May 19, 2022

Mental Fitness with Brad Miller, Founder of Soccer Resilience and Clinical Psychologist

Mental Fitness with Brad Miller, Founder of Soccer Resilience and Clinical Psychologist

In Episode 82, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Brad Miller, Founder of Soccer Resilience, Clinical Psychologist, and former Wake Forest soccer player, talks with Phil and Paul about Soccer Resilience’s growth over the past year, preventing...

In Episode 82, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Brad Miller, Founder of Soccer Resilience, Clinical Psychologist, and former Wake Forest soccer player, talks with Phil and Paul about Soccer Resilience’s growth over the past year, preventing and caring for mental health issues, Sports Psychologists vs. Counselors, navigating the coach/sports pysch/counselor relationship, identifying and understanding mental health issues and their root causes, and navigating mental health issues coming out of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Specifically, Brad discusses:


  • An update on Soccer Resilience since the last time we talked in Episode 19 (2:45)
  • His personal why/life purpose and how he is living it out every day (5:10)
  • How players who don’t have the ability to take months off can properly take care of their mental health (10:00)
  • Preventative measures we can use to help our kids mitigate against mental health issues (15:40)
  • Sports Psychologists and Counselors, who they are, why we need both, and how we can use each of them (21:09)
  • How to nurture healthy Coach-Sports Psych/Counselor relationships (25:17)
  • How to deal with coaches who don’t believe that mental health issues are legitimate (28:56)
  • How to find and address root issues causing mental health issues when our kids and players might not even know the root causes exist (32:25)
  • Ways that coaches can check in with their players to ensure they are on top of mental health struggles (38:49)
  • How coaches can learn to identify and understand mental health issues in their players (44:34)
  • How we can navigate mental health issues coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic (49:43)
  • Brad’s book recommendations (56:08)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thanks again for being a part of this show today, we have a very exciting moment in the history of How Soccer Explains Leadership. Paul Jobson, my brother in arms, my co-host is finally, finally doing an interview with me and we get to have one of my favorite guests.

No, I don't say that about everybody. We had him on episode 19. We've got Brad Miller with us too, but before we get to Brad, who's an amazing clinical psychologist. He is also one of the founders of Soccer Resilience. We're going to talk about what that's been, you know, soccer, resilience has been going on since the last time we talked with Brad, but Paul man, are you just, are you like jumping out of your shoes right now with excitement?

Because this is just an amazing day for you?

[00:00:45] Paul: I'm stoked. I mean, I've taken my shoes off because I was worried I was going to jump out of them. So I just took my shoes off. This is run a podcast. Nobody will know the difference anyway, but now I'm super stoked. Obviously you've had since our, since you first did your first interview with Brad back in episode [00:01:00] 19 obviously Brad and I had a chance to catch up when I was coaching at Baylor and had a great conversation there.

Enjoyed getting to know him a bit and excited just for the three of us to kind of chat through some things that are going on in our. Especially our soccer world specifically right now on the podcast. I'm just excited. I'm excited to be here with you, Phil and doing this kind of in tandem here with you, buddy.

[00:01:19] Phil: Yeah. There'll be a lot of fun. So, you know, unfortunately we are, we are going to be talking about all fortunately, but unfortunately the reason we have to talk about all these mental health issues that are going on in our world, unfortunately they're not getting any better. In fact, it appears, they're getting worse in a lot of ways.

And a lot of people in a there's just so much going on. So we're gonna be talking about that. It is mental health awareness month as we not as we record, but when we release it will be. So just something we wanted to get Brad back on and be able to talk about some really important topics. So that's what we're going to do now, Brad, how are you doing.

[00:01:52] Brad: I'm really good. Great to be with you guys. Back again.

[00:01:55] Phil: Yeah, no kidding man. No kidding. It's so cool. We've had some really good conversations since the last time [00:02:00] we talked, but I was able to do the mental health summit with you and your friends at soccer resilience. And folks, if you want to go and learn all about Brad and to hear his story and hear all that background that we normally get to do, you can go back to that episode 19.

I encourage you to do so because there's so much good stuff in there. It's one of the most you know, referred to, I think, yeah, I think we even recast it as one of our, our most downloaded episodes because it was very, very powerful stuff, but for now, you know, what's, what's been going on since then.

Soccer resilience. Tell me about that a lot. It's kind of, I mean, I'd say blown up in a, in a good way. And there's just so many cool things going on. Cause you can share some of that.

[00:02:35] Brad: Yeah, thanks. So, so, gosh, it's been last time we talked, you know, that we discontinued. We really, really fortunate to have connected with more and more like-minded individuals.

Our ambassadors has really grown a lot of current pros in NWSL and MLS. Some retired players, retired coaches, and just a really, you know, strong group that really wants to help us in our mission. Our mission soccer resilience is to train the most underutilized [00:03:00] competitive edge in sports, the mind to really elevate the mindset and the wellbeing of the players, coaches people in the game.

We've just been so fortunate. We've had some really great partnerships now that we've linked with people making a really big impact in, in many ways we've you know, grown more in the college game and some of the pro game and, and more and more youth clubs all over the country. And it's been so satisfying to really find a lot of people who really want to invest in the mental fitness and wellness of their players.

And so we've come to a really, really great way. The last, you know, five or six months really kind of honed in on how do we holistically. The players and there's so much focus on just the players, but we really now are working a lot more with coaches and parents. We have those youth clubs in high school clubs together and in college that the coaches and the players, and really helping them all get the same information to absorb it.

Apply. And go to the next one. We have Soccer Resilience Online Academy. That's a really great way when we do a mental training session. Now we'll talk about issues and we'll talk about, [00:04:00] you know, sort of how to implement this, why it's so important, really, to be engaging in kind of fun and over zoom can be a challenge, right?

But we've gotten really good at kind of doing that. We have different pros who come and talk about their experiences, and then we have this sort of mental fitness plan that they can do using our online academy in between those sessions. And it's really, really helped make an impact. And as things we're going to talk about today, just, you know, the mental health crisis rent, especially with youth players, college players and just so, so needed to help them navigate not just the challenges on the field, but really off the field.

And that's a big, big part of us in one of our core values where I'm sure it was to, this is kind of just more than an athlete and better together, but we want to help those players kind of help them off the field as.

[00:04:40] Phil: Yeah, absolutely man. And so one of the things I didn't get to talk to you about last time and I, I do, we've started asking a lot of, you talked about the purpose and the mission of soccer resilience, but just to hear from you, like what, what is your, why what's your purpose?

What's your purpose statement or what's your, why, why do you do what you do and how are you living that out every day?

[00:04:59] Brad: Yeah. [00:05:00] So, you know, I talked about kinda that first podcast may just, the brief is before I became a psychologist, I was a soccer player played at wake forest. I was a local kid, so it was a real dream come true for me.

I was the. Blue collar defender was not technically, you know, Paul Paul saw me. He'd be like, why is this guy here? Right. Cause I was like, probably recruit you, Brad.

[00:05:18] Paul: I like the non-technical hard-nose blue car defenders. So we're on the same

[00:05:22] Brad: page there, but yeah. Alright. Alright. So, you know, sad, a lot of work to do.

And I was really writing, I grind in the gut, you know, more and more playing time as things went on. But I had performance anxiety for the first time in my life and I didn't really know what to do with it. I never had it. I was a really competent youth player. I didn't worry about playing time. And I just, all of a sudden just got hide.

