Nov. 24, 2020

Emotion & Recovery + #1 Roadblock for Athletes - Max Rooke

Emotion & Recovery + #1 Roadblock for Athletes - Max Rooke

Max Rooke grew up and played for professional team Reading Football Club (soccer)  before moving to the U.S.A to play collegiate soccer for NCAA Division I Mercer University. During this time he won four conference championships, was Atlantic Sun Conference player of the year, an All-American selection and is currently the only male soccer player in school history to have his jersey retired. Max also had the distinguished honor of being a member of the Great Britain National soccer team and competed at two World Championships. 

He now coaches as the Associate Head Women’s soccer coach at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Since starting in 2014 He has been part of two West Coast Conference Championships, one NCAA Sweet Sixteen Appearance, with four NCAA Tournament appearances and 2 NCAA Regional Staff of the Year awards.

We chat about his career as both athlete and now coach and how that has shaped his view on recovery, what role emotion plays in recovery and the #1 roadblock athletes have for getting to the next level of performance.


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Mentioned Episodes:

Episode 4 Sonja Wieck



Jase Kraft: [00:00:00] Hey, hey, what's up? I'm so excited to introduce you to my guest today, but before I do, I have one request. If you are here looking to become a better athlete or to help others become a better athlete, hit that subscribe button so you don't miss a future episode. I'm blown away each week by the value that my guests have been dropping. And trust me, there are some episodes you are not going to want to miss that are coming up, including this one I interview Max Rooke, a native of England who grew up playing for professional team already in football club. That's soccer. If you're in America here before moving to the US to play collegiate soccer for the D1 Mercer University. During this time he won four conference championships was Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year and all-American and is currently the only male soccer player in school history at Mercer to have his jersey retired. Yes, I said that his jersey is retired. Max also has the distinguished honor of being a member of the Great Britain national soccer team and has competed at two world championships. He now coaches as associate head women's soccer coach at Pepperdine University in California. And since starting there in 2014, he's been a part of two West Coast conference championships at one NCAA Sweet 16 appearances, as well as for tournament appearances and two NCAA Regional Staff of the Year awards. With a life dedicated to performance, Max has a unique perspective on recovery that I am excited to share with you. We chat about his career both as an athlete and now a coach, and how that has shaped his view on recovery, what role emotion plays in recovery and the number one roadblock athletes have for getting to the next level of performance. This is good stuff, so let's get into it.


Jase Kraft: [00:02:14] You're listening to the Science of Sports Recovery podcast. Each week, we explore how to recover more efficiently from training so you can work out harder and realize your full potential. This is the Science of Sports Recovery podcast.


Jase Kraft: [00:02:43] Hey, Max, it's great to have you on the show. I'm so excited to get into our conversation here today.


Max Rooke: [00:02:50] I appreciate you having Jase. So I'm excited to be here.


Jase Kraft: [00:02:52] So I want to start obviously, we had an intro on you so the listener knows a little bit about you. But if I'm not mistaken, you started your soccer career pretty early in life. What  age were you started at?


Max Rooke: [00:03:09] Yeah, I mean, I appreciate the opportunity to kind of go down memory lane. You know, sometimes you don't get these we don't get these opportunities. So the fact that we can take a trip down memory lane. But yeah, I mean, I think like like a lot of people that that have careers in in the sports world, I think you can date it back to really early ages. So I remember as as young, as charismatic I was of the first team when I was five or six years old and stuff like that. And I remember playing my mom, God rest her soul. She I think one of my first ever matches, I went to play like we had to get like the kit the day before the game and the shorts didn't fit and safety pin trying to put everything together. So, I mean, it was super, super young.


Max Rooke: [00:03:53] And I think that ultimately, just like whether it's whether it's soccer or whether it's running or whatever sport, whatever passion, I think I think we get that from childhood. Right. And it develops within us. And there's there's a real sense of, you know, if you love what you do, then you're willing to continue and continue on. So so for me, I really just as soon as I touched a soccer ball, it was like that. That's for me. And that's that's then turned into a career of playing, which is now turned into a career coaching. And and I'm so thankful that I was able to to do the things that I've done.


Max Rooke: [00:04:30] And it really leads back to such an early age.


Jase Kraft: [00:04:33] Yeah. So where are your parents then, soccer players as well, or how how do you get introduced to.


