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Beyond the Podium: The Secrets of GOATs

Dr. Phil goes into the intricate world of sports excellence, exploring the toll of competitive athletics on children, the dangers of financial windfalls on pro-athletes, and the delicate balance between mental health and mental performance. Join us as we unravel the secrets of achieving the status of the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) in sports and the relentless pursuit of perfection.

This Episode Features:

Jennifer Sey is an American author, filmmaker, business executive and retired artistic gymnast (1986 USA Gymnastics National Champion, and a 7-time member of the U.S. Women's National Team).

Dr. Corey Yeager, Researcher. Activist. Marriage & Family Therapist. Sports & Entertainment Life Coach, Psychotherapist for the Detroit Pistons. and author of the book, “How Am I Doing? 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself,”

Dr. Anne Shadle, Director of Mental Performance at New York Jets, Senior Research Performance Psychologist, 2x NCAA National Champion and former professional runner.

Dr. Daniel Amen, physician, adult and child psychiatrist, and founder of Amen Clinics with 11 locations across the U.S.

Jim Gray. a twelve-time Emmy Award-winner and a legendary figure in sports broadcasting. .



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In this episode "Beyond the Podium: The Secrets of GOATs" learn:

  • The Addictive Desire for Perfection: Understand the compelling desire that drives athletes to touch perfection repeatedly, making the pursuit of greatness an addictive journey.

  • The Intrinsic Drive of GOATs: Explore the common internal drive and hunger shared by GOATs that cannot easily be taught, emphasizing their relentless pursuit of achievement and success.

  • Beyond Financial Gain: Discover how elite athletes endure sacrifices and discipline motivated by a deeper form of currency, such as achievement, recognition, or personal fulfillment, rather than just financial gain.

  • Commitment and Integrity: Examine how the pursuit of perfection by GOATs reflects a deep commitment and integrity, showcasing their determination to honor their sport, themselves, and the larger human endeavor.

Jennifer Sey faced immense challenges in gymnastics, from early passion to the dark side of the sport. The story reveals the sacrifices, pressures, and the pervasive culture of abuse that she and many others endured.

[00:00:40] Early Passion: Jennifer started gymnastics at six, influenced by Nadia Comaneci's 1976 performance. Limited options for girls in sports; gymnastics stood out.

[00:02:01] Passion Turns Serious: By age seven, Jennifer knew gymnastics was more than a sport. The narrow window for success created early intensity, training four days a week for 2-3 hours.

[00:02:59] Family Sacrifices: Gymnastics affected the entire family. Moving for coaching, sacrifices made, and challenges faced. Pressure on Jennifer to excel, and family dynamics shifted.

[00:05:09] Pressure and Body Image: Intense pressure led to training on a broken ankle, severe injuries, and rampant fat-shaming. Weighed twice a day, bullied for small weight changes, contributing to eating disorders.

[00:07:16] Culture of Abuse: Jennifer's memoir, "Chalked Up," exposed the culture of abuse in gymnastics. Sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse were prevalent. Jennifer faced backlash and threats.

[00:10:25] Cognitive Dissonance: Gymnasts, conditioned to believe it's their fault, often close ranks in a cult-like atmosphere. "Athlete A," the documentary, connects Nassar's story to a larger culture of abuse.

[00:11:30] Irony of Silence: Those suffering the abuse often justify it in their minds, blaming themselves. "Athlete A" prompted athletes to recognize and name the abuse they endured.

Take Action:

Dr. Corey Yeager's insights shed light on the challenges faced by athletes and the broader community, advocating for deeper conversations and real models to guide individuals toward better-informed decisions.

[00:13:04] Introduction to Dr. Corey Yeager: A NBA psychotherapist and author of the insightful book "How Am I Doing: 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself." Dr. Yeager shares his journey into the world of psychotherapy, inspired by his grandmother's wisdom and a desire to support and engage with others.

[00:15:19] Finding Purpose in Academia: Dr. Yeager's path led him back to academia after a stint at Ford Motor Company. His wife's encouragement pushed him to pursue a degree, and he discovered a passion for psychology. The decision to become a therapist was a life-changing choice that has shaped his career.