I worry about mistakes a lot. I was in my head a lot. Just, I mean, everything felt like it was crucial. Every passing drill, every one-on-one, I'd always look over to the coach, see that good thing, or hopefully not to that bad thing. And I would just overthink things. He wouldn't, things went well. I would just be stuck in the negative and I was embarrassed and ashamed.

I felt weak and soft for [00:06:00] having that performance anxiety. I didn't tell anybody and I could grind, so I'd push it away, but it always came back and I never really talked to anybody and it totally affected my joy at times, performance and confidence. And you know, when we came to psychologist, I just really wanted to help you players not go through what I did and learning all the tools and strategies that players can learn that can really make an impact that aren't really difficult to learn.

It just takes that consistency. And so that's really my passion. I mean, I was actually talking to Wells Thompson, one of our founders, and I said, you know, if we stopped soccer resilience today, I would be. Sad because there's so many people who need this information and I would feel like we didn't reach the people we could.

So I, I do. I mean, like, it, it pains me to think of the players who are going through all these struggles. They don't have the tools. And so we have a, just a nice way where sometimes a lot of teams, I don't want to go talk to a counselor college players out and talk to counter approach and we can give them information that can give them a lot of resources [00:07:00] tool though, the sense of community around it.

So it's not just you, we all have these struggles, how can we all work together? And that's really my, why is I don't want people to go through what I went through and I'll tell you guys, truthfully, I've beat myself up over it for a long time. And it wasn't really until about three or four years ago where I think something really, really clicked for me and really when soccer is and started, and I just went, you know what?

This, this pain is my passion. Like if I didn't have this, I wouldn't be so invested in talking to players and talking to teams and, and reaching more people. But, but it was those struggles. It really empowered me because, you know, when I hear kids go, Hey, I can relate to you yet. I'm that person. I struggle with that too.

And then they can take these tools. It's just so satisfying for me. So, it's just really taken that pain and turn to purpose. And that's, that's my Y

[00:07:45] Paul: yeah, that's also, I think that pain, the purpose thing is, is you see a lot of very successful. I don't mean successful financially, but you see people just really thriving in their, their lives and they take pain and turn it into purpose. I think I've just coming through the Easter season. I think that was kind of a theme through Easter, [00:08:00] as well as pain to purpose, but not to lock into that.

So, you know, we talked a little bit about, you know, Carrie Ricardo and how she kind of established some things through the NWSL of creating some time where she had to take some mental time, mental milk, wellness, time off, and how she kinda had to fight for it. That was a fight, but had they kind of.

Make the legal where like, Hey, you know, people take time off for injuries. Are we able to take time off for, for mental health? And I thought that was a really great fight for her to stand in on. And it probably, maybe didn't go as quickly in her mind is maybe we think it did because it, there was a need there for that.

Right. If somebody were to have an ankle injury or a knee injury, they're going to have time off, but why we don't take care of the same thing on the mental side of things is a problem. But you run into the idea of what about the folks who cannot afford to take that time off, you know, even if it's professional or collegiately, you know, anytime you take time off as an athlete, there's an opportunity for somebody else to step into your position, right?

Whether it's a physical injury or, or mental health need or [00:09:00] whatever it is, there's some real things that play into that, that even though you're taking some time off, that you actually, you really, really need for yourself, it really could set you back in some, some ways to, I wanna, I wanna knock that out with you a little bit, Brad, because.

As a coach, you know, I've heard even stories of players say, man, you know, my coach put it a desperate because I had to take some time off for mental health. Well, it's nothing against the player. It's just, now you've got to come back and kind of earn your way back into the team. Again, you've taken some time off whether that's a knee injury or mental health, those things are real, real needs and time that has to be taken.

How do we kind of navigate that as, as coaches or even as player, maybe there's two different areas to navigate here as players and coaches, one addressing the need that is an actual need, but people need to be able to do that. But how do we do that for players that maybe don't have the ability to take, take that time off or won't get paid for that time off?

Or how do we kind of navigate all that.

[00:09:50] Brad: Yeah. So, so I think maybe for those, youth players and collegiate players, so that may maybe different as far as, the pro players with the financial pieces, [00:10:00] certainly a lot of overlap, but you bring up a great point and I think it's really important that, players are aware of all of this sort of pros and cons of any choice.

And that is going to be one of the realities is that by taking some time off on your game, right? That immediately, you may, you know, if you're not playing, obviously somebody else steps in, perhaps they do that really well. Perhaps they get a chemistry and a rhythm, and now you really are going to struggle to work your way back in.

So I think that it really is important and I like how you equated it to a physical injury. I mean, there's players all the time who you can see they've got these nagging injuries and they're like, no, no, no, no, no. I can't afford to step out of there because my pro player financially, or I am a youth player college player, I don't want to lose my spot, my opportunity.

And sometimes it's where the adults around them are named adults who just sort of coaches, peers, people kind of say, look, we believe, that you are a person first and who you are as human being that comes first. And right now with your mental health, what's going on. That is your number one thing that's happening to [00:11:00] you.

And so we want to take care of you as a person, and yes, there are some of those concerns, right? About the airplane time and your status and your role what's going to happen. if you continue this way, though, we both can pretty predict that it's going to really affect you, not just in your life and your wellbeing and your mental health and even your performance too.

So let's take a step back. Here's an opportunity if needed or an opportunity to do. And we can really help you get whole again, get better. And when you come back, you're going to have better focus. You can be more fresh, you're going to be more engaged and you're going to really have a better chance to perform better.

So some athletes really need that link between that mental health and mental fitness and their performance. You know, as we know right, that we can have all the technical tactical training, the physical fitness, we are sharp, ready to go. And if we're emotionally dysregulated, hijack, depression, anxiety, we are not going to be able to perform and have those skills show.

So I think really making that connection for them. And, you know, then when they, you know, kind of work through the things that they're working through, some players decide I'm going to [00:12:00] just not really come back, right. This is overall better for me. And some players want to come back. And so I think you know, that, that just, it's a journey they're going to be on, but equating for them.

But if they don't take these steps, they don't do these things. Sometimes it's, we've had other players in your position. And it can really, really have a long lasting link linking effect. So your time with me as a collegiate players limited, or your time as a youth, play your time as a pro is limited, but who you are as a person, right?

You, you know, that's always with you. We want to make sure that short up first, and then we kind of go back to performance and back what you can do now for a pro player. We know even collegiate players, just lots of people who are going to say, I'm not going to do it. And youth players college players, pro players are elite soccer players are great at compartmentalizing.

They're so good at it, right? It's a great skill to have you need that sometimes to block. Stress of school, different things. So I can really focus in, but they're so good at compartmentalizing Michael Phelps and his documentaries that I could get a gold medal and compartmentalizing. And the downside of those attitudes and [00:13:00] compartmentalize is, becomes their main way of coping sometimes.

And that's how they function. So you bring up a really great point, Paul. There's no simple answer, you know, a lot of things, it just depends. Right. And I think letting the athlete know that that is a risk they take and helping them understand that if they don't do that, what's it going to be like if they go into a really deep dark.

