April 22, 2021

The Power of Collaboration with Max Rooke, Pepperdine Women’s Soccer Coach and Leadership Coach

The Power of Collaboration with Max Rooke, Pepperdine Women’s Soccer Coach and Leadership Coach

In Episode 26, Max Rooke, Pepperdine University Women’s Soccer Associate Head Coach, Founder of Life to the Max, and former Reading FC Youth Academy footballer, talks with Phil about working with others wired differently from us, the importance of...

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In Episode 26, Max Rooke, Pepperdine University Women’s Soccer Associate Head Coach, Founder of Life to the Max, and former Reading FC Youth Academy footballer, talks with Phil about working with others wired differently from us, the importance of collaboration, getting players to put their own agenda aside, servant leadership, Pepperdine’s unorthodox recruiting tactics, and his leadership coaching philosophy. Specifically, Max discusses:

  • His story and how he developed his passion for soccer and leadership, and how he got to where he is today (2:22)
  • The benefits of coaching and partnering in other arenas with people who are wired differently than you (13:27)
  • What the game of soccer teaches us about collaboration, why it’s important, and how it applies to life outside the pitch (18:53)
  • How we can get our players to set their own agenda aside and buy into the team mission, vision, and values (23:54)
  • How his Pepperdine has shifted focus, what he has learned from the shift, how it has impacted the program, and what we can learn from the shift (26:37)
  • The power of servant leadership (33:39)
  • How Pepperdine does recruiting differently, and what their approach can teach us off the pitch (43:29)
  • How his program vets the players’ character and motives in the recruiting process (51:29)
  • His “Life 2 the Max” work coaching leadership and more (56:17)
  • Lessons he has learned directly from the beautiful game that he uses in his marriage and other areas of life off the pitch (1:01:11)
  • Max’s Recommendations (1:05:15)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil:Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Again, I'm your host, Phil Darke. And I am so glad that You've taken the time to download this show and I'm really, really glad you did. Today, as usual, we have a guest with us, who's going to share so much wisdom, so many great things with us that I just can't wait for you to hear.

Quite frankly, I can't wait to get these To get this conversation going, because I know I've had a little conversation with our guests and it was, it was great. And I learned a ton from that and I have no doubt we are in, for a treat today. But before we get to Max Rooke, who is our guest, I just want to remind you about the Facebook group that we have.

if you haven't done so already go ahead and join the Facebook group. And there we are able to, you know, you can share guests that you'd want us to have on the show. You can share with us any comments, thoughts that you have, you know, this isn't about just you listening. I mean, yeah, that's part of it, you listening and learning, but really we want to engage the conversation, get to know each other better, be able to help each other.

And we can only do from our side what we can do, but if you join [00:01:00] in, it makes it much, much better and stronger. Hopefully you'll be able to do that if you haven't done so already go ahead and subscribe to the show and you can just do that wherever you're listening. without more about that, and we're going to get to this interview with Max Rooke. Max is the associate head coach at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. So that's something to be envious about for you folks out there, if you, if you're not already envious about him being an associate head coach, but he also is the founder of Life to the Max, which we're going to learn a little bit about that later on today, too.

Max, how are you doing, man?

Max:[00:01:33] Great, my man, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. Yeah, just, this is, this is I'm excited and I I just loved that first conversation that we had. And so I'm excited to have another, another great one today.

Phil:[00:01:44] Fantastic. I think I've said max more times now in this interview already, I have in all the interviews combined, so that's fantastic.

All right. So, you know, if people are familiar with Pepperdine and Pepperdine, soccer they'll know all about you, [00:02:00] or if they've taken one of your courses they'll know about you as well, but a lot of people haven't had heard of, you don't know who you are, so can you just really just briefly share your story, how you develop your passion for soccer leadership and how you got to be where you are

Max:[00:02:12] today?

Yeah. Well, again, first of all, thank you for having me. I really, really appreciate it. I love the opportunity to, to share sharing each other's stories. And I'm always fascinated with other people who was in my journey began I'm originally from England. And just like, like a lot of English people are European people.

I was just engrossed by the game of soccer and, and quickly took to the game of soccer. So at a young age, I got to play it and found myself being able to get connected with Reading Football Club. So I grew up, grew up in Reading, but at an early age I was, I was on their radar. And so I got to be in their Academy and I got to do to have some, some really cool things there and, and got to play in the youth team.

And so that was just kind of a part of, of my, my beginning stages of understanding, kind of this world of [00:03:00] high-performance, which, which are to have talked about in a little bit. I'm sure we'll get to, but, but yeah, when I was like 16, 17 I'm on the youth team, and then I got to, got to play in the reserve team to play a few first team games.

And I'm like, man, this is. This is incredible, right? This is incredible. This whole experience about, you know, as a boy, you dream of being a professional athlete, you dream of, of planning these big stadiums in front of these amazing fans and just feeling that energy and, and and that was a part of it.

And I was on that journey and I was going go in there and I can get into playing the first team. It was fantastic. But as you know, as I'm sure, I'm sure you've had many people on the show that could, that can attest to that. It's a cutthroat world, it's a cutthroat industry, the professional game, especially in Europe.

and so at the age of sort of 17, 18, they said, you know, you're probably not, equipped to make it in the game. So about 18 years old, I had this, this decision to make, and it was continued to pursue, the road to professional soccer in England. And I was, I was ready to do that, but then quickly This other [00:04:00] Avenue, if you will just appeared. And it was at the time, it wasn't playing in America, playing college soccer, playing in America, the idea of playing soccer in America football. Right. And it wasn't a big thing. It wasn't something I'd heard of. But I had a teammate who the previous year had gone to this tryout the PFA.

So once I was with red and you're a part of what they call the Professional Football Association. So you're a lifelong member. So the Professional Football Association put on this opportunity, this trial, if you will, over these American coaches at these universities, and they brought these players that were out of contract at these professional clubs and said, Hey, you know, if it fits, Here's a new opportunity for you. So I had this teammate who, who went the previous year and he came back and he said, you know, Hey Boston, I think he was going to Boston. He said, Hey, the Boston that did a. And so he, he went and I stayed in touch with him. I said, this sounds cool. So I stayed in touch with him and he, and I got to hear about his experience.

So the following year, when, like I said, I got the news that I wasn't going to get my contract renewed. It kind of like the two roads [00:05:00] started to appear. And again, it was, it was the do what everybody's always done or take the road traveled. And it was this opportunity to go to America.

So I went to this trial and a few coaches. They, they offered me an opportunity. So, you know, as long story short. I ended up in Macon, Georgia. Macon, Georgia. Like, I mean, I wouldn't have known the difference between Malibu, California, Macon. Like I would not a difference. So I'm like Macon, Georgia.

This is awesome. So I'd go to little old Macon, Georgia play for a team called Mercer University. We had an amazing time. We had amazing team. We did, you know, if you read through it, like we had, we had a lot of success. We had a lot of great things happen, but that really at 18 years old coming over to America, literally coming on a plane with a suitcase and a dream that was basically it.

And it changed my whole life. It changed my whole perspective. It changed my whole vision of, of what I felt I wanted out of life. And then that kind of spearheaded me. Not only from playing I've got to do some cool things. I've got to plan a couple of world championships with like a great brand in the World University [00:06:00] Games and got to do all these, all these fun things, but that's not why we're here to talk about that.

But it, it then became clear to me that, The love of the game, the love of football, the love of soccer. It wasn't just about trying to become a professional athlete. It was more about, about helping and about serving and about and about giving back to the game, what the game gave to me. So, so after I graduated I flipped around a little bit, played, played in some other places in Florida and stuff like that.

But then the opportunity to coach came by and I'd go into coaching. And it was, you know, I'm a young, a young coach. And so I was trying to figure out, you know, how to be a coach, how to transition from being a player to being a coach. And I I got to work at this private Christian school and I became a PE teacher and a head boys and girls soccer coach.

And then that's where I was introduced to coaching. And it was completely different. It was completely out of my comfort zone, but it was completely amazing at the same time. And that is where I really, again, began to find this, this. Marriage have taken what I had learned as a, [00:07:00] as a high-performance athlete and as a high level athlete, both in Europe and in America, and then trying to help others achieve similar goals and similar dreams.

And so, so that led me to them getting into college athletics. I met my beautiful wife of almost 13 years. She's a, she's a college coach as well on the volleyball. So she coaches coach volleyball. So then we, we got married and we shared this passion for again, for coaching. And that led us to Illinois.

