I honestly have no idea how I stumbled across Billy Allen and John Mayer’s podcast, Coach Your Brains Out. My best friend from home, Jason Wheatley, had raved about podcasts, how they made car rides infinitely more interesting and even somewhat educational. So I took a look and somehow the first one I landed on was CYBO.
I listened to one episode — I believe it was Tom Black — and immediately downloaded every single available episode. I listened to Tyler Hildebrand and Phil Dalhausser, Ty Tramblie and Marv Dunphy. It provided a Volleyball 101 of sorts for me, as I was new to the game and wanted to learn not only about the nuances of the sport itself, but about the players and coaches and individuals within it.
Coach Your Brains Out provided all of that and a great deal more, and still do. They’re a smaller-scale version of Tim Ferris — hosting high performing individuals and digging into what makes them great, what habits are good to pick up and how to make them a part of our routines. I’ve never had a volleyball coach, but this is as close to a virtual coach as somebody could ask for.
It began as many podcasts do: A few friends with a similar interest, an iPhone, and a bit of editing know-how. Mayer, Allen and Nils Nielsen put an iPhone on a table and just talked about whatever volleyball and coaching topics came to mind. Allen would edit, they’d post, and, as they joke frequently on the show, maybe a few people would even listen.
They enjoyed doing it. Soon, they realized more than a few actually enjoyed listening. The show expanded in every way a podcast could. The audience grew, the technology evolved from one iPhone to a few mics. Guests have been some of the top performers in their respective spaces, including the likes of volleyball legends Dalhausser and Kiraly, authors Joshua Medcalf and James Kerr, and coaches John Kessel and Tom Black, among dozens of others.
It isn’t just coaching they analyze, but traits and features of high performing individuals and teams, digging into the various recipes for greatness, both physiological and psychological.
“Around the time we were starting it we were turned on to ideas like Train Ugly’s website, a lot of ideas like motor learning and different ways to teach the game,” Allen said on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter. “That was a lot of what sparked our first couple of episodes and we were fired up on that. Before we did the podcast it was fun to pick (John’s) brain and just talk, that kind of stuff, and now we’re still able to do that and get some great coaches from around the world too.”
“We try to find people striving for mastery in whatever they do,” Mayer added. “Whatever ways we can find to be our best.”
It’s a wonder how they’re not related, Mayer and Allen. They’re the same height, with the same modest, personalities with a remarkable ability for understatement. They’re both well-read, and Allen, in fact, will soon be an author, having recently finished a manuscript for his first novel, which will eventually become a trilogy.
We discuss all of that and a whole lot more on SANDCAST, so be sure to tune in and catch part two next week!
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