Right. What's that going to be like for them and having them talk to somebody to help them make that decision? I think that, seeing a therapist, talking to someone, someone they trust who can help me on the outside is not involved with soccer. And so, you know what, this is something to consider, but why don't you go and talk to a therapist, have some sessions, you sort that out, you look at pros and cons, so they can feel empowered.

Sometimes when people are like, Brad, you need to do this, go do it. I feel out of control, right? It's not my choice. So I think helping them have some responsibility in that is key and maybe an outside third person can help them sort that out. But I very much think it's important with know the realities of the situation, because if not, then when they start to notice it, then they're going to go to panic and stress, which is actually going to kind of do some set them back in their mental [00:14:00] health growth.

They're trying to help improve.

[00:14:02] Paul: Yeah, that's great. You know, as a, as a coach, I like comparing the physical piece of it to the mental health piece, because I think as a coach, it's easier, I'm more familiar with physical injuries, right? And as a coach coaches, what you navigate, you know, even as a player you're navigating, navigating and the mental health piece, it's kind of a newer, newer thing here that we're really learning and we really should be paying more attention to.

And I think as you get there's college aged kids and the professionals, especially it becomes a job to them. And it's harder to, it's harder to step away because you feel like it's going to be taken away. Your, your lifespan is shorter, right. As you get, you get older. So as we talked through that and some of the things you said, Hey, let's go talk to somebody.

Let's get familiar. I start thinking about. Preventative, right. Hey, we have a high, high incident of ACL's and female soccer. So what are we doing as coaches to prevent ACL injuries while we're doing, ACL preventative care, and we're teaching it to even high school kids and club kids that we're training, because that has become a really, really big problem.

Right? So [00:15:00] how do, how do we go back into and take this whole thing and rewind it back into, I know you're working with youth clubs and things like that. What are the things that you're doing in those environments to help the kids so that when they get to college and pro this it's not taboo, it's not like, oh my gosh.

Now I've got to deal with mental health. What does that even mean? I didn't want to talk to anybody about it. They're gonna think I'm crazy. How are you backing that up in the, the youth stages to help what I would call preventative medicine, so to speak? What are the things you're doing with those in those young ages to help navigate that for future process?

[00:15:30] Brad: Yeah. And I, and I love that too, right. That that's where we really want to try to go and catch people early. Just like you said, with ACL, you know, sort of prevention list is around those two that early, so we can really help prevent some of those things and make them less likely, or we can't prevent certain things and make them less likely when they become, you know, collegiate and pro players, or even later on in the high school, you know?

So, so a thing that we really do is that, you know, one is that at. Resources are really, really important, right? Helping information knowledge and those [00:16:00] things, and a sense of community around mental fitness and around mental health is really key too. And so we try to bring both of those elements together.

And what I mean by that is that sometimes people feel isolated with their mental health kind of more stressed and more down and more anxious and more irritable, have a hard time sort of like turning my brain off at night that a lot of times it's okay. Go and talk to someone individually, which is enormously helpful.

You have that privacy, confidentiality trust clinical psychologist. So I'm very much a big advocate. That's great. I also think that what we need is a sense of community. Around our mental fitness and our mental health. But when you're really normalized, that is something that we all have. We have physical health, we have mental health.

And so what we would do with soccer resilience is that we talk to these youth players to talk to you, the teams we work with, and we really normalize and say, guys, these are all things we have. We have physical health, we have mental health. And so we're going to have struggles and challenges, and there are certain things as elite athletes that help you Excel and do really, really well.

And there are other things that being elite athletes that perfectionism that [00:17:00] to really high standards expectations can really make things challenging. Everybody is going to struggle at different times and the key is not fearing them and dreading them, but to really have a plan and predict them, you know, so many times people like, you know, fill in so many nervous today.

I got a big test. I won't be nervous today, or the big name of somebody nervous today. And we turned that fear into something gigantic. So of course we ended up being afraid and then the anxiety goes through the roof. We're in threat mode. So really help them play or say, look, you're going to get nervous.

You're going to get worried. Whether it's a test, whether it's a game you're going to feel down at times, you're gonna experience times. You don't feel very good about yourself. These are all things that happen. So don't dread and fear that. But you want to predict them, but then have a plan how to manage them.

So we really give them that sort of understanding of the brain is that's about lasting that brain's negative bias. You know, 80% of our daily thoughts are negative. Our brain is wired to go the negative and the past, the present and future. So we're so much more prone to anxiety and depression. And so by letting them know and educate them and say, look, now, you know, this is a brain issue.

[00:18:00] You can take that energy use to spend beating yourself up and saying, why am I weak in SOC? And why do I, you know, get in my head too much? And you understand that how your brain is wired to function, but now we can give you tools to steer it and more helpful, healthy ways. And so then we come in and show them those skills and strategies.

And we talk about that. We have that online resource where they can go in and we give them sessions to follow videos, to watch it pros talking about those mental health struggles, what they've done to help them. And so we really make it more normalized. This is the thing you're all going to. You predicted you have a plan for it and it helps them be more settled.

I think that so many times kids think that when I start to worry or get down, something's wrong with me and I'm defective. So we really try to normalize that we give them those tools and strategies, but to people that they can relate to. Right. When you hear pros come out and talk about. You know, Paul Pogba, right.

To my, his depression. He struggled with it, man United, like those things are so powerful because kids are like, oh, if they go through that, then maybe it makes sense. I'm going to go through it too. So it's more about empowering them. This [00:19:00] is going to happen because mental health on the continuum, we all have anxiety and depression about our lives.

Sometimes it's significant enough where it really impacts. Our ability to like our relationships or job or school, our play. And other times it's just sort of like a low kind of moderate kind of an impact, but so we really just help them understand this is going to happen. We give them the tools to do it and have a sense of community around that, where they can talk about that.

And we approach sharing things so that they will open up. And when we find those teams that it's players can do, that has such a more powerful impact. And certainly Paul, as a college coach, I'm sure there's a lot of things you guys did where that unique opportunity where you with those players for a long period of time of their life.

But that's really, you know, to me, is that key is giving them information in a way that normalizes this, this is what you're going to go through, but here's the tools and strategies to help you. So they feel empowered and more in control and they know it's coming. Yeah,

[00:19:53] Paul: I like that a lot. I like it, especially that, that community of people and it kind of led me to think.

As [00:20:00] colleges, universities, and even probably youth clubs at this point. And I hope I hope they are trying to navigate some of the things. I think it's something great that, you know, soccer resilience is such a great tool for, for folks to kind of tap into, but as colleges and universities and even clubs are kind of trying to figure this piece out, help us navigate.

what are, What are the differences that we kind of try to navigate this difference between let's say like a sports psychology. And just a counselor, you know, so every college and university has a counseling department, right.

It's just, they just do and they showed and it's fantastic. And it should be there as a resource and a tool for all students as an athletic department. What's the difference between a sports psych and a counselor. And is there a need for both? Is one more important? The other, when should someone see one and one is one, should they see the other, you know what I mean?

Like as a coach trying to navigate that for your players, how do I differentiate? Like, Hey, you know what? You really should just go see a sports psych and this could really help you. Here's this community, blah, blah, blah. And you know what, here's the counseling department. Let's go talk to them. Oh, help me navigate that.

[00:20:59] Brad: Yeah, it's a [00:21:00] really, really good question. And so I think it's gonna depend on, you know, a couple of things is the background and experience of that, you know, sports psych person, and then have that counselor person. So, for example, I'm a clinical psychologist who specializes in sports psychology. So I can sort of do both of those things.