She was a college coach and she accepted a position at the university of Illinois. So at that time we were still living in Georgia and I basically stopped what I was doing. And, and as you know, like family is everything. So it was like, it was never about, for us, it was never about having this, vision of okay,  I'm going to be a head coach and I'm going to do whatever it takes is like, well, if she has a dream too, and so she ha she wanted to pursue this opportunity. She said, well, what about you? I said, I'll figure it out. No problem. You know, it's about, it's more about our relationship. And so that led me to to stay in the college game.

But then I also got into club coach [00:08:00] and I became the director of a club. And that was like new for me too. So then I'm starting to work with little itty bitty, little nippers, little five-year-olds and six-year-olds and seven-year-olds, and then now I'm trying to evolve and understand how to teach young players.

You know, I was used to teach in high school players and, and so that was another stepping stone, but it was, it was a beautiful thing too. And, and ultimately, I guess, long, story short , there was a part in that time where we went from Georgia to Illinois, where I met this guy named Tim Ward, who is the, now is the head coach at Pepperdine University.

And he called me up. Actually we got two minutes. Can I tell you this story? Is that a good

Phil:[00:08:33] story? Yeah, so it's not good. I'll just cut this.

Max:[00:08:40] This is, this is what life is. This is to me, this is what life you can already tell. I'm passionate. I am, right. So this is that marriage of life and soccer. So, so my wife, Noelle, my beautiful wife and well, she grew up in California and she went to high school with Tim Ward, who's the head coach here at Pepperdine.

And and they, and my wife moved to move to the East Coast and was to Florida. And I said how we met, but [00:09:00] she would always come back to Pepperdine and she worked these camps, the volleyball camps at Pepperdine. She worked for this, this guy named Mark Dunphy who was the like he's like an Olympian.

Like he's just done amazing things for that, for the game of what is that? The John Wooden of volleyball. Right. So she would come back and work every, I knew nothing about, about Pepperdine and And so there's one year she's she says, Hey, she says, I'm going to work a volleyball camp. But guess what? I heard that the soccer camps at Pepperdine they're the same week.

So, why don't I just call up the head coach? I'll see if you can work the soccer camp I'll work, the volleyball camp. We'll turn it into a little holiday. We'll visit some family. Everything's gonna be good. So I was like, okay, sure. So she calls him up and she says, Hey Tim, you know what, honestly, they went to high school together.

I said, Hey, Tim you know, is it possible if my husband can work your soccer camp? And you know, Tim doesn't know me and he's like, well, what's his deal? So she said, Hey, what are you gonna play for Reading Football Club and dah, dah, dah. He said, if he’s good enough to marry you, he's good enough to work my camp. Bring him out.

So we come out and I walked in and I get introduced to Pepperdine, I get introduced to Tim. And in that moment, as soon as I met Tim, we shared a similar philosophy, not [00:10:00] just about soccer, but life, how to treat women because a women's program that I'm currently at right now. And we had this amazing experience.

And so we left And about six months later we had this vision, no one, I had this vision to always move back to the West coast, but we never knew how we were going to do it. And about six months later, we're in Illinois. So I said at this time we're living in Illinois and like, you know, a foot of snow ice storm, I'm going to coach these little itty-bittys, this little club gallon, I've got like a bag of balls and stuff like that.

I'm slipping on the black ice, trying to get into this indoor facility. And then Tim calls me up, you know, and he's a surfer dude. He's that? And I start pick up the phone like, hello, what up brother? What up dude? What's going on, dude? He's like, I've just been surfing, and what's going on? I'm like, Hey Tim, what's going on? Now, granted, right. This is that emergence of like your life's vision. Just, just everything merging together as one. And he says, Hey, he says, did you know that my assistant just moved on to take a head coaching position somewhere else? I said, yeah. And he said, but you didn't apply for the job. [00:11:00] I said, I know he said, Why not.

I said, I don't know. At the time I was probably the least qualified person for the job to be where I'm at today. But he said, Max, he said there was something right about that week that we had to get. There was something about what we talked about. There was something about you, you, there was something about the energy, there's something about what I felt we could do together.

He's like, you're the man for the job. Do you want to take it? And I'm like, goodness me. So I tend to know, and I'm like, Hey, Noelle, what do you think? And same thing as when I, when I stepped down from my position to Noelle to Illinois, she's like, let's do it. Cause like it's about us, you know? And so she stepped down from her position.

We moved to Malibu, California, where we currently reside. I work at Pepperdine university, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I get to work with some amazing, amazing elite athletes. I get to work with extraordinary people and I get to coach and serve and do what I love. And so right now, like I say what I'm doing is such a blessing and and it was all because of that moment.

And so anyways, I probably would have taken up a lot of [00:12:00] time, but it's just, it's, crazy how life works. And and I just, yeah, I'm so blessed to be here. And obviously if I say now that led us to this conversation. Absolutely.

Phil:[00:12:07] No, it's fantastic. I love that. I love the story. I always talk about the fact, one of my favorite parts of all.

This is the stories and It's not ever. I was like, well, why do you spend so much time on story? Well, because the story is so critical to hear that. I mean, all of that will then lend itself to the rest of the conversation. It lends itself to all the things, other things you're going to be saying for that credibility, but also from your life story.

I mean, I even, even with your relationship with Tim, just hearing that, where you had that. You know, for that week together. Right. I mean, the fact that he saw something, And now, you know, I think on the other end of it, we've talked a little bit about this already. I'd love to get into a little bit more about that with you and Tim, and as you've learned about each other, as you've taught as you've coach together, you know, we talked a little bit about before, about personalities in the show, we've talked about personalities, I'm a certified DISC instructor, as well as just, love [00:13:00] studying personalities and in coaching similar to you and Tim, my head coach in the high school soccer that I coach with is opposite personality to me.

And that lends itself to some really cool things. And so can you just share that about you and Tim, even what we talked about be for recording.

Max:[00:13:17] Like I said, I've been, I've been at Pepperdine now for seven years is now going into our eighth season right here.

Because of COVID obviously we didn't have full season, so we're about to hopefully have here, have a spring season. So yeah, so going into my eighth season and we've had some really great success to get Tim's been here 27 of the 28 years that the program's been in existence, both as an assistant and as a head coach, and so, you know, he is Pepperdine soccer and and so what, what really stuck out is when we, again go back to kind of that moment that we shared it, we shared that similar philosophy on life, on again, like, the women's game is very different than the men's game, you know?

And so you have to be a special type of coach to be able to coach women versus men. I think there are a lot of similarities, but, but also there are some differences. And so Tim is amazing at that. so once I [00:14:00] realized it kinda is almost like I'm like, there's somebody else that values the same things that I do.

I left that week, that, that camp. And I'm like, there's somebody who values the same things that I do. However, as we talked about Your day to day, your daily habits and your processes and stuff, they can be different. and so what really works well with our staff? So Ari is the other staff member who works as well.

And she brings that she blends it, Tim and I together really well. And she brings this female perspective that just, you know, brings this wholeness to our, to our staff. But Tim and I Tim's so creative, he's so creative. And as a head coach, his job is to constantly be pushing the envelope. You know, you look back at some of I taught a class here at Pepperdine last semester and, it was on the foundations of coaching.

And one of the, case studies that we did was on Alex Ferguson and Alex Ferguson, somebody who's been at Man United for such a long time. And they. One of the things that we studied that Harvard business did they study, and they talked about how he was always on the cutting edge. Like there were certain things that he liked, you knew about Alex folks and knew about his teams, but at the same time, he was always on the, edge, on the cutting edge, he was always, [00:15:00] he was always evolving and it was always creating it wasn't he was willing to take risks, you know?

And so that's Tim, Tim is somebody who is also, he's always creating, but creation. If it's not partnered with application can sometimes get lost. And so I think we we've found our success with our program is, is Tim is very creative and we'll come up with amazing ideas, things to keep us evolving as a team.

And whether it's tactically, physically, mentally, emotionally, whatever it's going to be. And then I'm the, I'm the. It got like, I could make it happen. So I'm like, Hey Tim, you know, he's 20 ideas. I'm like, Tim, give me the top three, you know, like boil it down, give me the top three and I will make them happen for it.

You know what I'm saying? So, so, but without, without Tim's creativity, I don't have that. I don't, I don't have that, but without me and Ari, Tim's creativity could get lost in the weeds. So it's, great. I think, you know, we could talk all day, but when you get into leadership, one of the things that makes him great is he lets us as, as his assistants and associate coach, he [00:16:00] lets us do.