Max Rooke: [00:04:39] No, no, not really. So I, I can tell exactly how it happened. My mom and dad would tell me this. I don't, I don't remember this, but I remember being told, ok, and it was and it was basically I was at primary school in England. So whatever age that was and we used to break up like lunchtime or we'd have like small breaks in the day or the boys would go out and we would kick around on the on the on the playground. We play soccer. And there was this boy that was a few years older than me. And he's like like, you know, I play for this team, like, you should come and play for our team. And I'm like, all right, that sounds like fun. I had no idea what it was. Sounds like fun. Yeah. So like, again, let's say I'm I'm six or seven at the time and he's nine or something like that. And and I remember going home and I'm like, I'm like, I'm going to practice tonight for this team. And my mom's like, how are we going to get I'm I'm going to practice for this day. And she's like, well, where is it? When is it who's who's going to be like, I don't know, but I know I'm going to practice.


Max Rooke: [00:05:43] And so and I convinced I convinced my parents to take me to this practice that they had no idea. And it literally like I go home from school and it's a quick turnaround. We get there and and then I think two days later was the first game. And so the coach told my parents, like, hey, you son. Like, you should probably be on this team. So do you. Can he play on Saturday? And sure enough, that takes you back to like the safety cam and the short story. So that was like it was a whole thing where it was maybe one of the first points in my life where I think my parents, like they saw like a hunger or something. What it is. You get that little look in your eye that said, like, you know, there's something about it. And I think that they said that that was I came home from school with this look that I hadn't had before that just said, you know, like, I'm doing this thing and and that was it. So so they never played before. They weren't really neither of them were really athletes and stuff. So. 


Jase Kraft: [00:06:32] Interesting.


Max Rooke: [00:06:33] Yeah. Picked it up on the playground.


Jase Kraft: [00:06:35] So how are they supportive then of that? Do they have to learn So how are they supportive then of that? Do they have to learn  their distance from it?


Max Rooke: [00:06:46] Oh no. They they were such and such loving parents. And I think that one of the reasons why I was able to stay within the game, like still being involved in the game even today is because of my parents. And they never pushed it on me. They supported me. They picked me up when I got knocked down, you know, and they they said they shared my trials and tribulations and my highs and the lows. And they were always there for me. And again, they never pushed me. They never they never they never made it more than it needed to be. And I think that the that that I'm really thankful for because I do I do see, as I'm sure we could share this like I do see in the game, especially in the youth sports being involved in sports, that that is not always the case. And you look at some of the longevity of careers, not even at the highest level, but just in general, like. Yeah, and sometimes it can it can be it can it can be at the detriment. If parents are too involved or if that to to pressurize it can be at the detriment of the player and quitting early or giving up and stuff like that. So I'm very concerned that that was never the case with my parents.


Jase Kraft: [00:07:54] That's cool. So as you get older and the high school age, that's when you or you in a boarding school at that point playing or how to do that or so.


Max Rooke: [00:08:08] Yeah, basically that the simple way of saying is so in England, the progression to kind of the professional level is pretty streamlined. And so so I never played high school and never, never played like it really got to an age of 14. I was 12 or 12, 12, 13 something. I wasn't really playing any type of like club sports or anything like that.


Max Rooke: [00:08:28] Like I was playing for running football club and I was full for 40 full steam ahead.


Max Rooke: [00:08:33] And so so is in the system. And so you're playing against other professional teams, youth systems and stuff like that. And it's a very structured, very rigid. What I was I was fortunate that the club that I got picked up by and had a couple of other options, but the one that I step by step with red, and it was the local team. So there were other players my age that were in boarding schools, but I didn't have to because the club was was in my town like I'm from England. So I didn't I didn't I didn't need to do that. Had I been had I chosen a different option than like you said, I probably would have been in a boarding school. And that's kind of how they do it over there. So but but I didn't have to do that because because of location, like I say, where I lived, you know,


Jase Kraft: [00:09:15] That's kind of gives you the home field advantage every time.So and now in England, like soccer is a way bigger sport than it is here in the United States. With that comes a lot of social pressure, cultural pressures and that. Did you feel that at that age?


Max Rooke: [00:09:37] I think that's a great question. And I think I think there's a there's a there's an unwritten rule, if you will, like, that everybody if you're playing soccer and you're in England, like everybody wants to be a professional, you know, everybody everybody has a vision. It's like, what do you want to do? I want to play for the national team. I want to I want to play I want to make lots of money. I want to be on TV. Like there's something about like it's almost like it's not everybody is like heading towards the same same path, if you will.


Max Rooke: [00:10:07] And so with that, I think there are some some pressures whether that's placed on you subconsciously or consciously. I think that there are some pressures that that come along with that. And so so absolutely. Some of the coaching there was was pretty misprints done pretty tough because they're trying to prepare you for a life in a in an industry environment is pretty cutthroat. Right. And so so how to prepare for that is that is kind of get subjected to some some some things at an earlier age than maybe you would if if you were in a different environment or if you had a different type of path and so on.


Jase Kraft: [00:10:40] Like so things. 


Max Rooke: [00:10:42] Just just I think the coaching, the coaching itself, there's a developmental process.


Max Rooke: [00:10:50] You're trying to develop you as players. But but mentally, I think also and you know what I do in terms of mental side of it, but so physically, they're trying to develop you in such a way to prepare you for for the rigours of playing at the highest level. But mentally at that level, you have to be able to deal with a lot. Right. And so I think the part of the the system of trying to figure out who is capable of making it to the next level, part of it is physical. Part of it is technical POV, tactical. Part of it is do you have the mental strength and capability to handle all of the pressure that comes with being playing at that level and then looking at that, not when you get to when you already get in that environment. They're looking at like 14, 15, like do you have the mental capacity right now? You know, because a lot of a lot of players and aggressive, I don't get too far off. But, you know, in England, you see a lot of a lot of players that make their first team debut in front of fifty thousand people at seventeen years old or eighteen. It's not like it's not like the twenty something. Not full grown men. These these are these are still kids that 17 years old. And, you know, you're and you're making your first team debut.


Max Rooke: [00:11:58] So, so to be able to perform at that level, that young then the developmental process, that's way, that way, if that makes sense.


Max Rooke: [00:12:07] Right. Are subjected to certain things to be to be ready at seventeen then then at 14, 15. At 16. They're doing things and training you in such a way where, where you're ready at seventeen versus versus trying to be ready at twenty four or twenty five. It's just a different, it's just a different timeline for you.


Jase Kraft: [00:12:25] So that's really interesting. And I want to get into more of your career before we talk about your coaching. So I don't want to go down too far, but I would imagine that that experience has shaped your coaching now,


Max Rooke: [00:12:43] Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, 100 percent. You know, it it it taught me who I wanted to be and who I didn't want to be and maybe more so it kind of taught me who I didn't want to be and how I didn't want to coach and knowing knowing what I went through as a player, it reflecting on that, I'm like, would I want my players that I coach now to have the same experience? And if not, how how can I change my coaching style and my philosophy to meet that of what I'm trying to the path that I want to take my players on? So so absolutely all but. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And again, by the way, it's not to say that I had a negative experience, but it's just it's yeah. It's just it's just really interesting. So for sure. Absolutely. Like I say, it definitely shaped me into who I am today, slamming into the coach. I am the person I am and and I'm eternally grateful for it. I think that that's that's the that's the the biggest thing in all of this is that if you can look at every experience as a blessing, as an opportunity to grow, to get better, not worse. Right. To help you, then I look at everything that happened as as as as an absolute blessing.


Jase Kraft: [00:13:57] So your transition from Redding to United States here, first of all, what what caused that transition?


Max Rooke: [00:14:07] So basically, just to get my contract renewed at an early, early age. So obviously, I was a young, young, young player in the writing system and stuff like that.


Max Rooke: [00:14:19] And so when without going to great detail, but basically when I got told, hey, not tall enough, you're not strong enough what I was going to be, whatever the reasons was like then, then like a lot of players, like, what do I do, do I find another club? Do I do I continue to try and do I, do I bounce from club to club trying to make it work? Do I drop down a few leagues and see if I can then find a team and then work my way back up? And at that time and this is kind of like I think it's a good thing, you know, it's like so at that time there was this new thing that was emerging and it was soccer. Soccer is the option to come to America. And I had no no idea. Nobody knew, nobody that was out here. And but the Professional Football Association who become a member of they were put in these trials on basically these trials.


Max Rooke: [00:15:10] And there was anything that said anybody that's out contract, there's this opportunity to go to these trials and to to be looked at by these American colleges for the potential to have a career in America.


