlete and national team member. Discover how Kadee found a new part of herself through her sport experience. Amazingly, she became a top recruit out of high school after having not been an athlete before recruitment into the rowing team. From there her hard work and mental health process has directed her toward incredible achievements. Listen in!
You can also connect with Kadee at the links below:
Episode 5: Korey Lee – Pro Baseball Player – Elite Level Inner Dialogue
In this episode, Korey Lee, a professional baseball player in the Houston Astros organization, shares his story about the rise he made through the ranks to the professional level. He was drafted as the 32nd pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft in the first round during his junior year at UC Berkeley. In the interview, Korey shares some of his mental cues while playing the game that makes him happy and how his curiosity and support from family and friends has continued to help him improve. This is a fantastic interview for all athletes and coaches hoping to learn more about the mental game of an elite level athlete!
You can also connect with Korey at the links below:
Check out this video being introduced with the Houston Astros:
Episode 4: Tim Harrison – NCAA D1 Basketball Athlete – Community Leadership Grounded in Confidence – In The Rough
In this episode, Ami Strutin-Belinoff interviews collegiate basketball player Tim Harrison. At the time of the interview, Tim was in the middle of his senior season at Rice University. He is not only competing on the court but also a leader in community organizations on campus for African American male athletes, a performing artist, and aspiring author. As you listen in, you are treated to the values that shape his leadership in organizations as well as how he is grounded in confidence in himself through his own self-awareness practices. As a bonus, Tim has shared his track “In The Rough” with all of us! Check it out!
You can also connect with Tim and listen to more of his music at the links below:
Episode 3: Ron Smith – Collegiate Football Student Athlete – Principles and Awareness of Self
In this episode, we dive into Ron Smith’s journey on becoming a San Diego State University cornerback and how his approach in sport has led him to the life he lives now. Growing up as a multisport athlete, Ron loved the sense of community and family that sport brought. His father taught him the importance of motivation and persistence in order to excel and achieve his goals both in football and academics. Crushing the stereotypes of football players, Ron has become a three-time scholar athlete and earned the President’s Award for high athletic and high academic excellence. Ron is now a PE Teacher, Athletic Director, and Football Coach and passes on his values and principles of the importance of community in sport.
Book referenced in the interview:
You can also connect with Ron in the link below:
Episode 2: Dr. Russ Reinbolt – Ultra Marathon Runner – Motivated on a Mission
In this episode, Dr. Russ Reinbolt shares what drives him in his pursuit of the perfect “unbreakable” ultra marathon race. Discover the importance of athletic motivation from a deep intrinsic level that inspires this ER doctor to pursue extreme success.
You can also follow Dr. Reinbolt’s story in the links below:
Photo courtesy of Scott Rokis Photography
Episode 1: Kamila Tan – Beach Volleyball Athlete – Resilience Through An Eating Disorder
In episode 1, we dive into the compelling story of Kamila Tan and her courageous journey of competing at the collegiate and pro level, as she grapples with an eating disorder that brings her love and passion of beach volleyball to a life and death situation.
You can also follow Kamila’s story in the links below: