Athlete Minded: Stories

This podcast consists of the real stories from athletes about the toll athletics takes on the mind and body. We discuss the mental and emotional struggle athletes face, and what we can do about it.
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Athlete Minded: Stories




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Now displaying: June, 2016
Jun 27, 2016

Hall of Fame Surfer and Current Surf Instructor Nancy Emerson tells her story about growing up near the ocean and falling in love with it.

She was on the forefront of women's surfing in the world, and because of that was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Hawaii.  We discuss what to do when you get crunched by a big wave, the appeal of "big wave" surfing, and why you should always know how to swim before you even try to surf.

She now runs camps and instruction in Hawaii for surfers.  Her website is

Jun 24, 2016

In this episode of my audiobook Hoop Dreams Fulfilled, I discuss my summer all-american camps leading up to my senior year of high school, and the change of mentality I had going into this year. I took responsibility for my team this season, and that's party why I think we became so successful. I made sure we didn't take shortcuts or take it easy.

If you want to check out more of my book, just go to

Jun 22, 2016

In high school, Kevin Saum played football, and on one play he got hit in the head so hard that it ended his career.  After that experience, he felt a wave of emotions about what he should do with his life, since his whole life was wrapped up in being a football player.

Fortunately, he overcame these obstacles, and became an equipment manager for the Rutgers football team, and now does speaking engagements to help young people deal with the experiences they will inevitably have to overcome.

We did a back and forth podcast, where I interviewed him and he interviewed me at some points.  I hope you like it.

For more about Kevin, just go to

Jun 20, 2016

"Stage 4 cancer is nothing to mess with" -Andy Hartnett

In the Father's Day Special Episode, we talk to my dad, Andy Hartnett. Andy was a "sports goon" growing up and talks about his experiences playing and coaching sports. Most recently he talks about his injuries from a bike accident and dealing with Stage 4 cancer.

Unfortunately, my voice was lost during this episode, but we pushed through it and made it happen. And it was even more special since it was an in-person podcast as Andy came to New York City to celebrate Father's Day.

What's tough about the trouble Andy is going through is how focused he's been on his eating and health his whole life. He always ate well and took it seriously, and now he is dealing with cancer (which he terms Big Nasty) and chemotherapy, which forces him to be even more vigilant about his health.

Andy is passionate about healthy eating, the environment, and many more potent issues which you can find on his Huffington Post blog. You can also follow him on Twitter at @ajhartnett.

Jun 17, 2016

In part 5 of Audiobook Friday of my book Hoop Dreams Fulfilled, I talk about my experience of finally getting a Division 1 scholarship, and the bad habits I formed in my junior year of high school.

For more, just go to

Jun 15, 2016

Today's episode is personal, because I talk to a friend and former teammate from Rowan University Allen Pritchett.  Him and I battled together in college and took similar paths once school ended.  He played in the ABA for a bit, then started his own clothing brand.  Now, he is doing something that's very meaningful to him, helping young athletes better their basketball careers.  

Allen runs A1 Basketball Fitness in the South Jersey/Philly area and it's amazing to hear his motivation.  He mentions that he wants athletes to be realistic about their ability, but to also shoot for the stars, and take their sport as far as it can go.  

Another interesting point was when we discussed his first venture with the clothing brand. After a few years he wanted to transition it, but everything he learned did not go to waste, since he is using that knowledge to build his basketball training program now.  It was also interesting to hear when he needed a break from basketball, and didn't want anything to do with sports for a while.

For more about Allen, go to his website at

Jun 13, 2016

Former collegiate wrestler Jim Harshaw Jr. joins us today to discuss his experiences as a 3-time ACC wrestling champion at the University of Virginia.  

In a perfect example of an athlete transitioning their mentality to another avenue, Jim now has a podcast, as well as a program to help athletes deal with the transition from being an athlete to a non-athlete.  He also helps athletes deal with the inevitable failure that occurs during a career.

One of the most interesting parts of this episode was when he discussed the losses he occurred on the wrestling mat.  He said that not only is there a mental toll of knowing that you just lost, but it's a very primal feeling, knowing another man beat you, man to man, one on one.  In team sports, we don't typically feel that because there are other people involved, but in wrestling or fighting, you know that you just lost to another man... he is tougher than you... he is stronger than you... he just "beat" you.  And that's a tough thing to deal with.

For more about Jim and his podcast/program for athletes, just go to

Jun 10, 2016

In Part 4 of my self-published book Hoop Dreams Fulfilled, I discuss my experience going to a new school, and when I finally became an integral part of my high school basketball team.

For more, just check out

Jun 8, 2016

Today, we talk to former Division 2 women's volleyball champion Yana Ninova-Johnson.  Yana came to the University of North Alabama from Bulgaria, where she won a national championship.

It's really interesting to hear her story.  She grew up in communist Bulgaria where she played volleyball, and needed to borrow money from her brother to finally come to America.  Here, she was shocked by how much the university did for her, since she lived on her own from the age of 13.

Overall, a really interesting podcast to hear her story, and how when she was growing up she never thought she would end up in North Alabama and be happy, but she did.  

Jun 6, 2016

Today we talk to professional wheelchair basketball player Ryan Martin about his experiences in high school, college, and professionally playing the sport he loves.

Ryan was born with Spina Bifida and both of his legs were amputated at the age of two.  For a lot of people, that might mean the end of any sports career, but not for Ryan.  He loved basketball so much that he forced himself to make a career out of it.  Even though he was the only disabled person in high school, he eventually played college wheelchair basketball, and is now traveling the world because of his skills.

The most powerful thing I think he is doing now is giving back with the Ryan Martin Foundation.  He is helping young disabled athletes play basketball through camps and speaking engagements, helping them realize they are not alone in their journey, even though they may feel alone if they are the only disabled athlete at their school.

Ryan is a true inspiration, and I highly suggest you check out his foundation at

Jun 4, 2016

In Part 3 of my book Hoop Dreams Fulfilled, I discuss my early journey into high school basketball and the huge difference from where I lived in Atco, New Jersey.

For more, just check out

Jun 2, 2016

Today, we talk to former San Francisco 49er Chris Borland.  This is a powerful podcast because Chris was a high school All-American, an All-American at the University of Wisconsin, and was about to have a stellar NFL career.  However, after the first season in the NFL, Chris decided to retire from football.

Speaking with him, he mentions how he did get some slack, but there were a lot of people supporting him as well.  I had to ask the question that he got thousands of times, "Why?", and his response was with utter class.

He is one of the most intelligent, well-spoken athletes I've ever met and it was a true honor to have him on the podcast discussing his career and the subtleties of his decision.

Thank you, Chris.