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Chasity Melvin: Phoenix Mercury Assistant Coach – Work In Sports Podcast
30th September 2020 • The Work in Sports Podcast - Insider Advice for Sports Careers • Brian Clapp - Work in Sports
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The Work in Sports podcast is brought to you by EMPOWRD This is the most important election of our time. And let’s be honest, voting during a pandemic is a little confusing right now. There is so much misinformation out there aimed toward making you believe your vote doesn’t matter  Well, your vote does matter.   Voting is the most important responsibility of citizens. Don’t give up that power or that right! Get engaged, informed & ready to vote - all with ONE app.  You know who is engaged, informed and ready to vote with EMPOWRD -  Trey Flowers,  Detroit Lions Whitney Mercilus, Houston Texans Justin Reid, Houston Texans Anfernee Simons, Portland Trailblazers  All of these top athletes are out there supporting this great app that will make it easier for you to get all the information you need to vote!  Download the app today at EMPOWRD.com  Alright - let’s start the countdown… Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast. There are many attributes and traits that intrigue me about professional athletes. Throughout my career in the sports media I’ve often found myself interviewing pro athletes and thinking to myself, what makes them different? I worked hand in hand with NFL MVP Shaun Alexander for a few years and kept asking him questions, probing at his background his development as an athlete, his experience being the absolute best every phase of his life… I asked so many questions I think he got annoyed with me  No that’s not true, Shaun is one of the kindest, most gracious athletes you could ever encounter.  You see, I’m one of those people that looks for patterns. Is it where they grew up? how early they started training? Is it a passion that is born within that can’t be controlled only fostered? Is it purely size and speed? Game intelligence and instincts? I’d ask Shaun specific questions like, how did you know to cut that direction on a play -- that didn’t look like it was open at all?! and he’d go into a complex discussion of the blocking scheme, but eventually admit, instincts take over. So is that it? Is it born from within?  This would go round and round and round and round. Finally one day, two years into our friendship - he gave me the answer.  As he would explain it -- The baseline qualification is that you have the elite athletic combination -  fast, strong, size, weight...that gets you to college. It doesn’t get you beyond that.  To get to the pro’s and potentially elite level, long, award-winning, triumphant career, requires elite competitiveness. The belief that you need to outwork, outsmart, and out manuever everyone else.  That when you line up to play, you raise your ability to an entirely new level. That when your season is done, all you can think about is how you will improve for the next turn. This style of competitiveness cozy’s up, very close, to obsession. Nothing else matters but competing. This is also why so many elite players struggle with mental health issues during their playing days -- not being quite elite enough, not handling the pressure well enough, not having enough outlets for their anguish.  Imagine being this hardwired to compete on everything, and then having a day where your body just can’t do it anymore. In 2005 Shaun ran for 1880 yards and 27 touchdowns - he won the league MVP award. In 2008, just three years later  he carried that ball 11 times for the Washington Football Team  and was released. He was 31 years old.  What do you do with all that competitiveness when your body just can’t do it anymore? How do you transition to a different life and world. The world literally sees you different. YOu couldn’t walk down the street without being mobbed before, now you walk down the street and people wonder quietly...is that...nah, can’t be.  This mental adjustment, this transition, is just another obstacle in the journey of being ...

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