I think he lets us bring our, our best, you know, we are always operating in our strengths and when you bring everybody's strengths together that's what can get stuff done. And and he's a great leader in regards to that. He knows what we're good at. And and we blend it all together. So yeah, and we've had, you know, we've had some great success.

We've been to some sweet sixteens. We won a couple of WCC championships in the last few years. And you know, and that's, that's not what we. Evaluate our program on, but I think that's more of an external thing. People looking from the outside intimate and man manual pretty successful, and you find yourself ranked in the top 10 or top 15.

And, but that's not how we evaluate our program. Our program runs way deeper than that, which I'm sure we'll get into. But but yeah, Tim, Tim and Ari are amazing. I'm so blessed to work with them..

Phil:[00:16:40] Yeah, we'll definitely get into that more as far as you know, you at Pepperdine, how you're doing it there. But I will tell you that I totally love what you're talking about there.

It's I talk about it all the time. As I'm training up organizations, talking to different leaders if you're just surrounding yourself with people like you, you're not going to be successful in an organization and a team you're just, you're not gonna, you're gonna be missing. [00:17:00] You're gonna have so many blind spots, but as you talked about it and I'm, I'm more like Tim I'm wired like Tim, I I'd imagine.

I mean, I grew up in Southern California, but I'm not really a surfer boy, but I, you know, I mean, when you said you were opposite from the surfer boy, Tim people were probably just thinking you're the stuffy British guy, but you know, I won't get into that. But no, but I think that that. I love the, what you talked about, where he allows you to, he frees you up to be working your strengths.

And that's not only great leadership, but for him, I mean, that's really the only way it's going to work, because he also is self-aware it sounds like he's very, self-aware where he knows the execution's not necessarily his strength. It doesn't make him a bad leader. Doesn't make him a bad person. It makes him knowing who he is.

And he's very self-aware. I was talking with somebody else about this today, too. You know, in my organization, my COO is very task focused and he's a guy who execute extremely well to the point where he doesn't say, give me your top three. He's like Phil, stop. Talking about [00:18:00] 55,000 things, you know, let's focus, we gotta focus, we gotta focus.

And you know, cause mission drift is a real thing. Right. You know? And so if you keep going for the shiny object and the squirrels, you're going to be constantly going all over the place. So to have that team, to have that balance is absolutely critical. And so, you know, with that, you know, we talk about that collaboration.

So you have the collaboration at the level of, of coaching staff, right? As you talked about you have you and Tim and then your, your other assistant, who's able to kind of gel it together, which is fantastic. But also the game of soccer teaches us a lot about collaboration. so what can we take from that?

What can we take from the first of all, how does it teach us about that? Right. And then what can we take that to your life outside the pitch?

Max:[00:18:43] Yeah, man, it's such a loaded question. I think that Oh, over the years, I think what I've really come to understand that I love about not just, not just soccer, but I think team sports in general, when you talk about collaboration is, is that it allows us to do [00:19:00] something that we typically wouldn't be able to do by ourself, you know?

And when, and I've been victim of this, by the way, he's like, ah, do it all myself. You know, it's like, we just can't, we just can't like there's there's. So whether it's on the soccer field or where they're at, whether it's in life, in business, whatever, it's going to be like the ability to, to think bigger, broader, more expensive to, believe in something bigger and better comes.

When you understand that when you put on the resources of everybody, then it allows you to think about things that you wouldn't normally be able to achieve by yourself. And so, you know, I look at it like, like the responsibility of us as coaches, I think as a coach and this might be slightly going off topic, but I think.

The responsibility. And I've heard Tim say this many times. So my team is the responsibility of us as coaches is to take our players places that they wouldn't be willing to go by themselves. You know? and so when you bring it back to this idea of collaboration, I think when you collaborate people, it allows you to go [00:20:00] places.

You wouldn't normally be able to go by yourself. And so whether that's vision, whether, again, whether it's application wherever it's going to be, but that's truly what I love about being part of a team, whether that's been as a player, as a coach. And when I was a high school coach, I was the head coach.

I've been a head coach. I've been an assistant coach. I'm an associate head coach. I've been here you know, youth sports, high school level college level, whatever it's going to be. I just think that there really is something special about when you unite with people and you're all facing the same way, looking towards the same goal, the same vision, the same mission, as you said.

There's something really special in that, you know, and And something that aside from the soccer is that I do is I have a, another program or another business called Life to the Max and a lot of it is about, you know, high-performance coaching but mindset, a lot mindset.

and I say, this is like, where focus goes, energy flows, you know, you know what you put your what'd, you put your attention on which you could focus on. You're going to get more of, you know, whether that's good, bad, positive, negative, the [00:21:00] problem, the solution, and when you're working in collaboration with people and you're focused on the right things, I've seen it over and over again, really special things can happen.

And I just think that when we work in isolation, sometimes we get so fixated on ourself, you know, and. without getting too deep into it. But when, when you, when you are in isolation unit and you're so focused on the self you can't serve, you can't serve and you notice there's a higher vibration. When you get out of yourself and you get into others and you start to connect and collaborate, you start operating a different energy level.

And that energy level that allows you to achieve amazing things. Not just, personally, but collaboratively to show. So yeah, I just think, hopefully that makes sense, but it's, it's a special thing. And I, that ultimately, I was guess what I would say to this. That is what has continued to fuel me over these years, both as a player, as a coach, it's like this, why I haven't gotten out of the game is because it's almost like I'm addicted to being a part of a team.

Cause it [00:22:00] cause cause of what it can do for you and, and how you get to be responsible for other people and a part of people's dreams and a part of people's successes. And it's just, it's awesome. You know? And so to get them started now, failing, I'm good. I'm off. I'm going,

Phil:[00:22:16] You're almost starting to preach here, but you had to drink a drink of water, so it kind of saved it from that.

But no, I, look at that and I go, that's such a. A great picture of, as you, you know, you talked about, you can go, you go to places, you never would have gone. You know, the synergies that happen in a great collaboration are something that a lot of people never experienced. Cause they never take that gamble because it is a gamble to go in all in together on a team, you know?

And yeah, people are coming to Pepperdine because they want to come to Pepperdine and play for great program. They want to go to Malibu. There's probably all these different reasons for it. Right. But they get there and you talk about, you got to get on the same page, mission, vision values. That's going to come from the top.

Typically it's going to come from the coaches. Coaches are gonna get buy in, [00:23:00] however coaches get buy in. Hopefully. but the thing is, you got to agree on where you're going, right? And if, if everyone on that bus, doesn't, it doesn't really want to go there. They're going to make it miserable for the rest of them.

So how are you able to be able to do, I mean, just anybody who's been on a road trip with their family. You're going to have a lot of miserableness going on. If you're not all wanting to go, first of all, but also, you know, you gotta know how to, make people happy and joyful. Yeah. How to get them to choose joy on their own and not make them, you can't make someone joyful.

So how do you do that? And how can you make someone be the best they can be? And that's really where you look at that collaboration in a team. And you talked about that. It's, it's almost like a, it's almost like a drug of team.

Max:[00:23:44] what, what comes to mind as you're saying that too, is, the art of, team, you know, the art of coaching, a team or leading a team is the ability to get everybody to set their own agenda aside.

You know, it's like as an individual, when you come into that, like, yeah. You're how composite team, but generally. We owe it. It's inherent in everybody with humans, right. We take care of number one. So it's like when you unlock the door and you open yourself up to kind of set your own agenda aside and just live into the team's agenda or the team's vision and mission, like you said that is not an easy thing to do, but when you can, when you can tap into that, that really is just, you know, that's why so many of those teams are so successful with different levels.

It's, even some of the, you know, like some of the top teams, like the Phil Jackson's and some of the, some, going back to that, when I taught this class, we've got into that sort of thing is, is how do you get somebody who is making millions and millions of dollars or pounds or whatever it's going to be, and you get them to lay their body on the line or to, to, to kind of go the extra low, you know, that's an art form to be able to get somebody to set their own agenda aside, you know, and.

The dollars and the advertising and the, you know, and all that. So, and it's a special, special thing. And when you do that, like I say, it's untapped potential is what it is. It's untapped potential. [00:25:00] Absolutely.

Phil:[00:25:01] And you see underperforming to happen a lot of times when they're not content when you're not getting that, when you don't have that.

And I think all you need to do is look at Paul Pogba over the last few years, and you'll see a guy who has underperformed, the last few games he's looked amazing. You saw him smile. You saw him. I mean, I don't know if you watch the games this week, but he he's smiling. I haven't seen that in Paul Pogba in years.

Part of it's their winning part of it. You know, there's a lot to it. But point being he's now on that bus willingly versus being dragged onto it because of whatever, you know, I can't even imagine Manchester United having that playing, but it is what it is. Right. But that's, it goes to it at the highest levels, but also.

You know, you go to the lowest levels and you see kids that their parents are dragging them there and they're miserable and that's not healthy for anybody either. Right. And so you look at this and you go, okay, what is, what does that look like? with that, I want to, I want to move on to the next thing.

I think there's so many, obviously with all these issues, we could talk for days about them particularly with your program and what we're talking about, but I just [00:26:00] want to talk, speaking of your program and you alluded to this in the last answer, but really at Pepperdine, you've over the last several years.

And I don't know exactly when it happened, but we talked earlier about in our previous conversation about a shift in focus at Pepperdine really, and what you've learned from it, how that's impacted your program. But also I want you to talk a little bit about what that shift is, the impact has had, and then what we can learn from that again, outside the game.

Max:[00:26:27] Yeah, I get really, I get really excited every time we get to talk about this. I think, we talked about it before. In the world of, I consider myself from what we do here at Pepperdine. You know, being in the world of high-performance right where we were one of the top teams in, in NCAA division one women's college soccer, and there is an expectation, you know, it's like, everybody comes in, like you say, there are players that come in and they come in knowing they're going to get to play for one of the top programs in the country against other top programs in the country.

And so there is there's expectation that comes with that. just like so many other teams. [00:27:00] And also along with that, there is this expectation of, winning, right? And I think that so much of this, the storyline of high-performance is it's driven by results, I guess, is what I'm, what I'm getting at a lot of is driven by results.

And so as a program naturally, we kind of, that, that's kind of what, we're, what we're evaluated on. You know, our jobs are evaluated on our team is evaluated on, you know, on that, on how successful we are. Like, how many results do we get on the field? How many wins do we get? How far do we go in the NCAA to even our conference championship.

But, but that was again, so that, so there was this, this time, Tim and I working together. And again, Tim's been, Tim took this program from basically nothing into the powerhouse that it is today. And that was a long process over a number of years. But, but if you imagine, like when you're growing. Then all of a sudden, you start to kind of like, you know, there's this, there's this point where you start to kind of tip out and then something has to change right before you, so you can hit the next level.

And then you start to, maybe you make this growth. And then all of a sudden you start to curve out and something has to change to hit that next level. And so we got to a place [00:28:00] where we were succeeding, we were doing well, but there was like, there was a, there was another level that we were searching for.

And so we kind of, as a staff, we were like trying to evaluate what can we do to get to that next level. And so, again, as, as having kind of, that, that psych background and some of that mental skills is we started to delve into kind of the mindset and the conditioning of our program. And again, we've been conditioned to believe that that winning is most important.

And so. We started to evaluate that. So, so I always say this, like, if you imagine, you know, whatever, and this is just, this is for a program this can be for your life too.

When I, when I work with individual athletes you know, and I, and I told them through this, is that whatever we put at the very top of a, pyramid, if you will imagine that your pyramid was like, you know, the program was like, it was like a triangle kind of like John Wooden's Pyramid of Success, right?

Whatever you put at the very top, that's what you deem as most important. Right. And what happens is that kind of filters down, whatever you do, whatever you prioritize, it kind of filters down and it affects every decision you make within your program or [00:29:00] within your life. So if winning is what's most important, it's going to affect the decisions you make on game day.

It's going to affect how you treat your players. It's going to affect how you recruit, it's going to affect everything, you know? And so what we were saying was, is there another way to pursue something like success, but do it in a way which is just different, maybe more fulfilling. And so we came up with this, this concept that, you know, what, if we were to take the value of winning and just not say it's not important because again, like the external world where we're evaluating it.

But what if we, what if we bless in that and what if it was helping? What if winning championships? What if going far instead of like, what if it was actually a by-product of something else that we were searching for? So we really searched and we delve deep and we came to this conclusion that it was like, our program really is about developing women of character, like in its essence, in its truest form.

Like we have these beautiful, strong, powerful women that come into our program and a [00:30:00] seeking to live an amazing life. And they want to use soccer as a vehicle to do it. So we're like, that's really what we're trying. We're in the business of developing women of character. So that became our ultimate goal.

And we attached a mission statement to it and do all these things. So she don't want to bore you with, but that really became the vision that we were pursuing. So every single day, when we step on the field or we step up where at practice or in games like that is really the vision that we're trying to live into every day is how do we help every player in our program and our team develop into the very people that they're meant to become.

So the thing about that is, again, if that becomes your priority, then that's going to filter down in your program and it's going to affect how you treat your players. It's gonna affect how you recruit, it's going to affect the decisions you make. And I could tell you so many stories about how just shifting from winning.

To develop, developing women, that character, how it's changed our process, how we have such a closer relationship with that team. But here's the funny thing is I mentioned this before, [00:31:00] when we made that shifts, we've been as successful, if not more successful than we've ever been. When we focus less on winning, we've won more than we've ever won.

You know, like there was a point in time when this happened, we won a championship and the program had never won back to back championship. So it was kind of this, this thing is that we wanted to beat, we want to make school history. We want to be that first team to win back to back. Championships had been done before they'd won championships before, but never back to back.

And so that year that was right before we kind of made the shift. And so what happened, we won, we won that first championship after making this mindset shift as a program. And it was like, awesome. And so going into that second season again, expectation pressure, you know, and we said, no, What's our ultimate goal.

Our ultimate goal is to bet a woman of character things don't change. let's invest in that. Let's invest in our players. Let's invest in developing women of character and sure enough, we made school history and we went back to that championship and we've gone on and said, I need to say [00:32:00] that not to impress you, but to just impress upon you, like how important that singular shift of focus again, it kind of opened up and we talked about the collaboration piece.

It opened up our minds to what's possible. If we just focus on what's truly important and then anyone else takes care of itself. And so that has been a massive, massive shift for us that you know, it's, it's become everything that we do within our program. Everything that we achieve is, is a byproduct of something, a higher purpose.

A higher belief, a higher, a higher energy system that we're working towards. And so when we're always in process, we're always working towards something bigger. There's always something greater that we're searching for and it, and it gives us the fuel and energy to do the things that we do. And then also last thing, sorry, is that you'll never truly define because Carol Dweck's book Mindset, she says, if you're somebody, when you win, what does that make you when you lose?

You know what I'm saying? If you win all of a sudden, you're amazing if you lose, that was you're terrible. Now it's like when you're in process, when you're not defined by wins and losses, when you defined by [00:33:00] something bigger, something more meaningful then day to day. Okay. Results are never really gonna prevent you from living into who you're truly meant to be and what you truly have been gifted with and what God's placed you on this, on this earth to do.

And so we made that commitment and we've seen some amazing things happen, not just results wise, but even with our team and with our players and it's special. And that's, that's one of the reasons why I love working here at Pepperdine because of things like that, because of what our program is founded on.

Phil:[00:33:29] well, I love it. I want to come play for you guys so that I don't think I can. I think I got a few things going against me right now, but now I, you know, I love so much about that. And I think one of the things I can just know is happening is you're developing servant leaders. And when you develop servant leaders, I think the reason why, if you take the same set of players and you develop servant leaders in one set and you have the other set, just kind of control group where you're just having them play, focusing on soccer, you're focusing on.

The X's and O's, and you're just going to, all right. We're going to go and winning is our top of the pyramid, that [00:34:00] national championships, our goal, the servant leaders are going to play harder for each other. They're going to love each other more. They're going to they're. If they're down, they're going to say I can't let my teammate down.

I can't. I got, you know, I gotta, I'm gonna be doing it for them. I'm gonna be doing it. Not for that win, but I'm doing it for my, for my neighbor. So to speak, I'm doing it for my teammate. I'm doing it for my partner here. I'm doing for my coaches, we're doing it for each other. Right. And as coaches, you're going to love deeper.

You're going to love stronger. And it goes to organizations too. You're going to get the best out of your people when you are a servant leader and you're developing servant leaders, because again, they're going to go that extra mile for you and you're going to go the extra mile for them. And they know that.

And, and you can't fake that and you can't, you can't it has to, it truly has to be your. Goal and your mission and your vision to be able to do that and really do it. And, you know, and so you're, you're still getting the same players, but you're getting more out of those same players is how I'd, probably put it and then knowing nothing about any of the players or you know, you guys except what I've learned from you.