Max Rooke: [00:15:20] So at that time, I'm like, what do I do? What everybody else is always done or do I try the path he's taken, if you will? Right. And so you know what we'll give it, you know, what's the worst that can happen? So I went out to this trial and sure enough, I got the opportunity to to to to come out to America. There was a coach who said, hey, you know, I think we'd like to have, you know, would you like to come out? And so long story short is I accepted the opportunity to come out. And at that time, I knew nothing about America. I knew nothing about college soccer. And I between California and Georgia or East Coast, where I had no idea. All I knew is, is that I came I came over with a suitcase and a dream. And I knew that once I stepped on the plan, life would never be the same again. And then and it was kind of that that monumental moment. I think there's a few moments in our lives. I think there's a lot of little things that impact our lives every single day. But I also think that there's some monumental moments where the decision you make will shape your path forever. And that was one of those moments is all I knew is, is that when I stepped on the plane that life would never be the same again. Exactly how is going to work out. But but looking back now, I'm so grateful and so blessed that I did decide to step on the plane and came over to to Macon, Georgia. So it was it was great.


Jase Kraft: [00:16:38] You seem to have a bold pattern of betting on yourself from being five, six year old and telling your parents, I'm going to practice then that night in and you go into a country I've never been I have no idea what I'm doing, but I know me and I know what I want.


Jase Kraft: [00:17:01] That's cool with that.


Jase Kraft: [00:17:03] Obviously, that type of personality, a lot of athletes that are very successful have. But it can also be a detriment when somebody tells them they're not good enough. They're not. So what was that like when Redding essentially said, hey, Mac, they're not good enough for us? Yeah.


Max Rooke: [00:17:24] Yeah, it was it was crushing. It was crushing for sure. It was crushing for sure. When you have it and you have a dream and a vision of how you believe your path to be, then then it was it was absolutely crushing. And it and it shook me to my knees. And at a typical. All time in my life, it was it was all I knew, so absolutely it was it was very tough to deal with and there was a lot of stresses and there was a lot of dark moments. But I also think that and this I'm not speaking about myself now, but but working with a lot of high performers and working with a lot of athletes that play really high levels and teams that having a short memory is really important.


Max Rooke: [00:18:09] So even if you talk about just like a bad loss or loss in your case and you don't meet your times for a run or something like that, like you can let it either, like I said, help you or hurt you, make you better or worse, you might say.


Max Rooke: [00:18:23] And so you have you have two options. I mean, it is that simple, right? Which sometimes you make it more than what it is you have you have two choices of how you going to take it. And so and so what I what I've learned over time is, is that the best, if you will, have this really short memory span where they learn from those moments and they put a cap on it, they go to bed, I wake up the next day. All right, we're moving on like like I'm going to learn from it and I'm going to choose. They don't dwell on it. Like if you dwell on something, then it's going to affect the next thing and the next thing. And then you start to use your trajectory starts to change. So so I think that avoiding failures and avoiding mistakes and avoiding adversity that like that, that's impossible. That's not it's not it's not a part of any person that is achieve great things. But what what do you do with those things and how long you focus on those things is really important. And I think that that's what I've learned along the way is. And so in that case, you know, there was a few days where it really hurt me, but then it quickly became, OK, what's the next step? What's the next step? And and that's for me. When the next step was it was a bold one. It was like, yeah, I'm going to do something that nobody's ever done before, you know, and let's do it and make it happen.


Jase Kraft: [00:19:32] So your parents, where are they on board with that or do they have to convince them?


Max Rooke: [00:19:37] And they they were always supportive then to go back to what I said before, that they've always supported me. I think it was tough for them to see to see somebody. My whole family lives like I was like everybody lives their lives within a within a short radius of this, within a couple of miles of each other. So to be the only person to decide it up and leave, it was tough for them. And and that was and that was some.


Max Rooke: [00:20:00] There was some there was some moments where they didn't necessarily understand, like, why would you why would you want to leave the family? I'm like, I'm not really leaving the family. I'm just going to a little bit further away. But but there was something inside. I think you that's why I'm getting I think inside the my heart, there was something speaking to me and God speaking to me said, like, if you want to do great things, like this is the journey you want to take. And and at that time, it it meant leaving the family. And I don't think they understood at the time, even though they did support me, which again, I'm very kind for. So so I appreciate you asking these questions, by the way, like say this to stuff and talk about for a while. So, yeah, this is this is great.


Jase Kraft: [00:20:39] But it makes you, you know, your your upbringing shapes who you are, your views on life. And not only that, I mean, there is going to be somebody listening to this that's thinking about taking that bold move, that's thinking that taking that step and hearing your story is going to encourage them in some way. So people are very relatable, Max. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I appreciate it. Yeah, yeah.


Jase Kraft: [00:21:10] Now, when you got to the it got to the US, got to a deal in athletics and stuff, you put on a pretty, pretty good career. Sounds like a pretty big deal to have your your jersey retired from a school.