[00:16:58] Financial Challenges in Professional Sports: Transitioning to a discussion on professional athletes, particularly in the NFL, Dr. Phil and Dr. Yeager explore the financial challenges many face. They emphasize the lack of guidance on managing sudden wealth and the importance of having deep, meaningful conversations about financial responsibility.

[00:18:45] The Balancing Act of Wealth and Performance: Dr. Yeager shares a poignant story of a drafted player who suddenly had millions in his bank account but lacked understanding of financial management. The balancing act between managing wealth, dealing with external pressures, and maintaining on-field performance is a significant struggle for many athletes.

[00:20:33] Addressing the Stigma Around Psychological Support: Dr. Phil raises the question of why professionals like Dr. Yeager are not more widely utilized in sports. Dr. Yeager highlights the stigma associated with seeking psychological support, especially in the athletic community. The exploitation of athletes and the lack of emphasis on these crucial conversations contribute to the ongoing struggles.

[00:21:50] Role Models and Financial Struggles: Dr. Yeager discusses the role of role models, emphasizing the need for "real models" – individuals who can provide consistent guidance and wisdom. He addresses the allure of flashy lifestyles, especially in communities with limited access to generational wealth, and the misconception that material possessions equate to financial security.

[00:22:17] Curiosity and Awareness: The conversation concludes with Dr. Yeager highlighting the importance of curiosity and awareness in making informed decisions. He stresses that his role as a therapist is not to change individuals but to be curious with them, fostering awareness and the potential for positive change.

Dr. Anne Shadle's expertise lies in unlocking the mental potential of athletes, preparing them for pressure, and helping them maintain focus and control in critical moments. The key takeaways include goal-setting, self-reflection, and commitment to a mental performance routine.

[00:25:06] Introduction to Dr. Anne Shadle: A two-time NCAA national track and field champion with a PhD in health education, focuses on mental performance rather than mental health. Her research delves into the psycho-emotional challenges faced by Olympic gold medal-winning athletes.

[00:26:12] Dissecting Mindsets: Shadle's journey began with a passion for understanding how the mind influences physical performance. Her exercise science degree led her to explore the psychology of successful athletes, dissecting the mindset of those who consistently excel.

[00:27:17] Pressure and Preparation: The conversation shifts to pressure, and Shadle talks about the importance of preparation for critical moments. While some argue pressure doesn't exist, Shadle believes in preparing athletes to thrive in high-stakes situations. The best athletes live for these moments, maintaining focus and control.

[00:28:43] Strategy for Handling Pressure: Taking control of the moment, staying focused, and blocking out distractions. Shadle mentions the significance of routine, citing examples like making a winning free throw in basketball.

[00:30:40] Impact of Distractions: illustrated by athletes tightening up in crucial moments, such as match point in tennis. Shadle underscores the challenge of keeping the mind in the present but emphasizes training the mind to stay focused on the task.

[00:31:51] A Tailored Approach: Shadle highlights the collective and individual aspects of her work. While addressing mental performance with teams, she tailors approaches to individual players based on their unique profiles and needs.

[00:32:10] Growing Acceptance: When introducing mental performance, Shadle encounters a mix of skepticism and curiosity. However, she notes a growing acceptance of the importance of mental performance in sports as the sports science frontier expands.

[00:33:24] The Reward: The conversation turns to the rewarding aspect of Shadle's work – witnessing players enhance their focus and efficiency through mental skills development.

[00:34:02] Three Key Focuses: Setting clear goals, investing in psychology through self-reflection, and committing to a routine even on challenging days.

[00:36:35] Privilege: Dr. Phil shares a personal story about a transformative moment in his youth when a less privileged team defeated them due to their hunger and motivation. This experience fueled his lifelong interest in understanding human motivation.

Dr. Daniel Amen discusses outcomes from Amen Clinics, and the effectiveness of their approach in treating complex cases and decreasing stigma. Utilizing comprehensive information and reducing stigma leads to better outcomes in mental health treatment.