But that's what I [00:35:00] see. Just from what your, the mental picture I have of what you're talking about, would you, I mean, would you say you've seen that?

Max:[00:35:05] Yeah. I mean, I can give you, I can give you an example where we had a player. We have a number of stories, but, but if I think about from a player standpoint, and if we take that same philosophy and we bring it into like a play as a place picture, so we have goals that want to come in and they want to play professional.

And we have that one year at a player came in and. And it was Bree and I told the story many a times and, and so somebody on here has heard it before and I'm sorry. And but he's like, so I said, this is going to be great for Bree. She comes in one day and she says she says, and she's a freshmen, right?

She comes to, this is a number of years ago, but she was a part of that, two time WCC championship team. And so, so she came in as a freshman and she's like little itty-bitty thing. And she thinks she used to play for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. that was a club team. Like, you know, like, like a, nobody team.

She just like we did, we found her and she was just like, she's great. And I said, Tim, Tim found her, and the former system actually cubes early on in my career. So it was Twila. And, but anyways, but she ended up at Pepperdine and so I got to coach her and one day [00:36:00] she came by and she said, Hey, can I, can, can you be my mentor?

And I'm like, well, I'm your coach on I already doing that? She's like, no, no, you're coaching me. She's like, but I know you do this, this mental skills stuff, you know, can you be my mentor? And I will show her. That's awesome. She's like I have these big goals, big visions. And you know, I want you to help me get there so sure. No problem. So he's come by the office and that's the first thing. First meeting we sit down and I says, all right, I say, it's Bree. Tell me what you want. Like, let, let me, let me understand better about what this whole journey is going to be about for you. Okay. And now, again, we're kind of shifting away from the team more to the individual, you know, and she's like, okay.

She's like, well, coach, I want to be, I want to be the best player on the team. I want to be the top goal scorer on the team. I want to be the WCC player of the year. I want to be an All-American. I want to play professionally. I don't want to play on the US National Team. And I'm like, I just, that that's it only that you can like, just that, you know, like you're a freshman, like, that's it, you know, but she had these big goals, big down.

I'm like, I love it. You know, like inside inside I'm like, I love it. And I would never tell anybody that, you know, you're shooting for this [00:37:00] stuff. You know, I was like, okay, I love it. So let's, let's see if we can make it happen. So anyway, long story short, freshman year, she, she has these big goals and she does really well by the way, like she's an All-Freshman performer, but she wasn't the player of the year.

So it wasn't good enough. Right. You know, and you see this a lot in high performers. Okay. And this, this is just one idea about kind of that the idea about identity. And I think, which I deal with a lot in the business of what I do with work on mindset is dealing with people's identity.

Right. And how they connect their identity to results and playing time. Like I did play, or I didn't play an identity. So, you know, she had this idea she'll I want to be a, I want to be a pro. I want to be player of the year, but all conference wasn't good enough. You know, so she's moping around and stuff.

I would get to sophomore year. She has an amazing sophomore year. Amazing. You know, and somebody else wins the par this upstate, or that she's the plaintiff I'm like Bree, come on. Just like, so we get to like a junior year and she'd gone through this process of like, just holding herself to such a high standard there.

She was living in this realm of perfectionism, which, which for me, I feel is like one of the lowest common standards you can have [00:38:00] is because you can never reach perfection. So you're constantly in this losing battle. So finally we sat down one day and this is kind of where I'm going is as I sat down, I said, Bree, look, I'm, I'm done.

I'm tired. I'm tired of you telling me every single day what you want and make an excuses of why somebody else has what you want, you know, on top and say, stop telling me what you want. So telling me what you want and start telling me who you need to be stop telling me what you want. Let let's get, let's get real on who you need to be.

That's let's deal with that. So we went through this process of shift and again, shifting this mindset from what to who, and we got clear on who she needed to be. And. And I was, you know, going to tell you everything because it could take too long, but you know, it was like things about the health and bad training habits, things about what she was doing before practice, after practice, what she was doing socially, what she was doing spiritually, connecting to a higher purpose.

Like we said before being a servant leader, stepping outside, not creating our own, my personal agenda, but making my agenda about the team. when you have goals like that and the [00:39:00] coach has put your personal agenda aside, that's hard, right. but in the process of putting her personal agenda to the side, all of those goals and becoming that servant leader that you just said in a senior year by step focusing on the what and start focusing on the who, and in her senior year, I kid you not Phil, in her senior year.

She was the best player of the team. She was the top goal scorer on the team. She was the WCC conference player of the year. She was an all American right after we got done with season, she went to the soccer coaches convention. She got drafted. And right after she got drafted, two weeks later, the U 23 us national team called her and invited her into camp.

Everything happened. Yep. As soon as she put her own agenda aside and just shifted this focus. And so whether it's from a team perspective or individually, it works, but it's so hard for us to get out of our own way, but as soon as she did, and right now she's playing for the Houston Dash, by the way.

And in the Challenge Cup that they just had, she won it, she was on the field and she started in the championship game [00:40:00] she's having an amazing time being a professional athlete right now. And and then it's a shout out to Bree she's yeah.

Shout out to Bree. She's she's doing amazing things, but that was a process that she had to go through and it was literally, she was in her own way. And as soon as she got out of her own way, You know, just like as our team, once we got out of our own way as a team and we stepped into something higher, something bigger, a higher purpose, a big vision, amazing things happen.

So, man,I'm preaching. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm I'm

Phil:[00:40:27] I love that. I love that. I love that too, because Bree got actually got to play for Twila finally, after getting recruited by her, it sounds like at Houston, so that's pretty cool. That's kind of a fun little story there. Full

Max:[00:40:40] circle. Yeah. The Twila was amazing and I think, yeah, you're so right.

Like what an Epic story to have Twila recruits then at Twila to my left to go take her, you know, do her thing and to now, then for them to reunite and have that share that championship together was fantastic. So Twila is amazing. Yeah. Bree's amazing. So.

Phil:[00:40:59] Well, that's [00:41:00] really, I mean, and that is what, I mean, you said it, that's what it's all about, really.

I mean, when you look at that and you go, what is that bigger? What is that? I love how you said you replaced the what with the who and I, and I think that that is so important and it's also freeing. Right. It frees you from that performance, that continual performance has to be perfect. Like you said, always worried about whatever someone seeing you or, you know, and I know I have five kids for crying out loud.

I've, I've seen this with my kids there. You know, my daughter just the other day was like dad, you know, I'm hurt. Or I got too much homework, I think is what it was the other day. And my wife said, what's really your problem. What's really going on. And so she started asking and, pointed to some words on a page, as I said, my wife is a much better mother than well, much better parent than I am good.

She's definitely a better mother than I am. But but she goes, what, what words? And so my, my daughter pointed to fear and, and scared and cause she's, she started practicing with the boys and she's [00:42:00] 12. And, and so that, brought that out in her. Because she got this again, desire to perform and wants to be the best and doesn't want to make the mistakes.

And again, who are you? What is it about? Is it it's about you developing as a person, as a human, you developing as a team, as one, you know, what does that look like? And then yeah, there will be mistakes, but we're going to cover for you. And you, you have that ability that freedom to fail that comes with that identity, knowing who you are.

Right. And that's, that's something that I, when you're, self-aware, when you know who you are, we talked about self-awareness earlier, we talked about that in a previous episode with Eric Pfeiffer, if you want to go back and listen to that episode is fantastic, but that's something that is so important. And like you said, when you focus on that, who then it frees you up to play at levels, you never thought you could play at before.

And that's what, you know, with Bree, that sounds like exactly what happened, which is, I love it, love it. So, you know, going back to that recruiting conversation. In recruiting and college soccer, it really, teaches us a lot about recruiting [00:43:00] and business world. Lots of lessons we can learn from that as well.

 can you just talk a little bit about that? I know we talked about how you, even with recruiting, you're doing it a little different at Pepperdine than what you might read in a book somewhere about college soccer, Recruiting 101. And so you can share about that a little bit, and I'm sure we can find some lessons we can learn about that and outside

Max:[00:43:19] of it I mean to, to kind of keep it aligned, if you will we have a different kind of philosophy if you will, on, on recruiting because of what we prioritize in our program, you know, so with this new development women of are really, and I can say this, I know we're not the only ones to think this way, but it really does align with kind of, again, our vision and our mission, which is that, when you look at who you want, right.

We just said, who you want? Who do you want an, a program for us. It's always character. First people first, like talent second, you know what I'm saying? Like when we go, we will, we'll identify some really great players. We're lucky enough that we get some of the best players in the country to come play for us, you know?