Jase Kraft: [00:21:25] So walk us through kind of how that went.


Jase Kraft: [00:21:29] What was the switch of in there that kind of got you to the next level? And then what were essentially what was the achievements that got your jersey retired?


Max Rooke: [00:21:40] Yeah. So we always try and try and talk about anything like this. When that question comes up, it's always I want to make sure you start with saying like that is a reflection of our team. But we had a really great I'm saying like any type of individual, what is in my eyes is is a reflection of how great our team was. To have my jersey retired is almost like Jersey was retired, like team that that like we had we had some really, really cool things the team did. But yeah, we got there and there's a few places that came in, in my class and we were able to to really just change the culture a little bit. I think I think we walked into what was was a pretty, pretty solid culture. But but there was some. There was some there was some things where we I think we got there and we're like, I think we can push the envelope here. Right. We can push the boundaries of what's possible. And so and so. So within it, within one year, we went from being like a decent team, not bad team. We were decent. We always we always decent. But we went from being decent and immediately like and again, it's not me. This is a group of people that decided, hey, if we're going to do it, let's let's let's do it right in, and that quickly turned into a championship.


Max Rooke: [00:22:50] And then, you know, you've got the regular season and then the conference tournament. So, like, we would think we won the the regular season one year, but we didn't win the conference championship. The next year we won the conference and and then the conference tournament went to the NCAA.


Max Rooke: [00:23:05] So when like back to back champions and then in our senior year, we did the same thing. So it's like we we just we just I think we just we didn't know any better, if you will. Like you don't see them like we didn't know any better. We're like, so let's just let's just go for broke.


Max Rooke: [00:23:20] It seems to be a thing like that that go for broke, just go for it. Like let's not set a bar on ourselves. And so we in three years we, we, yeah. We kind of change the course of the program. And since then the program has continued to do amazing things. And then and so it was it was really great and and obviously being disciplined. And I know that you're a big proponent of the of like the just the recovery in some of these different things. And so when you talk about, like, some of the things that we did, it wasn't even just on the field, but it was like the way we the way we prepared for games. It was what we did after games. It was changing the culture of like how much sleep we got and again, what college life is like. Right. And it's like, well, this is a party over here. And this is like being able to say not being able to say no to things is a powerful thing. Right? I'm saying like, yes, yes, yes. I didn't get drawn in, but but but to have the intent and the and the capacity to say no to something, you have to know why you want to say no to it. So easy to say yes, but like to be able to say no, you've got to say no because you're saying yes to something else and to know why that that that thing is greater and is more important to you. That's that's a culture thing. Right. And so so I think we able to change, like, the process of how, how, what things meant to us, how we prepare for things like post game, like doing the little things, making sure that we treat our bodies right. So and all those things collectively came out in the field. And I put lots and a lot of things down to that. So I think it started with a cultural shift, the mindset shift, which turned into like just a lot of the little things that I know you're a big proponent of, you know.


Jase Kraft: [00:24:52] Yeah, yeah. It starts it starts with what happens in between training and then between competition and college students all the time. The difference between somebody succeeding in college and somebody never getting better than high school is their lifestyle. How much sleep are they getting? What are they? What are they going to put in their body and all that?


Jase Kraft: [00:25:16] And I mean, you nailed that part of it. Then college athletics becomes really fun.


Max Rooke: [00:25:22] Absolutely. Absolutely.


Jase Kraft: [00:25:25] So so after college, then you got to play a little bit with Great Britain. How was that for you? Is that everything you dreamed it would be or.


Max Rooke: [00:25:35] Yeah. Yeah. So I think go back to the little boy inside you. Right. Like will come the full circle just reading the full circle. It's like I had always had a dream to go play professionally and like one of my goals was to represent my country. And obviously when you get to know at the professional level, it's like, how am I going to make that happen? I really know how it was going to happen, but you just continue to push forward and do so. And so then from playing the so they had this thing called the, you know, the World University games and the World Championships. And so I was playing and somebody like that to me and said, hey, do you know whether you're eligible for this? And you are and you can you can be a participant. The coach reached out to Mr. Shore. So so a lot of the when we talk about that team, the world championship team, a good portion of the team were players from England playing in England and so on, so forth.


Max Rooke: [00:26:29] Yeah, but as I told you, like this emergence of the American side and players, good players that were going out to the states is like they would be remiss if they didn't try and include some of those players because you're trying to put the best team together. And so so then at times when when there was no season, they would invite players like myself and other players that were in America to come back and and train with the with the national team sets up to see would this be a good fit.