There's a really in my, in my specialties you know, people who are sort of certified mental performance coaches, they are very much focused on performance and they can help a little bit with the mental health too, but they're not really trained to kind of work with for depression and anxiety, relationship issues, substance abuse, other kinds of mental health issues.

So it really depends a lot on the background of that person. But if you have say a sports psychologist who is a true psychologist and got. You know, doctor and sports psychology, they're going to have some of that clinical training to where they can help navigate both those things because you and I know that no athlete only has challenges in performance, right?

You're going to have a big office field too. So it really depends on the credentials and the background, the training and the skill of that sports psychologist person. But what I often tell [00:22:00] people who come see me. Is, you know, especially when it comes to units where teenagers are college and especially men, I'll just say, look, I'm just gonna give you the sports psychology, special five sessions.

Let's go over all this stuff and, you know, I'll help you in your relationships and stuff too. And so I think that most people are more comfortable seeing a sports psychologist in a sense, because that feels kind of safer, less stigma, sadly, hopefully that does change with time. You know, they're really focusing on performance.

And so certainly that's going to address a lot of how to manage your emotion, how to sort of change your mindset, change your thinking. Self-awareness a lot of really, really important things that are gonna help you in the classroom and manage things outside of that when someone's really the main presenting issue is more about sort of like a clinical almost levels or depression or anxiety.

And the, and it's not so much a sport focus, performance focus, and that person feels like I kind of feel the performance piece is going okay. It's just my mental health. It's getting in the way of my performance. And that's when maybe you steer more towards the counselor and some people like that because they.

Feel there's so much pressure and [00:23:00] stress around their sport and soccer. So if I'm struggling as an athlete and they go, I want to go talk to someone it's not about soccer. You know what I mean? I want to go talk to somebody who's a counselor, psychologist, whatever it is, and deal with some other things.

And so it really just depends on the credentials and background experience with that person and what they're able to do because many people who are also counselors know about how to help you with performance, there's a tremendous amount of overlap. So just to answer that, Paul, it really kind of depends on the credentials, but I think what that person's looking for, you have to be very curious to hear you guys experienced the, my experiences, especially with men sports psychologist is a safer place to go.

And I think a lot of people feel like that's an okay place to start. And then that sports psychologists hopefully can say, there are certain things within my wheelhouse and there's certain things that aren't, if these things come up, then I'm going to refer you to someone who can better help you with that.

That can be a really nice way to sort of.

[00:23:53] Paul: Yeah, I think that that's been my experience. I think there's less hate to say less threatening. It's almost less threatening that it's a sports [00:24:00] psychologist. If that's just the phrase that you use and a lot of it's about words, right? Words are powerful and words could be heavy and titles can be as well.

But I think that sports psychologists. Title is a little, a little more friendly to us for sure. But what do you think that, and we can dive into a little bit more, but I just have one more question that goes in line with this, as we're talking about staffing and, you know, it's become very easy now.

It didn't always used to be easy for a head coach and a strength coach to get along and figure out what was best for their players and performance and injury prevention and things like that. What should that relationship be between a coach and whether it's a sports psychologist or a counselor when it comes to doing what's best for that athlete?

Obviously we're all trying to be in partnership to do what's best and get the best out of our athletes and get, you know, do what's best for them in the long, in the long run. And long-term what should that relationship be? And where is that balance for the clinical psychologist or for the sport? You know, whatever a counselor, what is that relationship?

What Should I not tell coaches how does that relationship work? It's a little bit more sensitive, I think, [00:25:00] than a, than a strength coach obviously, or an athletic trainer. How should that relationship work in a professional environment to find what's best for our athletes?

[00:25:07] Brad: Yeah, that's a great question. And so, you know, with, with, with psychologists, you know, that we have, you know, confidentiality, right? So there'll be that kind of like the discussion right up front about what's confidential. What's not. So I think that's really, really important that that's established with a player who comes in and in the coach is aware of that too, you know?

So in most cases you know, it's going to be a confidential relationship between if it's, you know, really going to be sort of done in that way between the player and the sports psychologist or counselor, and the player would advocate that the player communicate with the coach. Certainly the coach can say.

Here's some things I'm noticing, Hey, here's some concerns I have. Hey, here's some things I'm seeing what that sports psychologist shares back to the coach is something that just really needs to be set up from the beginning so that there can be communication three ways, as long as everybody knows what can happen.

Sometimes it can really be detrimental is the player thinks it's private [00:26:00] and confidential. All of it. And then the sports psychs talking to a coach and, you know, Paul, a really nice guy. And it's kinda like, well, you know, Sarah is really strong with some depression though. Her mom, lost your job and it's just, financial stress on the family.

And then now you're talking to her in a supportive way, like, you know, Hey, you know, I heard about your mom and hope it goes, okay. And now that player's like, okay, I'm not telling that's sports psych anything now. Right. So I think that just as long as it's, it's set up from the beginning you know, and, and so communication.

Maybe flow where a coach can share things, but the counselor sports, psych only shares things that the player really agrees. And what I always say is that if I'm going to share something, say if there's like a three, a person I'm working with is the player ideally we would all be three having a conversation together.

Right? So that information about shared, or I'd say, what do you want me to share specifically? What do you not want me to share? Okay, this is what I'm going to share. You comfortable with that? And I would tell the person, pregnancy is a coach. Hey coach. You know, Sarah said, it's okay to share this with you.

And so I can share this. And then you might ask me a bunch of questions that say, I'm sorry, I can't really answer much [00:27:00] more beyond that, but did want to, she didn't want me to pass this on to you. She didn't feel comfortable, but ideally empowering her or him to come and talk to their coach and share that information with them.

[00:27:09] Phil: Yeah. You know, and that actually made me think of something too, is when Paul was just talking about that, that relationship, because you know, with, let's say hypothetically, because this probably would never happen in reality. That sarcasm folks for all these other who don't know me well, but let's say like, you know, with the concussions, oftentimes in American football, especially soccer, I then foot in a global football.

I don't think it's as regular with concussions because it's usually more obvious when they don't have a helmet on, but they'll often say, oh, they're fine. We just, we need them for this game. So we're going to put them back out there. It's not right. It shouldn't happen, but does. So when it comes to this mental health, like concussions a lot easier to see their eyes are rolling back of their head.

They're they're wobbly, but oftentimes in mental health, it's not seen right. It's, it's under the surface. And so when you're coming to a coach and the player gives you the ability to do that and gives you permission and you say [00:28:00] to a coach, Hey, they're really having some mental health issues that if they go out there.

There's something happens in a game. Like it could, it could push them over the edge or whatever, you know, whatever that looks like. I don't know exactly what the conversation would look like. Have you, I mean, have you seen coaches or what do you know about that? As far as the response from coaches?

Because it's a lot of coaches I imagine would be like, well, they just got to get over it, you know? Cause this is an important game or these are important game stretch of games coming up. We talked about a little bit earlier in the context of you don't have the luxury of taking time off, but what if you, you know, you deem like they really need to, or else it's, it could be really detrimental to the big picture.

What does that look like in that conversation? Especially since it really is, some of this is really brand new to some of these coaches, some of them think it's a bunch of hogwash you know, and so what, what do you do with that?