And, and we're very, very blessed and fortunate for that, [00:44:00] but that is not, we're not interested in, in just that, you know what I'm saying? And so, so for us, it's, you could be a great player, but if, if you're not a great cousin, if you don't have a great heart, great character, then it's just not going to work.

You know, it's not going to work. And I remember Tim, I was not privileged, but to our stories, Tim I remember Tim telling me about one of, one of Pepperdine, old time, great captains. And it was before my time, but Tim has mentioned this over and over again. He said he was a field one day recruiting and he was went to watch this player and they were out in the field and their team lost, okay.

The team lost. And as you know, when you you're, you know, your. The complex and there's like 50 fields. Right. You know, it's like just so many people everywhere. And so he's, he's going up and down the touchline and I think he stayed to watch part of the next game. And so the team that just played that last with the player that he went to watch, they went over into the corner, you know, and they're waiting for their coach and they're waiting for the parents and that sort of stuff.

And they're doing the core down. [00:45:00] And so he happened to walk by this team when this kind of just lost. And I think they, they, it was a semi-final match and they had a chance to make the champion. So I don't think they made it to the championship match. And he said he will pass. And as he walked past that player that he was looking at, he heard, he heard this player say, come on ladies, get your heads up, pick your heads up.

He's like, well, she said, sorry. She said, pick your heads up. She's like, I know we lost this match, but we've got another game to play for us. So we gotta, we gotta, we gotta be, we gotta be right. So stay positive and she's. And she had these like inspiring words. He said he walked past. He said in that moment is that that's going to be my future captain at Pepperdine.

It had no bearing on how she just played right. In that moment. It's like, that's a player needs to play Pepperdine because a character was coming out in that moment. And so, for us, again, we get to see a lot of talent, but really, it's about, who you are as a person.

And can you marry that ability to be a great player, but also be a great teammate and when we go out and we recruit in, that's something that we're very vigilant [00:46:00] and there's different ways in which we evaluate that. But for Tim, that was just a choice moment. It just, it was indirect.

he was just happened to be walking on to the next field. But in that moment, it was a window into that person's heart, a window into that person's mind. And that told Tim in that moment, that everything that he needed to know about. Who she would go on to become, right. And that type of woman of character that we were trying to recruit into the program.

and so that's how we worked through some of these things is,  we start, yes, for sure with talent, you have to be talented to play at the highest level, but ultimately to sustain a career and to go on and do the things you want to do characters, is, what will take you there?

And then I think the second thing, if I just, I could tell about a lot things, but if I, I think that the other thing that I think is important that we talk about a lot is when it comes and this may be for anybody that parents or anybody that's listening to this to let recruits. And I think we talk a lot about, there's a difference between going somewhere, that you want to be at.

Versus a place that you're meant to be at so many people you get into this side, you know, I know financial reasons, right? There's [00:47:00] going to be scholarships and all these different things. There's reasons why you would go to a school, right? You'd like the school that given you're a good, a good scholarship and so on and so forth.

But ultimately when you look at it, when we talk about the scope of like, for instance, transferring that you see now, so many people are transferring, but why they transformed because ultimately because so many people are committing so early now, it's like, do they really know what they are committing to and who they are committing to and what type of culture they're committing to.

And there's a lot of amazing schools out there. And there's a lot of amazing opportunities, a lot of choices, but we actually almost do it as crazy as it is Phil. We almost do like a reverse recruit. Most people tell the recruit, everything about their, their program, that school that's amazing.

We tell them all the bad stuff. We tell them how hard it's going to be, we tell  them, how tough it's going to be. We tell them all the reasons why they should. And we're like, if you are still in love with Pepperdine after you've heard all that, then maybe this is where you're meant to be, but going to a place that gives you a fuzzy feelings, like I, you know, I want to be [00:48:00] there when the going gets tough, what's going to keep you there.

You see what I'm saying? knowing why you're you are where you are, is really really important. And I think that sort of the fact that so many people are committing so early, and again, I'm not going to get into like, whether I think that's a good thing or a bad thing, but the fact that so many people are committing at such early ages and then you've got the rising trends.

So I'm like, well, why is that happening? Because, When you finally get there and you realize that the team is not what you thought it would be, or the coaching staff is not who they thought they would be. And again, not, not to speak badly about any coaching staff. But it's just, you got to know what you're getting into.

And I think that ultimately what we try to do as it should, we try to do a lot of that on the front end and we try and tell him all of the tough stuff. And then we say, look, if you're meant to be at Pepperdine, if you are in love with Pepperdine or anywhere, right. UCX or you see Y whatever it's going to be.

But when you're, when you like, feel like you're meant to be there, you're destined to be there. You know, you can go there and you can make a difference in that program and that programs and that school is going to make a difference in you. [00:49:00] That's a different place to come from. You don't transfer it from a place like that when you're in a place to know where you're meant to be, you know, and.

And so it's a slight difference. So that mindset shift, it's a little thing, but I think it makes a big difference go into place. You want to be versus a place where you feel like you're meant to be that you're in love with. By and large, I say, I feel like we've done a pretty good job.

Our transfer rate is pretty low. And and I think that because we try and get the right people. We're not looking for the best people. We're looking for the right people. Yeah. So anyways, that's a lot, but but it's it recruiting is a huge thing.

it's a massive thing

Phil:[00:49:31] It's a massive thing in every, in every arena. I mean, I remember as an, when I was an attorney and they talked about every employee to train them up costs about $150,000 for the onboarding process for a new attorney. So that's why retention is so important to really good organizations.

Now, not every organization has that kind of ramp up onboarding. Fortunately, my organization would not exist if we had that, but that's the reality now, I don't know where all those numbers come from, but it's a very expensive [00:50:00] proposition. Right. And, I transferred, you know, I went to school cause I kind of knew in my heart of hearts, it wasn't the right fit, but I wanted to play D-1 doggone it.

So I was going to go to this school and I went and I confirmed my kind of inner, an understanding that it wasn't for me and, you know, and that's fine. And if that's the case then, but I would have it would've been better. I think of course I learned all kinds of lessons, all that. Yeah. You know that, but so it would have been a very different experience if I would've gone somewhere else.

I don't regret a minute of my life. But to that point, I absolutely agree with that, but I want to go back to the, to the character part. 'cause it's easy to say, like, we want to go for character. But how do you actually see that outside of those moments? Because you're not going to get that moment with every player that you recruit.

So whether it's, you know, organizations listening in or other college coaches or, you know, I don't know, there's no secret. It's not like there's some secret formula, but obviously that's important to you. So you're looking for it, but you're not always going to see those moments [00:51:00] where you see the kid yelling at their mom or you see the kid, you know, have given their mom a big hug after the game.

You're just not going to see these things most of the time. And so how do you get that in an interview? Because if people hear that and know that they want, that they could give the right answer and it's hard to know, so you're not perfect, but how do you suss that out as you're going through that recruiting process,

Max:[00:51:19] that's why it's a great, it's a great, great I wish I had a, a straightforward answer that I could give you, but it's like, I think part of it is not rushing the process.

So I can give an example of somebody, obviously I'm not outside to soar, like the ocean's right behind me outside of my office. Right. A lot of people, they come to campus on their visits and they see the ocean and they see, Pepperdine and they see Malibu and I'm like, Oh my God.

You know? and the like, I want to commit, you know, and they we're like, Whoa, like we actually tell people don't do it. Don't I, we actually push people away and it will make sense. And just a second, we're like, you need to go see other schools you need to, you need to do that time.

And what that also allows us to do [00:52:00] is to continue to. Have conversations with them and continue to talk to them and to continue to watch them and continue to, you know, when they come to campus too, and they come with their parents, like you said, I'm sure there is to some extent that is, you know, they're trying to put their best foot forward and stuff, but you're not going to be able to just walk out on the field, see somebody two times say, yeah, that's the one, right?

Like for us, we might have, I'm going to have a relationship with a, with a recruit for a year, you know, or a year and a half, like just talking, communicating, getting to know them, asking subtle questions, seeing how they respond to it. And over time you get a sense of who they are based on that repetitive kind of situation where you're constantly connecting with them.

And then I think something takes out, which is just that intuition, right? That just intuition you kind of that energy or that vibration, you just kind of, you connect with people and you feel certain energies and you like. She's got it. You know what I'm saying? There's something about her. She's got it.

