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WIN: Championship Traits For Life
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WIN: Championship Traits For Life

Author: Hosted by Lee Elias and J.B. Spisso

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WIN: Championship Traits for Life dives deep into how sports and athletics act as a vehicle for our growth as human beings and are the ultimate teacher for dealing with adversity and building mental fitness. The show is hosted by Lee M.J. Elias and JB Spisso, who have a combined 40+ years of experience in team development, leadership, and coaching and will include interviews from top athletes, coaches, executives and trailblazers from professional, collegiate and youth sports. Together, we will make the world trust in teamwork again.
47 Episodes
Who would've thought athletic coaching could translate into mental fitness advice?Figure Skating Olympian & Coach, Christine Krall, has been on the ice arabesque-ing and coaching for a combined 49+ years, and today on our WIN podcast she taught us many pivotal lessons that we can easily apply to the way we approach life’s obstacles. In this episode you will learn about… The “Silent Trainer”Quantifiable feedback before the “do it again” method Understanding young athletes need for mental health practices Episode powered by Pivotal Moments Media
Football Legend Ricky Watters is a Super Bowl Champion, National Champion, motivational speaker, and inspiration to many in football and beyond.Now while you may know Ricky’s name from his time on the football field, his work beyond the game deserves just as much recognition. Ricky and his wife Catherina are active philanthropists via their work with the Ricky Watters Family Foundation which advocates for mentoring foster and at-risk youth, in addition to being stewards for the game of football through the Watters Warriors and Ricky Watters Pro Experience camps.In addition to the above, Ricky is a lover of music, poetry and being a proud father to his two sons, Ricky jr. and Shane.If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know by leaving a review on your favorite podcast platform and by sharing it with other athletes and coaches in your life who you think could benefit from WIN; Championship Traits For Life. Be sure to check us out on the web by visiting
What are your metrics for success? Dr. Cassidy Preston of Consistent Elite Performance joins WIN to talk about how overcoming adversities during his time in sports had led him to a profession centered around helping others do the same. Dr. Preston and his team have used their combined education, athletic careers, and coaching experiences to create a mental performance system to guide elite athletes to clearly understand what mental skills they need to work on and how to do it.If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know by leaving a review on your favorite podcast platform and by sharing it with other athletes and coaches in your life who you think could benefit from WIN; Championship Traits For Life. Be sure to check us out on the web by visiting
Tina Whitlock is a tech fellow with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. A former all-American with the South Carolina Gamecocks -  a team she helped lead to the College World Series - Tina also played for the US National team in addition to making the professional softball ranks. As playing turned to coaching, Tina interviewed with several MLB teams before she received a call back from the St. Louis Cardinals organization through a program that was specifically created to train prospective major league coaches and scouts. She became one of five women coaches in the minors with the role in addition to being the Cardinals' second woman hire.She is both a trailblazer and a leader in baseball and sports in general.
Lauren Ammon, is a certified professional coach that has dedicated her personal life to helping student-athletes. After spending 17 years as a swimmer, Lauren entered into what would become a successful career in Human Resources for many years. What we find amazing about her, is in spite of her success in that industry, she decided to take the leap away from the safety net of a career she was accustomed to, and dive into coaching full-time. It's a journey we set out to uncover during our time with her.Lauren is the founder of Performance Reimagined, an organization focused on helping student-athletes reach their full potential.
Traveling to Hell and Back can hurt just as bad (if not worse) than a check to the head. Just as Brady Leavold was skating his way to a bright future of playing professional hockey, he hit rock bottom. And we’re grateful he found his way back to solid ground (well… ice, but you get the point). After his life took a dramatic turn towards addiction, crime, homelessness, and jail, he began sharing his story of pivotal moments that changed his life.  He now spends his time educating others, and guiding those who are struggling out of the darkness. Brady created and hosts “Hockey 2 Hell and Back” - a podcast that dives into mental health for hockey players, and is the founder of Puck Support, which has the mission of “Igniting Change In Mental Health & Substance Misuse By Setting The Hockey World In Motion while also Honoring Those Lost to addiction and suicide.”
Carly Helfand is setting the example for women to always have a seat at the table in the sports industry. A table in which 84% of athletic scouts' seats are occupied by men. During her time as a scouting assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carly won a Super-Bowl ring, served as a recruitment specialist with UPENN football, and is a graduate of Drexel University’s top-level Sports Management program. She currently works for NBC Universal and is the founder and co-host of the Next Woman Up podcast, which highlights the journey of women in sports and the role that we all play in evolving that medium.In this episode we explore the mentality it takes to pave the way for a career in the sports industry as a woman, the gender stigmas that still exist, and the resilience of the champion that is Carly Helfand. 