[00:38:41] Brain Resilience: Dr. Daniel Amen, a renowned expert, has transformed lives by altering brains through clinics, bestselling books, and TV programs. Head trauma, even small and repetitive, affects the brain. The brain's resilience allows improvement with proper steps. Understanding the impact of head trauma, even minor, on brain health and the potential for improvement.

[00:40:14] NFL and Traumatic Brain Injury: Dr. Amen shares insights from an NFL study, emphasizing the brain's ability to heal in a proper environment. Creating a healing environment is crucial for brain recovery, as seen in the NFL study.

[00:40:22] Rehabilitation Program: The NFL study highlights brain damage in players, but 80% show improvement on a rehabilitation program involving brain health education, vitamins, fish oil, and a brain boost. Rehabilitation programs, including brain health education and supplements, significantly improve brain function in NFL players.

[00:43:06] Simple Brain Health Solutions: Dr. Amen stresses the simplicity of brain health solutions, including B6, B12, folic acid, fish oils, and a brain boost. Basic supplements, when combined, can contribute significantly to brain health improvement.

[00:43:49] Stigma Around Mental Health: Dr. Phil discusses the stigma around mental health and the reluctance of individuals, especially professionals like police officers, to seek help. The importance of studying the brain for answers is emphasized. Studying the brain provides crucial answers, offering a paradigm shift in mental health discussions.

[00:46:11] Asian Culture and Mental Health: Dr. Amen shares experiences from training in Hawaii, emphasizing the shift from mental illness to brain health discussions, reducing shame and increasing motivation for improvement. Changing the conversation from mental illness to brain health reduces stigma and encourages improvement.

[00:48:47] Challenging Psychiatric Paradigm: Suicide rates have increased, showcasing the existing stigma in mental health. Dr. Amen challenges the current psychiatric paradigm, advocating for a new approach focusing on biological data. The current mental health paradigm needs a shift towards biological data for better outcomes.

Beyond the Podium:The Secrets of GOATs

Beyond the Podium: The Secrets of GOATs: Dr. Phil explores the essence of greatness in sports with 12-time Emmy Award-winning sportscaster, Jim Gray. They discuss the common thread that makes athletes the "greatest of all time" (GOATs). Jim's continuous drive for improvement and passion for storytelling contribute to his legacy as a sportscasting GOAT. Check out his book "Talking To GOATs."

[00:54:09] Perfection: Drawing examples from Kobe Bryant and Michael Phelps, Jim highlights the addictive nature of chasing perfection. Despite its unattainability, GOATs like Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, and others are driven to continuously seek it. The mental and physical sacrifices, as seen in Phelps's underwater dedication and Brady's rigorous pre-training camp workouts, set these individuals apart.

[00:56:16] Internal Drive: Dr. Phil and Jim discuss the internal drive that sets GOATs apart; this can't be coached but stems from an innate hunger and sacrifice. Immortality is mentioned, with success requiring not just hard work but also proper coaching, mentorship, and a touch of luck. The example of Tiger Woods' comeback after setbacks showcases the resilience and determination required.

[00:59:07] Greatness Revealed: The conversation shifts to different forms of currency, emphasizing that GOATs are motivated by achievement, not just financial gain. A poignant reference is made to "The Last African Runner," underscoring the idea that true greatness is exhibited when nobody is watching. Integrity and honor become integral elements of their pursuit.

[01:00:36] True Sacrifice: Dr. Phil and Jim express admiration for individuals who continue their journey when nobody is watching, acknowledging the sacrifices made by GOATs for themselves, their families, their sports, and humanity. The drive for self-improvement and the desire to contribute to future generations mark the essence of Jim Gray's passion for storytelling and interviewing.

[01:01:33] Contributing To Future Generations: The conversation concludes with a reflection on Jim Gray's own drive. He finds fulfillment in meeting people, listening to their stories, and contributing to the legacy of greatness. His continuous pursuit of improvement and self-reflection reveals a humble acknowledgment that, despite his vast experience, there's always room to get better.

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