And I, that's the thing that I can't tell you, you know, there's something we'll be as a staff. We're like, you know what? She's, she's got [00:53:00] something, but what I can tell you is that we don't get to that intuition. Like she's got it after watching a three times play and then be like, yeah, that's the one. Like, it it's more than that.

So, so our process of evaluating people is very extensive. And when I say extensive, it's not extensive of just, just watching them play. It's having conversations, obviously when we're allowed to permissible through the NCAA rules. But when, when we can have those phone conversations with them, when we can email back and forth and we can do all of these things and just the, the knowledge that you gain over that time gives us a, almost like a base to then confirm is our intuition.

Correct. You know what I'm saying? And so it's those two things I think combined in one thing you can control, the questions you ask the times you go watch them play when they come visit, you know, The one thing you can't necessarily control, is that feeling that you get in your heart of like this person I felt like she's meant to be here.

It goes back to that question. Right? Do we, do we want her, or do we feel like she's meant to be here? So how we would ask [00:54:00] a player that we asked as a coaching staff too, you know, do we just want her, or do we honestly feel like she's meant to be here, you know? And that's the part that's sometimes tough   But it's an enjoyable part too.

It's an enjoyable process. It can be frustrating too, but awesome.

Phil:[00:54:14] totally. And you probably won't bat a thousand on it, but you know, what, if you have, a good 90% success rate, that's pretty darn good. I think that's organizations too, you know, you're not going to be perfect.

There will be people that slip through the cracks. There will be people that fool you and say the right things and have the right answers, whatever. But for the most part, like you said, when you take your time with it, when you extended out, you can maybe fool them once, maybe twice, but you know, if you have that multiple conversation, you're asking the right questions and you're, you know, like you said, if they come with their parents, just watch them.

And, and I, I wanna say out there parents, if you're listening actually, you know, anybody listening, whether you're, you're going to be probably interviewing for something at some point. And the reality is people are looking for a lot of different things. And so, be yourself. Because here's the thing.

If if you're going to be faking it, then it's probably [00:55:00] not the fit for you. If you're gonna be faking it to try to be somebody else, anybody ever asks me advice on interviewing, I say to them be yourself, because if you're not yourself, there'll be hiring somebody else and then you'll be miserable.

They'll be miserable. And so just don't do it. So I, I will say, but I, I love the, I love the focus on that. I think it's why you guys are doing what you're doing. It's why I'm having you on really be able to share that, stuff because it's I know Paul, my, my co-host, I don't know Baylor he's he has a similar philosophy is if you listen to the first interview I did.

And I know he's just gonna be geeking out on this interview too, cause he's going to love it. So anyway Before we get in the last couple of questions we always have for everybody. I want to just really quickly give you a chance to talk about what you're doing.

You mentioned Life to the Max earlier. You know, obviously people can find out about it, let them know where they can find all the information. I know you have some different courses people can do, but just give a little blurb on what you guys are doing there, because I think it relates to, the fact that you're doing all that stuff.

I know bleeds into what you're doing and vice [00:56:00] versa at Pepperdine. So I think it'll tell people more about those different philosophies and the mindset stuff, especially that you're talking about. Yeah,

Max:[00:56:07] I appreciate the opportunity to share that yet. So that means that the whole journey that I shared right back to the beginning, you know, from Reading to America, to Georgia, to Illinois, to California, along this time, so much of it has been about understanding why people do what they do.

And so, a long time ago I knew that There was this reach that I wanted to have. And so the impact that I wanted to create, it was important to me. And so soccer is one of the vehicles to do that, but it quickly became apparent to me that it's not the only way. And so through the, development of, better understanding, why elite athletes, why elite teams teams, why coaches, why leaders do what they do.

I start to formulate a plan to be able to share with people. And so, it really is based off of one question, I would say if I was to boil it down, I'd say that there was literally one question that all of my programs, my coaching, everything is built off of it. And it's, this is, what is the difference between good and great.

[00:57:00] That really is it like I've become obsessed and really fascinated with trying to figure out what is the difference between good and great. and it used to be like good and great like success. But as I've gotten older, it's, it's evolved into what is the difference between good and great in every area of life.

It's just like how I love, how you've, you've kind of married this idea of what soccer can teach us about life and leadership and stuff. I got this, it's the same thing. I'm like, what's the difference between a good player and a great player? Well, good results, great results. Well, a good team and great team, good culture and great culture.

But what's the difference between a good marriage and a great marriage, a good relationship and a great relationship. What's different between being a good husband and a great husband, but there's so many principles that we learn through sports can teach us about life. so a lot of my work is obviously based around performance and high performance, but it really then carries over into life.

Just like with the Bree story. You know what I'm saying? she learned about how to reach all of the goals in soccer, but she's gone on to become this amazing human being and. and I'm grateful that she attributes that to the work we did and it was mainly her, you know, it wasn't, it was not me.

I [00:58:00] just kind of provided an opportunity for her to share, share those things. So, so yeah. So, so this Life to the Max have a number of programs, online programs, coaching courses, group coaching courses that I do like through COVID have been able to work with with a lot of coaches, you know, they're not been able to be with their team.

So a lot of coaches and leaders have kind of seek out what I've been doing. And we've had these group coaching courses in.  and I'm just, I like you say, you said you can count it. Like I love this stuff. And, and I think that it's give us a little information on how they can, can reach it.

But where I started with this, I started a lot of people would, would ask me how can I help them as athletes? And that was kind of primarily where it started. Then it became about teams. as team would call me up, how can you help me? But where I've moved into is, is this is okay. Is I knew for me personally, I was like, you know, as a leader and as a coach, we give so much of ourselves to our team and we give so much of ourselves to our players and I'm, and I was like, feeling this thing about, you know, what's the difference between good and great.

I'm like, who's, who's helping those coaches. who's [00:59:00] helping those coaches to understand their higher purpose. Right? You go back to that triangle, who's helping a coach understand what their vision is and what their personal mission is. So they can go back and be an even better leader and create an even bigger impact for their team.

And so, so a lot of my work is now working with other leaders of the high-performance leaders and coaches that so they can actually, so rather than me work with their team, I work with a coach and then they go back and they work with their teams. And so I'm really getting into that as well, but also to say it's really about bringing people together to discover what's possible.

And and I have a website it's www.maxrooke.com. So Max, Rooke, M A X Rooke, R O O K E. So www.maxrooke.com. You can find out what the information or go lots of free resources on there. I've done a few webinars that are free on there. There's some few challenges. You can sign up for my my maximum ones where I just, you know, send out a bunch of videos that I do lessons and stuff.

So, yeah, there's a lot of free stuff that you can get in there. And obviously a lot of people have done some of my [01:00:00] programs, but I really it's about answering that question is how can we help people become their best selves? How can we take them from good to great, and I'm having so much fun doing it, you know, partnering what we do at Pepperdine, but also with the Life to the Max.

And It's a great fusion,

Phil:[01:00:14] if you will. Yeah, yeah. I totally agree with that. I looked at some of the stuff and I haven't been through it. I'd probably be a better person if I had, but you know, my kids are keeping me a little busy right now, so one of these days, one of these days.

But I definitely recommend checking it out. Folks, if you haven't seen the website, you can go check out the website, get the show notes, you can get the link there. He also gave you the link a few minutes ago. So that's something that we have that is a great, another great resource out there that you guys can use.

We're going to get to a couple other resources here in a few minutes, but before we get there the question I always love how have you used the lessons? You've, you know, we talked about it throughout the thing, but I just want, I'm looking for like, lessons on the field that you know, that you've learned directly from the game that you are using in your marriage.

Really other areas [01:01:00] outside of the football pitch.

Max:[01:01:01] Work work, work, work, work. Like when I, when I say work everything takes, takes diligence, been married for 13, almost 13 amazing years. And my beautiful wife is, one of most important things in the life. but marriage can be, can be tough.

It takes work. Just like winning championships. It takes work. So I think first of all, I'd say that being willing to go deep, you know what I'm saying? Like, I don't, I've never been a part of a team that wasn't willing to go deep to get where they wanted, you know what I'm saying? So going deep, working hard.

And then, because it is, but I'm like being go back to the idea of being part of a team, but like serving, serving, serving at the highest level, you know, like, The secret to living, right?, the secret to living is giving, you know, that thing that Tony Robbins was one that said one that said that I said the secret to living is giving. And the secret to great teams is giving the secrets to a great relationship. And a great marriage is giving the secrets, [01:02:00] who to, anything in life is giving, you know?

and so the beautiful game, like I love how you say the beautiful game. I love it. And now I'm going, going in a, in a perspective now, but I'm like yet the beautiful game, like beautiful things in life. They come when you give,  and that's really go back to day one. When I was a little kid, like early on, you learn as a part of the team and  playing soccer that got to give you, going to give you, we good effort.