Today's guest is one of the hosts from the extremely popular podcast, Zero-Pod-thirty, on Barstool Sports. Connor Crehan has also served in the US Army, having graduated from West Point, where he was a varsity Quarterback for the Academy - following a stellar High School football career.Above all, Captain Con, or Con as he's known on Twitter, is clearly a mental fitness advocate, and we dove into that with him on WIN.
When discussing life’s challenges, it's common to hear metaphors about “climbing the mountain”, and reaching the “summit”. We also hear that reaching the peak of the mountain, while incredible, is just a moment and that we should enjoy the accent as much as the descent. We are told to soar toward our dreams and be humble in our approach. Ben White has done all of this literally and metaphorically.Ben has been an adventurer since a young age. Ben hiked and skied all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4000-footers at the age of 17 with no backcountry ski knowledge. In 2011 Ben attended the University of Utah and graduated with a geology degree, an atmospheric science minor, and earned undergraduate researcher of the year in the college of mines and earth sciences for his work studying how natural arches vibrate and degrade over time. It was also during that time he also learned to rock climb, ice climb, and fly paragliders. Simply put - Ben LOVES this stuff.But, like most journeys, Ben’s path had its fair share of adversity. In our episode today we will navigate through some of the challenges he has had to overcome, both mentally and physically, and learn how he has used his experience to help others, as they quest through the odyssey of life. 
The greatest of all-time debate is something that never stops raging amongst sports fans. Like any true debate - in order to even crown a title like that - you must first set the standards - and thats usually where the conflict begins. Is it based on championships? Today’s guest has won two world championships, three national championships, and three olympic gold medals. Or is it based on personal accolades? She is also a top-50 athlete in California history all-time, A three-time first-team all-American, a 3-time first-team academic all-American, a University of Arizona Hall of fame honoree, a national softball hall-of-fame honoree, and she holds the record for a batting average in a single college world series tournament, having hit .750. While that resume, along with a selection to ESPN’s Greatest of all time softball team, probably qualifies our guest as a GOAT - we believe the true definition of that title comes not just from accolades, awards, and performance, but the type of person that you are - and our guest today has the resume to back that up too.Our guest today, Leah O’Brien Amico, is one of the most prolific softball players of all time. In addition to everything mentioned above, Leah is also a professional and inspirational speaker with over 20 years of experience, a published author having written “Victorious” and “Softball, Glory, and God’s Story”, and an analyst for ESPN and Westwood One Sports and the host of “the gold standard podcast”. Amongst all of that, she is a dedicated mother to her three boys and is committed to empowering others to meet their potential. 
Just like an athletes career, coaching can take many different roads with many different roles. Some of us get into coaching through volunteer work while, for others, the job is a calling. No matter the case, no two coaching journeys are the same - but, with that said, at the end of the day, the common thread that binds great coaches together is to teach, to motivate and to help athletes use sport as a vehicle for their growth as human beings - because winning - however you choose to define that word - tends to take care of itself when that happens. Today’s guest, Coach Shawnee Harle, has nearly 30 years experience in  coaching which includes appearances at the World University games, the FIBA Americas, the World Championships and two olympic games as the assistant coach with the Canadian Women’s Basketball team. In addition to her experience, Shawnee is also the most highly certified basketball coach in Canada and has accreditation as a Chartered Professional Coach with the Coaching Association of Canada, a Masters in coaching studies, and a level 5 certification with the National coaching certification program.Even still, with all of her experiences a coach, Shawnee has spent recent years dedicating herself to the mental side of the game by helping athletes make sense of what’s going on in their head and heart in order to cut through the noise, and, as she puts it, unleash their inner tiger.
31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different cities. Even the thought of that challenge is daunting. We spoke to a man who not only achieved it, but he achieved it as a double-above the knee amputee, and raised a quarter of a million dollars for veteran charities while doing it. Our show is called WIN and our channel is called GRIT - today’s guest is a beacon of both.On July 22, 2010, Rob Jones - who served in the Marine corp as a combat engineer - stepped on an IED in Afghanistan resulting in a double above the knee amputation. Five days later, Rob was in Washington DC at the National Naval Medical Center, disconnected from the Marines and the mission. It was here, that a new mission began for Rob. Rob was introduced to other amputees who helped him to begin crafting a new path of perseverance - and thats exactly the path Rob followed.Since his injury, Rob has competed in Paralympic doubles rowing (earning a bronze medal in the process), he has trekked across America on a bike - a journey which took 6 months, and, as we said at the top of the episode, he successfully ran 31 marathons in 31 days in 2017.Today Rob is a professional speaker, writer, philanthropist. His journey is nothing short of incredible and above all he is an inspiration and ambassador of the human spirit.