[00:28:46] Brad: Yeah. You know, again, it really just would go back to you know, It's so important for someone who goes and talks with them, they know it's private and confidential, right?

That's such a rare relationship to have, or I can just tell you anything. And of course there's certain things that [00:29:00] maybe psychologists need to report, but I can really just tell you anything and it stays there. That's so freeing and so important, especially for college athletes or youth athletes or pro athletes.

And so again, you know, as a psychologist, unless they're really a danger to themselves or somebody else. I'm going to, you know, protect that confidentiality. I might Todd of course, talk to the player and just say, well, let's take a look at it. How are you doing? What do you think it would be like for you?

If you went on the field, I have to go, I have to go. I have to go. If I don't go coaches in place someone else and I'm gonna lose my spot, it be awful. Okay. So what happens if you choose to play? And then it goes this way. And so really again, I'm very much about empowering people to make those decisions for themselves.

And so if a player makes a poor choice and says, I have to go, I have to go. They're not really in a good mental place to do it. And then it doesn't go well for them. That's a lesson they're going to learn. That's a way to kind of come back and kind of talk about that. But in, you know, for me as a psychologist I, I'm not going to break confidentiality if you don't play, you know, that, [00:30:00] that, that person.

And then as far as, you know, if there's a different type of communication established, right, where the player says, I can talk to the coach freely, which is not really going to be typical, but let's just say it is, you know, then certainly. It's you know letting the coach know, Hey, they're in a really tough place.

They're so worried about their spot and the coach. Again, if they're like Paul and they're kind of on board, they can help have those conversations to maybe make them make a better decision. If a coach is not on board, it's like, you either play for me or you don't. I don't want to hear reasons why I've got three people waiting to jump in.

Then that's the coach. That's probably not going to be beneficial to share that information. And if they don't, they're not playing well, the coach will take them out and, and talk to that player after. So again, it's really just trying to empower the players, youth college pro to think things through, to try to make a good decision.

Like all of us, we make poor decisions sometimes and to learn from that. So that, that confidentiality piece that helps that player have a place to go. And the downside is it's sometimes information isn't going to get relayed that needs to, but that's part of that [00:31:00] learning process.

[00:31:00] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, and so a lot of what we've talked about, we'll go into what this next question I have for you.

And when we were talking before, when we were just talking about, Hey, what can we talk about on this, on this second interview, you share with me a, an article written by Mariah Lee. She's a graduate of Stanford. She played soccer at state. And it was in the wake of the tragic death of Katie Meyer and just all that's come out since then.

And one of the things she talked about, she was talking about, struggling with mental health issues herself. And she said, this quote really stuck out to me. And I want you to just kind of dig into it a little bit, but she says resources are great. And we've talked about a lot of resources on this show and in our, your last interview.

But she said, resources are great resources. However, can only do so much if the underlying issues aren't addressed. Having another resource at my disposal wouldn't have changed my calculus grade. Right. And I would say there's, there's root causes to why she cares so much about her calculus grade.

Right. So, so what do you, what do you do with that, [00:32:00] especially in the middle of a mental health, you know, issues and mental health crisis potentially. How do you go about addressing the root issues will finding the root issues first and then addressing the issues with, with people who may not have a clue there are even any root issues?

[00:32:15] Brad: Yeah. So, you know, just like with a physical injury, right? The first thing you want to do is get some stability and strength, right? So you can walk on it so you can work your way up. And then as you kind of maybe get out of your boot or you're doing some exercises and you kind of do that.

So if somebody is in a mental health crisis, they're really, really struggling. The first thing is just to help them get through the crisis, right. To help them find those tools and strategies to help them feel a little more control. Their emotion has got support around them. People who know and care about them are aware of what's going on.

They can kind of help. You know, I think in her article, which is great that, that it really got me to think as well, you know, that there's I in another really good article in the Harvard business review that came out and it just talked about how we view mental health. And there's a lot of benefits, right?

Because again, that one-on-one relation, go [00:33:00] talk to some. That's great. But a lot of times it's like, here, here's a comment for you, right? Here's a Headspace app. Go read this article, you know, or go do this. And if in isolation, that's what it is. Sometimes people are left affiliated. The more I feel defective because I shoveled my anxiety.

And so Paul and Phil were great. They told me to go get the calm app and Headspace app. But I'm feeling disconnected right. In my mental health. Sometimes it makes me feel kind of shame. Like what's wrong with me. I'm defective and kind of disconnected to a crucial part of really mental health is even just physical health is our connection to others.

We've done a lot of studies about the bed. If you have more connections to people that's seen as a better predictor of your longevity and health and sort of heart disease and lots of other things. So I think that, you know, Mariah, what I liked is that she and her article she talked about, I need to find a space outside of.

I felt like my value was how it performed in soccer, how it performed in the classroom, that those two things were struggling. I feel like I didn't really have value. She was like, so I learned that that's really more my role. It's not who I am. And so she joined a choir [00:34:00] and she felt connected and she felt accepted.

She was, I could just be, I didn't have to perform and be on and do things at high levels. I could just be me and people embrace me and they accepted me and I felt a sense of community. And that sense of community is so important for our mental health. So I think that what can be, you know, so again, resources are very, very important.

We need those access to that. In addition to that, if you have an environment, especially let's take our college environment, probably would be very curious to your thoughts, but if we have a college environment where, or maybe Paul, you know, for you in high school are filled with a high school. If we know that this is something we talk about, right.

That it's a discussion. That is the leadership council, the, the captain, if it's a. It would be amazing to have a coach lead from the front and say, Hey, mental health is a struggle. It's going to be something that affects all of us at times of our lives. It's already affected you guys that can affect you again.

And here's how it affected me as a player or maybe even off the field. And this is what I learned to help me. Do you have some of that leadership group, if they can kind [00:35:00] of do that and say, so you're going to have this. So we talk about that. We are people first and we're player second. So when we're struggling, we connect, we talk to each other, we help each other, and yes, sometimes we'll guide you towards those places.

The sports psych are kind of a counselor, but you've got a sense of community. If we feel like mental health is a sense of community, I don't feel that shame and isolation. I feel connected. If I can feel connected when I'm going through a struggle, it really has. Empowerments have big, big resiliency factor.

So I think that from my Miranda article, that that was what really helped her a sense of community. And in this case, it was off the field, right. A sense of community outside. And having that balance is crucial for players. We often think I've got to just make, everything's gotta be soccer, soccer, soccer, soccer, and to have an activity and things outside of it where I can just be, I can be myself.

I can be goofy. I can be funny. I can, whatever it is, no pressure to perform. That's so crucial. But if we can have a soccer community where a team has established that, we talk about mental fitness and you know, one way that I like to do that, is it, if we can have like a mental fitness [00:36:00] partner, somebody that we say, okay, you know, so Phil it'd be like you and me together.

All right. So every practice when things are just check in and say, Hey, Phil, are you at one to 10 mental fitness? I'm at like a three today. And you go, what? Brad, why is it not a one or two? Well, I would say about a growth mindset. They trying to learn from some of the mistakes I made. Okay. Well, what might help you get to a four?

You know, I think. Just really try to focus on the enjoyment to be in my teammates today, as we practicing that's going to help. Okay. So if there's like a daily type of a check-in, if there's sort of a way of where, you know, again some teams do this great thing. I know he comes with another long answer, but where they will literally have it's like this couple we talked to where every two weeks a player shares their journey.