You gotta be selfless, but giving will lead to amazing things, you know? So I dunno, I'm getting a little sentimental, but I don't know if that's the answer you're looking for, but I got sentimental there, but, but service, yeah, going deep, going deep willing to work hard. And then at its core, just, being willing to serve.

Phil:[01:02:46] Never looking for a particular there's no wrong answer to that question. There's no answer is the only wrong answer, I guess. But you know, as you were talking about, you got to give, I was thinking I'm gonna take it down to like, totally, you're gone with sentimental about to [01:03:00] cry and I'm going to bring it back so that we can, you know, get the tears out and just say all I thought about when you were talking about that, I was talking frozen.

I was thinking all kinds of biblical verses, you know, about Jesus serving. And I came to serve, not to be served and, you know, to see the servant, you know, to serve, to serve, to serve. I mean, that's all you hear, but what I, all I thought about from soccer is you can't have the go without the give, right? So on the, on the wall pass, right?

I mean the, the receiving, but you, you know, you can't have that forward movement. without that giving someone is going to give to you and you, and that's just those services, you know, we've talked about the assist versus the goal and the assist is just as valuable.

Max:[01:03:42] Why you said that, why you said that now I'm going to date myself back to, to the late nineties when I was playing at Mercer, back when I Macon, Georgia, I told you about, yeah, we had, we had, we had some pretty good teams and there was a guy that I played that came, also came over from England.

I didn't know him when I was in England, but we met when we came over here with two English guys [01:04:00] that came over the same time. He was a striker and I was the midfielder. And he would score the goals and I would, I would serve him. I would assist him. Right. And I have the assist record and stuff like that, but we were known as Batman and Robin.

He was Batman and I was Robin and I'm like, what does Robin do? Robin serves? Robin serves, Batman was like, say, I'm like I was Robin. So I guess I was born to serve. So, yeah, that was, somebody did an article on us one time and they're like, Hey, Batman and Robin. And I was like, all right, I don't mind being Robin in if it means that we, you know, we're successful and we achieve our goals.

I have no problem being Robin. So, Everybody can't be Batman.

Phil:[01:04:31] That's why you're teaching leadership right now, because you know, the best, the best leaders have fun followed and know how to follow up. And so that's something that's super critical to, to know and understand. And I love that. And I will say you know, Mercer, it's funny when you said Macon I'm like, Oh, you went to Mercer.

I forgot about that. In fact, Paul and I actually am a co-host here. We have our connection in Atlanta. We were back there right around the same time, early two thousands, but fun, little Georgia connection, random, but but kind of cool. So, last question. What have you read, [01:05:00] watched or listened to recently that has impacted your thinking on how soccer explains life and leadership?

Max:[01:05:05] great question, lots and lots, but I'll bring it back to our team because I feel, I feel like, you know, whatever we're working on as a team right now, I think that that kind of resonates with me. So, so each year we have these different themes, like lots of teams do, and we read the book Legacy by James the book Legacyabout the New Zealand All Blacks.

I'm sure a lot of other people listening will have read that if you haven't, I suggest you do, but it really talks about the culture of the All Blacks. And it kind of just relates really to that idea that we talked about with having that higher purpose and what their higher, higher purpose is, and a program that Is the winning it, I believe something, you probably read it before. Right? So it's like the winningest program at the highest winning percentage in the, in all sports combined, like take every sport across the entire world. This one team has the most successful, you know, win rate, if you will, in the history of, that their existence and yet what they value [01:06:00] is not what you would think, you know, what they prioritize is not what you would think goes back to the whole shift of mentality that shift in focus and that shift in mindset and reading, that was just a real eye-opener.

And it always, it was kind of a little bit like we were reading pieces of, what we do at Pepperdine, not everything, but there were some pieces like, Oh, we do that. And, and it was really reaffirming to know that we're on the right track, but also we have, we still have growth. But yeah. Great book.

Great read. The way it's written is fantastic. The stories in there are unbelievable. The principles are amazing. You can apply it to life. You can apply it to business. You can apply it to sports. Any team would benefit from reading that the coach would benefit from reading that. So you have great book and then obviously the first chapter sweep the sheds.

It's awesome. Right? Yup. Yup. Never be never be too big to do the little things that need to get done. So what So, yeah, that's great.

Phil:[01:06:45] That's great. But yeah, I love it. We actually, you don't have to go back and listen to Graham Roxburgh, the  head coach, actually my daughter's coach up at Trinity Western.

We had a show. he's the one who introduced me to the book because he was going through it with his team up there. And we talked to about [01:07:00] two or three of the chapters during my interview with him. So, you know, you'll love that. You'll love that interview for many reasons, but that's, that's a cool thing.

And then a previous guest, you know, I don't know when this is going to air. Exactly, but also recommended it. So in what 12 episodes now we've are 13 or however many we are at this point when it airs have recommend that book. So if there's nothing, I kind of have a rule in life of three people that I respect, recommend a book.

I gotta read it.  And so, you know, Spiritual Leadership is one of my favorite books in the world. I Oswald Sanders, he said something that's always stuck with me, which is choose your books like you choose your friends. and I'm gonna tell you right now, Legacy is one that will be worth your time.

If you haven't read it already, a lot of people have a lot of people know about it, but if you haven't check it out, it's an easy read. It's one that I went through with my high school team. So there is some language here and there there's some things that you might need to. Yeah.

Max:[01:07:48] If you're working in an old school, one old school, one could go back to now flip it back to mindset and old-school one is Napoleon Hill think and grow rich.

That is an old school kind of like, you know, business one, but a great [01:08:00] thing on mindset is it's a oldie, but goodie. So Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich.

Phil:[01:08:06] Yeah. You already talked about Mindset by Carol Dweck too, which is another great book on mindset. but yeah, there's, so much out there I love and you know, the one thing I love about this question is we are able to get more resources that we can talk about.

Some are fun. Some are, some are deep, some are serious. You know, I think the great thing about Legacy is it mixes a lot of those things. It also is interdisciplinary. And I think the funny thing is the most recommended book in this entire how soccer explains leadership shows so far is a rugby book which I think speaks a lot to the fact that we can learn from other disciplines we can learn from other sports.

We can learn from other things, which is kind of the point of this show, if you haven't caught that already. And so I'm hoping that you're catching onto that. I'm hoping, you're thinking that way. I'm hoping you're seeing these different connections. but you know, before I get in, I'm already starting to like close out the show, but I haven't thanked you yet.

So thank you, Max. I very much appreciate you being on and really what you're doing, all that you're doing at Pepperdine. encouraging me, to me, it's, it's always inspiring to me to see [01:09:00] these programs, you know, cause I obviously have five kids, four of 'em are, you know, have this aspirations to play at that next level to see coaches like you doing it.

Encourages me. So thank you. Keep it up.

Max:[01:09:10] thank you for having me. Right back at you. I already told you before that we are all in process of creating impact and you are, impacting lives brothers. So I really appreciate everything that you're doing and appreciate you having me on.

So keep it up yourself. You doing great. Thanks. Thank you.

Phil:[01:09:26] Well, always encouraging. Thanks. Thanks Max. Very much. Appreciate it very much. Appreciate what you're doing. Folks, you know, if you have kids that are really, really good soccer players with high character check out Pepperdine, it's really not a bad place to visit anyway.

So just have a trip out there, informal recruiting trip, even if they don't invite you check it out. So, as always, I want to just thank you for taking your time to be a part of this show just by listening in you're part of this. I've always said to people when they get involved with my organization, whether you like it or not, you're part of the family now.

So, I would like to say the same thing to you, or do you consider that? So please connect with us. If you have any questions. [01:10:00] Comments things you want to share ways this has impacted you. People you think you want to think would be good on the show. If you're one of those people that you think would be a good fit for the show, send me an email phil@howsoccerexplainsleadership.com.

I'll get back to you. And I look forward to hearing those comments and again, questions, Paul and I will answer those questions on our, episodes that we do together too. So if you want to share those questions, but mostly I just hope that you take all that you're learning through this episode, through all the episodes you listen into through these different resources, we're giving you a pray that you take these things, you learn from them and you understand them and you help all of these things will come together and help you to understand better and better how you can improve your leadership through soccer and through all the lessons you're learning through it.

So thanks a lot, folks. Have a great week.