Max Rooke: [00:26:55] And so as you're preparing for the championships that are every couple of years, the Olympics are four years for these championships every two years.


Max Rooke: [00:27:02] So in that two year process, I got to be a part of that and go back. And so finally, when the championship rolled around, selected to be in the in the squad and I made it to the squad to play in Beijing was two thousand one was was was in Beijing. So I got to be with the team for like a month. We went to Japan for holding camp, do that and then we got to got to go to to Beijing. And then two years later it was in Korea. I was in Seoul, Korea, and I was in America. And the coach was the same and so the same process. And he said, look, just let me know that I want you to be a part of that in two years if you can stay fit. Right. Lifestyle like you're saying, you got to keep yourself, because now I'm outside of college. What it's like, so the opportunities, the place they're trying to find a way to to stay, to stay fit, to stay relevant and stuff like that, so so the lifestyle, you blow up a great point. So I think at that point, lifestyle was the most important thing to be able to stay at the level.


Max Rooke: [00:27:57] So when I was invited back, I could I could step in back into that environment and and perform at that level. And so so lifestyle was was massive for me, not necessarily the first time, but the second time around, because because my opportunities to play like on the back and coming, graduating from Mercer and so on, of my opportunities to play, say they were limited, but it just it wasn't as as as as much. It wasn't as much. It wasn't like I was training every single day with a team. So anyway, my point being is, is that lifestyle became such a massive piece that allowed me to then have that second experience, which was phenomenal. So to get to that twice and then to almost lentivirus to check off that dream and say, hey, even though it wasn't necessary with the full national team, but to play in the world championships with with Great Britain was was something something I'll never forget at that. And then to be able to give that jersey that I wore and give it to my dad to honor him and say thank you for always believing in me was a special moment to, you know, so is great.


Jase Kraft: [00:29:03] So obviously, you touched on this lifestyle by wanting to go more into into detail with what some of your habits were in college. And one, you're on Great Britain's team. How did you treat recovery from sleep, nutrition, just other habits? How how did you try to recover?


Max Rooke: [00:29:29] Yeah. Yeah, I did. I didn't know at the beginning. Just like like now being a coach is like you trying to teach, teach or coach or players. Those habits now So I'm on the other side of it. So as a player, like somebody had to have to tell me if you want to go to the next level, like, you've got to do this right and you need to jump in that spot over there. Why would I want to jump in the spot to do that? But if you want to get to the next level, you need to get in the ice bath. And it wasn't until somebody explained to me why I need to go into the ice bath after after a match, you know, and and now there's so many different tools right now in terms of in terms of what the post game is for some of our players that I coached. Now it's way different than it was for me, you know, kind of old school.


Max Rooke: [00:30:13] There's a tub over there, Gogia, and it's full of ice. Go jump in it, you know, but like things like ice, but the rehab, right. So the rehab and taking care of, like, all of the little knocks, like. So the little strain's in the pool is not necessarily major injuries that keep you out, but just just just sticking to the process of getting the rehab and attention rolling out and stretching. And like you said before, like the intentionality with getting an early night sleep, like every hour before twelve o'clock is like two right now. So I've had that before. Like, every hour that you sleep before, twelve is worth like two hours on the back. And so it's just so just like going to bed earlier and stuff like that. So eating like just, just, just, just the kookier. It's just this, it's just that.


Max Rooke: [00:30:56] But like eating, eating clean and just being very very you. 


Jase Kraft: [00:31:02] Lean mean to you because I know that that can mean a lot of different things to different people.


Max Rooke: [00:31:07] Yeah, well I mean I just think a lot of fresh foods greens I mean at the time for us, you know, like a lot of pasta and just like carbs and stuff like that. But I mean, I can tell you a story. This is kind of I think I could put it like this. So I remember the world championships. I remember the world championships. We was like, OK, it was Great Britain was where you cheering was was like by like utopianism. And and so that was neat crampons. And so they would talk to us about simple carbs and complex cops right there in the complex. It's been like pastas and the rice and lots of stuff. But then there's those simple carbs which now we know like chocolate milk and stuff like that, or things like after a game you going to get that protein. But you also got to get that sugar in those those those electrodes and there's carbs into your body within 30 minutes of when you're done to be able to kind of help with that recovery process. And so, again, I'm going way back like now this is like that's a given. But way back then it was kind of new. And so they're like, hey, you need to eat within 30 minutes after Trink, after you play. And I'm like, oh, I don't feel like eating. And then like, you need to eat and and you need to eat like one.