This is who I am. This is my journey. And it includes things we, and it can be great to include sort of mental fitness, mental health as well, right? Where I've had some struggles where I've sort of gotten through some things, lessons I've learned things I wish I knew. And when we do that, that vulnerability allows more connection.

And then if another player comes and they share that, that this club was talking about, [00:37:00] once one person really opened up about their mental health struggles, it was amazing. The significant amount of those people who also had that. And it became kind of this thing. And they would put dates on times when things were really difficult for them.

And so like mine was in this year minus this year. So that sense of community is so crucial, but if we could do it in sport as well, to me, that would be enormously beneficial to them to say, you can still be valued as a part of this team and have mental health struggles at the same time.

[00:37:29] Phil: Yeah, absolutely.

And you know that what you were talking about there and what Mariah talked about in her article as well, was having relationships with adults. She says you can go through all of college and not have any relationship with adults. And one of the things that we talk a lot about, particularly in the church is the idea of, of identity and people speaking truth into you of, older, you know, elders, basically that aren't, your parents is so critical for the growth in understanding and knowing your identity. And so [00:38:00] to have that as something that is also another thing that is critical in relationship, people who know you and you're known by them, that's what people want is to be known and to be understood. And so to know people who care about you, who, who don't care, how you perform on the field, don't care, what your grades are.

They just love you for who you are. That's so critical, but Paul, I want to just hear from you too. Like, did you have anything with your team? I know now you're, you're like hanging out in retirement, but when you back, when you were coaching way back, when what, what did you have anything with your team that you guys did in this regard?

As far as like, those check-ins that Brad was just referring to or that, that coaches could maybe incorporate into what they're doing?

[00:38:39] Paul: I think that you know, Baylor was no four on the forefront or not, but I think the Baylor was doing their best to, to have. Counselors available that were sports psychologists.

And unfortunately there just weren't enough of them. You know, I think we had one at one point for all 430 athletes. It's just not, there's not enough. And then all of a sudden there was two, we just doubled our [00:39:00] counseling department, but there's still 430 athletes still, not enough. But I think what they did a good job of was going around to the coaches that were, you know, on board with it and trying to educate us coaches of how we can best navigate and how we can have somewhat of an inclusive environment with everybody.

Of course we were, we're navigating everything through those years of, you know, race relations and COVID and things that were pulling us apart where we actually, like, you're saying, Brad, we need community. We need to come more together during those times. And the same time we're battling, you know, Instagram lifestyle where everything kids are seeing in front of them is, is great and glorious and nobody has any problems and everybody's perfect, but I'm not that way.

So I must something must be wrong with me. So I think grading relationships with these places. Not just peer to peer, but even with, let's talk about it in the article, you know, it was almost sad to me that she's like, you know, the people that the adults I saw the most for my coaching staff and I didn't have an, I didn't have a relationship with them.

And so foreign to me that as a coach and player, that, [00:40:00] and that could just be a one-off, I'm sure that's not the deal with everybody, but I'm sure that players would get missed in the, in the shuffle of not having a relationship. But you hope you build a staff and we've talked about building staff fill or that hopefully there's someone on the staff that can relate with everybody on the team, but there's an adult relationship there somehow that we can help pour into these kids and model what a relationship looks like.

Right. Whether that's me bringing my wife into the team or my kids being around, what does family look like? Like let's get off of our phones and our, our fake world that's out there and get in dive into real life here. And Brad, I like what you said there too about, you know, them having time to share.

What's going on in their life and be real with each other. You know, we had our kids would have a pre-game devotional every week and someone would share and coaches weren't in on that. That was just the kids. And I just could hear stories of things that were shared, but it made it made life. It was easier for kids to navigate life, hearing the stories of some of their current players of things that they went through.

And knowing in that moment, there's [00:41:00] somebody in that room is going, oh, wow. I'm not the only one. And all of a sudden, there's a little bit, a moment on there from that player to like, okay. They, I, I value that person. I respect that person. I look up to that person and they've been through that. Okay. I'm going to be okay.

So I think that sharing piece for that community, and we can come back. Community and relationship and talking. And you know, these are the, these are just core, key things of, I think human life of community that we're built to do these things together, not by ourselves. And I think we have this false sense of doing life with people because we have our phones in front of us and we're doing, but that's not, we're not doing life.

It's it's fake. So, for me, in my experience, it was, Hey, let's put these things away. Let's have real intentional conversations. Let's have one-on-one coffee dates with our teammates. Let's have weekly meetings with our coaches, let's build relationship and we didn't have it right. It wasn't perfect.

We had, you know, a lot of players who dealt with mental health issues. It's just the nature of who we are now. But I think we were doing a decent job of at [00:42:00] least trying to facilitate the right way to help them navigate those certain things. As, as we would help them navigate an ankle injury or a knee injury, there are so many other things.

You know, I think we were, and we were learning from others. I think as coaches, we need to build that community too. I think when coaches get left out in the dark here, a lot of like, as a coach in my little silo at my school, I'm dealing with this thing and I feel like nobody else is. And you isolate yourself because you feel like, well, if I let him, I know that I'm dealing with that.

I like a failure as a coach on reality is 99% of the coaches are dealing with the same thing we as coaches. And I think we have a lot of coaches that listen to our podcast. We need to communicate better also and share things with each other, not just to help us as coaches, but to help our athletes navigate these things too.

[00:42:42] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. You know, and that, that actually reminds me of Another thing I wanted to talk to you, Brad, about was you, you both have mentioned a lot of things that, you know, can come up a lot of issues that players can be having. But one of the, I don't know if [00:43:00] it's implicit in what we've been talking about, but is that the players are willing to talk.

The players are willing to come forward and say, I have an issue, or they, they make it clear that they have an issue in some way. But what about those players that are, that are disconnected? They're, they're not, they're not understanding that they even have an issue, but, but you as a coach, you know, how do you recommend for coaches to be able to identify it?

Cause it's with a sprained ankle, it's easy, they're limping, but there's a lot of players who will fake. Like they're not. 'cause they're trying to, they'll try to play it off, like, cause they don't want to miss, they don't wanna lose their spot either. So they'll try to play through a sprained ankle. I had many players, like I had a girl who knocked her head on the ground so many times she was like wobbly.

She was I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. I know. You're not get out of here. You're not playing. There's a bone sticking out

[00:43:41] Paul: of your leg. Right. If you need to come

[00:43:42] Phil: off. Good. I'm good. I'm good. It's just exactly. I look at that. We'll get to that. We're on the same page. So, but you know, and, and or if somebody is not wanting to talk to professionals, right?

Like, you know, we talked a little bit about that to have those relationships with coaches and stuff, [00:44:00] but what do you, how can you as a coach, as we talk about this is about leadership, right? So as a leader, which coaches are, whether you like it or not coaches, your leaders of all these people, how do you lead them into understanding?

And we talked about it a little bit as far as it's normal and stuff, but what if they're just like, I'm not going to do it. I don't want to, how can you enter into that as the coach to encourage that, to be able to talk with someone about.

[00:44:24] Brad: Yeah. So I think, you know, all of us need to know what's the benefit, right?

