The Pressure of Winning and How to Handle Losing with Kelley O’Hara and Gabby Reece on The Gabby Reece Show

Check out the Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Self-confidence and self- worth come from within
  • “The only person that will always be there for me is me” – Kelley O’Hara
  • Emotion is part of being an athlete – it’s natural
  • Know that acceptance from your team or “tribe” matters more than what others think of you
  • Sometimes just believing is what you need
  • If you’re new on a team, learn from the veterans, on and off the field  

Books mentioned

  • Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall  – how to master the secrets of strength and endurance

Products Mentioned

  • Beast – personal care products


Kelley O’Hara (@kelleymohara) is a two-time women’s World Cup champion and U.S. soccer Olympian.

Dealing with High Expectations

  • “I have a chip on my shoulder, I want to prove myself. I know I may not be the best, but I can control my effort” – Kelley O’Hara
  • If you’re new on a team, learn from the veterans, on and off-field but when it comes down to playing, go for it
  • Fight for yourself, don’t back down

Intensity- How it Arises and Affects Relationships

  • Kelley Is naturally competitive- she made everything a competition including even eating a sandwich in grade school
  • That approach doesn’t always bring out the best in Kelley, but it’s the reason why she believes she’s successful
  • The intensity can affect relationships. When younger, Kelley says she was intense and stubborn all the time
  • Though friendships and family relationships she learned – being stubborn doesn’t always win

Techniques to Deal With Disappointment

  • “The amount of times I cried in hotel stairwells is more than I can count. I had to talk myself out of crying in front of coaches, because I wanted it so badly” – Kelley O’Hara
  • Its okay to cry out your disappointment, and then go back to work the next day
  • Emotion is part of being an athlete – it’s human and natural
  • Time and maturity help

Pursuing Your Passion

  • Kelley played a lot of sports but chose soccer because she liked the team aspect of the sport
  • As soon as she made Youth National camp when 15, she said she knew she wanted to go all the way
  • By her senior year at college, Kelley knew she could play for a professional team
  • Kelley didn’t worry about what she’d do upon graduation. “I asked myself, what do I have to do to be good enough?” – Kelley O’Hara
  • Even as a kid, when she failed, Kelley would ask herself– what do I need to do next time?

Training Tips

  • Until she became a professional athlete, Kelly didn’t understand conditioning, strengthening, monitoring or heart rate and load
  • The intensity of competition changed the way she approached fitness
  • Be very specific about the speed you work out at and your heart rate
  • It is a challenge to train when you are not 100% but you can trick yourself to getting excited.
  • Remind yourself that training is a privilege and maximize it.

Handling the Media as an Athlete

  • The US women’s team has been so successful and excellence is expected
  • “I turn off social media. Some players like it, it fires them up.  But so many people said were saying we would lose the World Cup – why do I need to see that?” – Kelley O’Hara
  • Just because someone says something it doesn’t have to be part of your narrative
  • As humans, we crave to know what others think of us, but all you need is acceptance from your team or “tribe”

Words of Wisdom for Athletes

  • Self-confidence and self- worth come from within-don’t look for outside sources – The only person that will always be there for me is me.” – Kelley O’Hara
  • Look inside yourself, look in the mirror and believe in what you see and who you are

Future Plans

  • When I first started my professional career, I felt like I couldn’t do anything else – I know this has an expiration date” – Kelley O’Hara
  • She has an interest in business
  • Kelley isn’t sure about coaching – “I think I’d be stressed out”

Gabby Reece Show : , , , , , ,
Notes By EWerbitsky

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