Watch any Disney sports film and you’ll most likely witness a heart-warming story of an underdog rising the ranks to achieve some form of greatness. We might not be Disney, but this podcast is going to tell a story like that - about how one man's passion for his sport took him from being homeless to becoming the only individual to coach at EVERY level in both baseball and softball. Coach Matt Lisle, has a journey thats worth learning from. Matt is the most followed baseball and softball coach in the world. In addition to his coaching, Matt is also a successful businessman and a proud father and grandfather. His story will both inspire you and motivate you as you listen.
Sacrifice and service are two words that those on teams and the military use often - but with drastically different meanings. No matter the arena, the group that understands the severity and calling of those words will be in a position to succeed. Brad Thomas is the founder, songwriter and lead guitarist for Silence & Light - an all-veteran band that brings mental health awareness through music. Brad is also a former Army Ranger and Delta Force operator, having spent over 20 years in the service. While Silence & Light has attracted grammy award winning producers and quite the fan base, the band has embraced the higher mission of giving back by donating their royalties to special operations, veterans and first responder charitable organizations. He’s the first guest we’ve had on the show that we can say is both a Rock Star and a member of the tier-1 special operations.
We say at the top of every episode that we interview champions and trailblazers. While our show has a strong sports focus, we know that to learn to truly “WIN”, we had to look just beyond athletics. Today’s guest is a champion in her field, a trailblazer in her field, and one of the most influential leaders in her field - and I guarantee you will learn something from listening to her today.This week’s guest, Johnese Spisso, RN, MPA, is one of the top clinical leaders and one of the top most influential Women leaders in America. Her life has been dedicated to service for others and her journey has taken her from starting as a Registered Nurse to becoming the current President of UCLA Health, the CEO of the UCLA Hospital System and the Associate Vice Chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences.In short everyone - listen up! Johnese is about to gift us with 45 minutes of knowledge! 
Growing up - we all dream of being pro athletes at some point. We all dream of making a heroic last second play or reaching memorable milestones on our chosen field of sport. As we get older, we realize that making an impact in the game isn't limited to just accomplishing the dreams of our youth. This week’s guest has and continues to impact the game on a daily level both on and off the ice.Kevin Weekes played over 350 games in the NHL between the pipes as a goaltender. Following his playing career, Kevin became a trailblazer in business (most notably with his company NO5HOLE), and in broadcasting - where he currently serves as an analyst for the NHL on ESPN and the NHL Network. But beyond business and broadcasting, Kevin has been an inspiration to countless individuals as someone who not only wants to have a positive impact on the game we love, but more importantly - the people surrounding the game. 
Every sports season, in its own way, is a campaign to put a team on a path towards winning. With that said, while winning, however you define that word, is the shared goal between all sports teams, at the end of the year - there typically can only be one champion. Christopher Lee lives and breathes creating winning campaigns in another arena.Christopher has more than 25 years of experience in political consulting, campaign management, Communications, and developing marking materials for candidates, national political party committees, and labor organizations.Chris is a partner with Foresight Strategic and is an expert in political strategy, issue advocacy, and media relations and has worked with top government officials, businesses, and teams around the country.
Championship moments are often frozen in time via photos, video and achievement. However, they are just a moment. The road leading up to and the road after those moments are often filled with adversity, controversy and sacrifice. This week’s guest, 2x Super Bowl champion and MVP Mark Rypien has traveled both roads with grace and class.Mark is a two-time Super Bowl Champion and the MVP of Super Bowl 26 with Washington Redskins. Those accolades are accompanied with an illustrious career in the NFL and with his philanthropic work in his post-playing career. 
When you’re chasing a dream, the only one who can tell you that you’re done - is you. While there may be many moments and obstacles that make you want to stop pursuing what may seem impossible, those that succeed have the will deep inside that whispers, “hold on.” You may know Vince Papale as the subject of the Disney movie “Invincible,” starring Mark Wahlberg, which shares his story of conquering incredible odds to walk onto the Philadephia Eagles. For some, Vince is known as the man that made them believe that dreams can come true if you're willing to believe in yourself.His life is well documented online, on tv, and in the film - but our goal with this episode is to dive deeper into what makes Vince, “Vince,” and what we can learn from him to become better people for tomorrow.
When you hear the word leadership, what comes to mind? Do you think of a specific person that influenced your life, or do you dive into descriptive words like decisive, dedicated and diligent? No matter the case, being a leader is a privilege we are all faced with at times. This week’s guest has served in a leadership role for most of his life. The Honorable Patrick J. Murphy is the first Iraq War veteran elected to Congress, the former acting Secretary of the army, a healthcare innovator in the public and private sectors, and a champion for veterans and mental health. As we'll find out in the show, much, much more than that, he has worked with and among the men and women of uniform, professional athletes, former Congressmen and Congresswomen, and presidents of the United States. 
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