How do you get buy-in from someone? And so I think that some coaches, you know, like you guys are going to be very invested in the person, as well as the player. And so, you know, talking about the benefits of mental fitness, you know, that sort of preventative proactive way to help them have some resiliency.

So when they go through maybe bigger things and have more struggles, they have those tools to maybe navigate it a little bit better. So I think that that's part of it. I think that you know, the, the, the buy-in also is that if you want your players to perform to their [00:45:00] potential and you want to be the player, the coach, you can help that player go from here to here over the course of the season, their mental fitness is.

Right without it, they are not going to be able to be them. They're, they're their best selves. You're not going to build a really had that optimal sort of performance and grow in the way that they can. So I think wherever trying to respect coach, and whatever's there most most appealing to him, but that's about performance and it's about the person, if it's kind of both but really kind of breaking it down for them, that is a kind of talked about, right?

You can go through all the tactical, technical, physical training, get them all ready to go. This big pressure, high pressure, most big games, right. They can get emotionally hijacked and they're not going to have that. Well, if they're struggling with depression, relationships and academics and financial issues and things like that off the field, that's affecting them.

That's absolutely going to transfer a lot of the time to players against some players can compartmentalize and you're still going to be able to perform very, very well. Despite having mental health struggles. I think that's the thing I really like to point out to coaches. We like to play up the coaches is don't be fooled by your players performance to assess their [00:46:00] mental wellness and their health.

Right. We all know you know, Michael Phelps obviously talked about how, you know, in the Olympic cycle training, he be crying. Why screaming wife swimming in the pool for that year and a half hearing from the Olympics, but he was locked in and focused and help them Excel. But as soon as it was over anxiety, depression came back rinse and repeat two and a half years later here comes the next cycle and he would go so I think find the benefit to coaches.

Like what are they looking for? What are they motivated in? And then selling it that way or kind of showing them that that's the benefit to them. If they don't feel comfortable and open to talk about mental health, again, that's something in soccer resilience. We do, we do that. We come in and talk to the players and you know, try to educate the coaches.

But I think too, if a coach can even find some people in the leadership. Right. And have those people be the ones that the coach, like, I just don't feel comfortable. It's weird for me, but I think it's important finding some of those players who can do that. Right. Kinda just like we were kind of talking about where they can help, you know, advocate and, and have some of these discussions where they talk about fitness and mental health and like, Hey, this is something we're all going to go through just like injuries right this year.

And again, kind of going back to that, how we have that sense of [00:47:00] community your question about how can coaches kind of identify or know in players are struggling. I really simple, easy way I think of is you can, some of the things where we struggle physically off the same way mentally, right? If I've got an ankle that's really bugging me or hamstring, that's really kind of strained, but I don't want people to know that.

I'm just not going to be as explosive as engaged, I'm going to play different. So you can notice that. So the coaches who can really be good observers and aware of players, tendencies, and how they typically look at practice, when you just see something different, that can be a potential sign. And again, everything's on a continuum.

So just because I'm more kind of disengaged in tasks doesn't mean I have clinical depression. Right. But that means there's some mental health. So I think looking for trends, finding the players, if you don't feel comfortable as a coach, you've got some players, you can go, Hey, can you just go check in on your teammate, Joe or Sally?

And to kind of just check in with them can kind of be a way but you know, feel to your point, some players are disconnected and they're not going to be open. They're going to be very guarded. And so, you know, we can just expose them to information, try to normalize it, try to [00:48:00] make it something that everybody's going to go through.

And even to say, Hey, some of you are going to go through. And you're not going to want to share it. You're not gonna want to talk about it here. You're not gonna feel safe, so that's okay. You can go to soccer, resilience and look up things. You can go to YouTube and look up things you can go and, you know, see if there's a counselor at your school, you can talk to just find somebody are a friend that you can open up to and connect to.

I just think that that isolation with mental health gonna get so much harder. But you're right, because some people are not going to engage no matter how much resources, how much time, how much time is there. They're just not there yet. But planting a seed can have a valuable.

[00:48:36] Paul: Yeah. Yeah, that's great.

Bright. I think a lot of that kind of leads into my next question. I think there's some overlap here, but as you know, we've just been through, I don't know if you were aware or not, but we just came through a pandemic. I don't know. I think you probably experienced that too. How do we, how do we come through this?

Well, you know, and I think some of the things you said too is, you know, there's some relate-ability that we've all kind of been through it, but we're all handling it differently. You know, we've all had to handle it differently. And, you know, for some [00:49:00] folks when we talk about sport their sport was taken away from them for a little bit of time.

For some of them, some of the younger kids, maybe some college and university opportunities, they feel were taken away from them because of just the timing of, of that process. Maybe the same thing as translating from college to pro like there's some opera, there's just some different things. People are navigating here, coaches, players, whatever.

How, how does. How do we come through this while some of the, what are some of the trends that you're seeing that maybe are different through the pandemic that maybe previously before the pandemic and how do we navigate this and how do we come through this well, and what do we learn from this? As we move.

[00:49:33] Brad: Yeah, I think it's a great question. You know, I, I see, you know, through soccer resilience, I also have, you know, private practice just talked to a lot of people and I say, you know, maybe there's like 1% of people who have only flourish during the pandemic. And it's only been good for them. Most everybody else.

It, it, it it's had its real challenges and Pettit struggles and you know, something that Phil never talking about that we, you know, there's two types of stress, right? There's chronic stress and like acute stress, [00:50:00] acute stress is like, got into a car accident. I broke my leg. You know, that, that there's what are all over my house, I got a flood or something like, then we know why we're stressed.

It makes sense. Everybody can kind of go, okay. I can see Brad some more irritable, his house just underwater. Right. Then you kind of go, I get it. So usually, like we know what it is. The brain identifies that we feel more in control. People kind of support us cause they understand what's kind of going on and we know this is a normal reaction.

And then we kind of work our way through that in a lots of ways can be easier to deal with. That's not to minimize difficult things, but the harder thing to deal with is chronic stress for this reason so chronic stresses, that thing, it just happens over and over and over and over and over like things with the pandemic.

And the reason is, is because we are really great at habituating. We adapt really, really well. Right. If you and I go to Hawaii and get out of the plane are, you know, and it's like, we feel that heat well-cared for me being committed, I'm in San Diego, but you know, You know, we go to Minnesota right in the wintertime.

We can seal that, oh my gosh. And for the first hour, like our brains, like, what am I [00:51:00] doing here? But then you realize I just dress warmer, kind of adapt. And a couple of days you're kind of used to it. So we adapt really, really well. We did the same thing. Psychologically. We adapt to stress and hardship and most people who can really perform well elite athletes who can challenge themselves high expectations and go, they're very, very good at going beyond where most people would go, which is a wonderful strength.

However, they also have a really Achilles' heel of knowing how they're really doing. They don't really realize they're overworked or burnout and stress until they are like crashing and burning. Other people would call it much earlier and pull back and not go as far, but they will, can have sometimes more longevity.

So in chronic stress, we don't really notice where our stress level is. I mean, how many times have you guys noticed this things are busy, hectic, and you think like you're doing, you know, it's just saying I'm kind of doing okay. And then you had this really strong overreaction to something small and go, oh my God, Why did I do that?