Max Rooke: [00:32:18] I forget what the formula was they said, but like one gram of like simple carbs for every kilogram of body weight. And so they had it weighed out and so they kind of had it to where they knew our body weights. and so we would show back in the locker room, we'd go play this game, we'd go play against China or Portugal or wherever is going to be, and we'd come back and then there would be sat on our table or a desk would be would.


Max Rooke: [00:32:41] The exact amount of carbs that we would need and it might be about to use green beans and a banana or something like that. And anyways, my long story short, just say this. After a month of eating two or three or four Neutra greenbacks every single day, like it doesn't matter how many flavors you try and change it up, like they got to a point. Like, if I if I can use your brain by now, like, I have to turn away like I have to, I can't I can't look at one. I can eat one because I'm like I'm I'm scarred from the amount of aggrandise I had when I was at the world championships. It was like frighteningly bad how how many I had. But at the time I would go back to it like the discipline is like, well, I don't want it and the like. But if you want to play well the next game you need to do it. And I'm like, OK, that makes sense. So from a mindset standpoint, it didn't make sense to me how many things I was consuming at the time or what I was consuming.


Max Rooke: [00:33:35] But but when your why when you're why when you connect it to a deeper sense of, OK, where this is going to help me get from here to here, then I'm way more willing to do it now.


Max Rooke: [00:33:45] I'm now I'm not in that place. I'm like, that was silly. Like that was, that was I mean like how many green bars I was eating like that. But at the time it made sense because it helped us get get to the level that we need to. So anyway, so that's my point is if it's when I go down the aisle shopping now, I avoid the new train it's running.


Jase Kraft: [00:34:07] So I have a similar story with Pop Tarts, so they're not as healthy.


Jase Kraft: [00:34:14] But when I was really young, my family was going down to the Grand Canyon for vacation or training to do like we were going to see if we could get down to the Colorado River and back in one day, which we ended up not not doing. But we're doing these long hikes around our house.


Jase Kraft: [00:34:33] And we did this one like nine or ten mile hike an hour we took with Pop Tarts.


Max Rooke: [00:34:43] I think it's ingrained in your memory that's it's got for life. So it's OK.


Jase Kraft: [00:34:53] So now you've been an athlete. Obviously, the industry is kind of evolved with the recovery to in that kind of stuff. So what are some things that you teach or coach your athletes to make sure that they're doing on a daily basis for is specific for recovery?


Max Rooke: [00:35:16] Yeah, well, I mean, I will say this, that we're very blessed. The place that we're at, that we have somebody who takes care of that for us. You know, I'm saying so it's like come so far that that I think a few years ago I say a few. I would have been quite that too. But there was a time where the coach was everything. Right.


Max Rooke: [00:35:35] The coach was the trainer and the coach was the was the strength and conditioning coach. And they were also and they did the treatment and then they wrapped the ankles and everything. And and now we've come to a place where it's so specialized that we have people on staff that that that is then that is the only thing they think about every single day is is is the pre and post game and the recovery of our players and the treatment of our players. So so it's really you know, I'm really grateful that we have where we surround ourselves, our team of professionals, that that is what they do. But again, I mean, we practice at seven thirty six a.m. they're in on the treatment table and they're getting their stem and their heat pads and they're doing all of the things that they need to do. And after every practice, they're rolling out and they're doing the foam. And you know, and I think for me, one of the things that I've noticed, this is like the progression and the evolution of how you how you stretch. Right. And what used to be like of static stretching is now a lot of like a lot of the mechanics is different and it's a lot of active stretch and lot of movement of hands and stuff like that activation, which wasn't the way back then. Right. Game with bands. Right. And like I say, with rollers. And it's just it's just a different just a different approach. And so I know our players, they take that take that very, very seriously, because as I said before, like, you know, you wake up the next day and you'll feel, did you know even if you did the foam roll or even if you did the bands, but if you didn't do it with intentionality, you can feel it the next day. And so so so we make sure that our players are dealing with that.


Max Rooke: [00:37:09] And I forget the name, but I'm thinking about those the compression, the things that you put that used to wear my The boots,yeah the boots, the extent of an arm tag. That's it. Yeah. Yeah, that's it. That's normal. That's it. The normal term goes. I goes. Yeah that's it goes love the normal tech. They such fans of the normal tech because it, it's, it's, I think it's, it does similar to like maybe someone like the, the icebox and all but it's just. Is it a lot less a lot less fuel, but girls love the nomadic, they they swear by that for sure.