It's like, oh, I guess I'm really stressed. Well, so I think this chronic stress people don't realize how the toll it's taken and what it really does is this front part of our brain, the [00:52:00] executive functioning part is just like our boss. It's kind of tells us what to do, manages emotion. It kind of tells us like what's on the agenda being on time, organizing things, you know, being able to see for a balance, not just sort of impulsive, make a decision stop and think that part is compromised.

And when it is worn down, we don't manage our emotion as well. We get stuck in the negative more. We have a harder time pushing ourselves to do things. We have a hard time getting started. I know a bunch of people who are like, man, I'm brushing my teeth now is a chore before the pandemic. It was like automatic, but now it's a chore are doing things that isolation has caused a lot of people to have more social anxiety.

You already have. And some people have social anxiety they really have before. So being around people is more draining, going out and doing things is more draining. And so I think just being aware that even though things are getting better and, you know, we can maybe kind of up and down cycle, but things are getting better.

There's a lingering effect. We think that when the stress lessons we function optimally, now I'm just going to soar. Right. But what really happens is we're so worn down. That's sometimes when we [00:53:00] struggle most it's like the brain knows when we're kind of safe. It's like for finals, right? If you guys remember back in the day, cram, cram, cram, you know, go through your finals and all of a sudden you're done and then your.

Right for like five days or you go on vacation and the first day and a half, you're just sick because your body is like, okay, now it's safe. We can relax. And now you get the cost of all that extra work you've been putting on ourselves. So chronic stress is so hard because we don't identify it quickly.

So then we think we're defective. The brain wants to know what's the solution for why I'm struggling to focus, to concentrate, to stick with things, to get started on things. And if I can't find an answer, the brain's like, well, it must be your breath. So now I feel bad about myself. My self-esteem drops, which goes into more depression and more anxiety and kind of gets to vicious circle.

So I think a very important thing to help everybody is to realize that this is how brains function, they're chronic stress. And then we need to start taking some active steps to take better care of ourselves. Right? If our physical health was compromised, we would do things to help get better. We'd eat better food, we'd get [00:54:00] better sleep.

I would exercise more if our mental health has been taxed and drained and we're just not functioning as well. Then those kinds of self-care things become even more crucial in addition to being a community. So I need to really start practicing meditation or doing deep breathing more or doing mindfulness.

Or, you know, using some breathing techniques to kind of clear my mind, I need to make sure I'm getting, you know, better sleep and to make sure I'm connecting with people. What's my sense of community today besides being on Instagram or social media, whatever it may be. It's like, how do I connect with people?

So I think just letting people know that it's normal to have these we're not functioning as well. It's how do you mean by effective? It's just Mason that chronic stress, but here's some tools and strategies that can help you. And you're not alone. There's a lot of other people going through this. And so here's what we know can help.

And once you try some of these and see what might work for.

[00:54:50] Phil: Yeah. You know, man, there's so much there. I mean, one of the things you said there kind of gave me a little PTSD, not, not to joke around about things, but I guess I just did so sorry about that folks. But my wife [00:55:00] had she got sick right after our wedding, like on our three first three days of our honeymoon.

So it's just like, you know, it just was right. I mean, that's, that's the reality. My daughter just came home from Mexico. She went down there on a missions trip. She had. You know, she was feeling sick, you know, worn down the adrenaline wears off, right? The, the adrenaline of dealing with chronic stress, like you just talked about absolutely now, for sure.

And that's the stressors on our body. It's amazing how the body will just be able to function, but it's not, it's, it can't do that. It's going to crash at some point. Right. And so that goes for all that stuff. Absolutely. Man, I wish we could go on and on and on. We could talk for hours as, as we we know we can cause we have but we're gonna, we're gonna wrap it up here and bring it to a close before we ask the last question, just to give you a chance to share any resources, you know, maybe talking about resources that are a good thing.

Any books or any other podcast or any other things that you, you want to share with people, how can people connect with you and soccer resilience?

[00:55:58] Brad: Yeah. So you can go [00:56:00] to a great place to start as our landing page soccer You have a lot of information about our team, our services, our online academy.

How you can kind of connect if you want to reach out to me through email to Dr. Brad Miller at soccer,, I'm happy to answer any questions or just kind of thoughts you have. We have a soccer resilience, a YouTube channel that's free. That has a lot of really good information about how to handle the pandemic.

So out of the brain affects us about ways to navigate stress and how to help us with performance, how to help parents help their kids manage grit, lots of different things that can be a really useful tool. And you can find some things on our social media as well. You know, some, some, some books, I think I probably mentioned this before, but some ones that I really love that I think are so helpful.

If I have one book to recommend it absolutely be Carol Dweck's growth mindset. You know, you guys talk about that a lot. It is just, it changed my life when I read it as a parent, as a coach, as a psychologist, as a person. So many things in there to me lay the foundation for mental fitness and mental [00:57:00] health, right.

To just really reminds us to be open to strategies, right? It's that hard work plus strategies. We've gotta be open to strategies if we want to grow in our technical game or tactical game and our physical health, but also our mental fitness. And in my experience, that's the toughest part for a lot of elite athletes is to be open to doing things.

Kind of feel weird and strange and a lot of mental fitness and mental health things can feel strange. Like you talked about Paul with your gratitude, right? The players writing down three things you're grateful for in preseason, it can kind of seem hokey, but it really shifts how your brain starts to do things in a more balanced way.

And you notice things that you're more grateful for than just what is going wrong. So, you know, a book mindset would be one another book that I love for those people who really. Like stories of resilience to inspire them is David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell. It's such an awesome book talking about struggles.

People have that typically would make life harder, but these people found a way to make an advantage. I love that story. This would be two to my favorite books to really kind [00:58:00] of recommend.

[00:58:00] Phil: I appreciate that. Yeah. I love both those books. Fantastic. David and Goliath has so many, so many great, great stories in it.

On that note. So thanks again, Brad. Thank you for for being a part of this show. Paul, do you have any final parting words for Brad as we as we finish up?

[00:58:17] Paul: No, Brad, I just really have always benefit from our conversations and the podcasts that you've done and just really. Gain a ton of knowledge.

You're so knowledgeable about what you're talking about and the way you go about what you do just fits into what we try to do here at how soccer explains the leadership and just appreciate what you're doing, why you do it. And just the benefits that we're seeing from the work that you're doing through soccer resilience, and just really, really

[00:58:39] Brad: appreciate.

Well, thank you both very much. I respect admire you guys a lot in what you're doing and it's, it's so inspiring to see coaches like you guys who have that perspective and the things that you sharing. Keep, keep sharing it with more and more coaches, right? The more and more people who can kind of understand these things and learn these things.

We really can make a really big shift in our culture. So. [00:59:00]

[00:59:01] Phil: Absolutely love doing it with you love doing it with your brother. And so folks with that, we definitely want to just wrap up the show to remind you if you want to get involved deeper with how soccer explains leadership you can do so on our Facebook group you can also do so by just connecting with us

If you want to get in touch with Paul and find out more about what they're doing with warrior way soccer, you can do And if you want to learn more about and sign up for now, because we have launched the coaching, the bigger game program you can do. So at

So with all that folks, we hope that you've taken all that you learned from this show. And as always, we hope that you're taking it to help you be a better parent, a better spouse, a better leader, a better friend, better in your communities, and continually reminding yourself that soccer does explain life and leadership.

Thanks a lot. Have a great week.