Jase Kraft: [00:37:48] Yeah, I interviewed Sonia Wickers, Iron Man athlete and adventure racer.


Jase Kraft: [00:37:57] She swears by the normal tech boots.


Max Rooke: [00:38:01] I love them. I love them. They love them. I see them all the time. I see them all the time. They're always in them. So that's good.


Jase Kraft: [00:38:07] Yeah, we've we had a couple at our school and it was always a pleasure to go down and the recovery room and put on the booths and listen to the music and that's it.


Max Rooke: [00:38:22] That's it. That's awesome. Yeah.


Jase Kraft: [00:38:25] So how how do you think mindset, especially when it comes to like fear, anxiety for competition or after a competition like fear and anxiety of how you played or negative emotions? How does that affect recovery, in your opinion?


Max Rooke: [00:38:49] It's a great question. It's a great question.


Max Rooke: [00:38:52] I think I think this is what let me know if this is the way with the question you would asking me. But my sense is this, is that when you let emotion get into into the equation, so like when disappointment sets in or like you say or like if fear sets in or if or if, like I say, anger sets in after after a match or something like that.


Max Rooke: [00:39:19] Emotionally, what it does is it changes our approach. Right. And I think that ultimately the very best have a way of taking emotion, send it aside, and knowing that regardless of result, regardless of performance, there is a specific strategic way that I need to prepare and recover in every single match. Does that make does that make sense?


Max Rooke: [00:39:42] And so if you're, like, mad after a game, you might you might not recover and do the things that you need to do to be because you because you're still mentally sitting on all of those mistakes. And let's just put it this way, too. Sometimes if you get too cocky, if you like, you win like. Oh, yeah, what we want. And so emotionally, you go into high school, maybe underneath to recover. And so you move out of the discipline of knowing that strategically what got you to where you are needs to needs to be replicated.


Max Rooke: [00:40:14] Right. And so and so when you can set those emotional highs and lows and say, regardless of that, there is a very specific way that I need to prepare for every match. And there is a very specific way that I need to recover after every match. And it doesn't matter whether we won, we lost. We won eight and we lost eight. And I was the winner. I was the loser. Whether I play well, I didn't play where I played a lot. I didn't play a lot. Yeah, it shouldn't really matter. What matters is that recovery like what you're talking about, the scientific there's a there's a scientific sort of understanding of our bodies that if you do this and this, then you will get this right. And that that's not an emotional thing. That is a science thing that makes sense signs, signs of recovery. And so I think that emotionally emotions can sometimes get in the way of I need to want to follow the science. Right. And so on.` consistent that allows them to always, always use preparation and recovery to its maximum. So, yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense.


Max Rooke: [00:41:24] Or if that was that was kind of like. 


[00:41:26] Yeah, ne hundred percent. I've seen that play out even in my own career, whether it was a really good race or really bad race, I cooled down, I recover, do my post race a little bit differently based on that. Sometimes after, like a really good run, they, like you take time to celebrate and they get on a bus and you don't really take the time to go down the battery. Sometimes there's that tendency to sulk and you're just then unmotivated to do any of anything that takes effort and recovery effort and stuff.


Jase Kraft: [00:42:10] So that brings up a great, great point. Also, especially like this is probably more relevant in contact sports like soccer or football or basketball, you get a little nicks and bruises from other players from running around getting hit with the ball, getting hit by other players.


Jase Kraft: [00:42:34] Yeah, I would imagine that there's afterwards you could have some bruises that feel a little bit. And some other times and start to get in your own head about this could be something bigger than it is. How do you know when to take something serious or to be like, no, I can work through this?


Max Rooke: [00:42:58] Yeah, that is a man. That is a great question. I will answer that.


Max Rooke: [00:43:05] That is that is a really, really great question that has got me thinking. I want to say that again, I've used this term a few times already. Jase, is that not necessarily me, but I know I've experienced this and you might really relate to this when you start to surround yourself with really, really high level people doing life at a high level. Yeah. You start to see patterns. Right. And you mentioned the word again about being bold and being courageous is I think that that players who are at the top of the top, you know, the highest level.


Max Rooke: [00:43:40] Yeah. They find they find every reason to not be limited by what's possible. What I mean by that is, is that a little nick and niggle or a little injury isn't going to prevent them from playing the next game or is going to stop them from their pursuit of what they want now. Do you have to have the right people that can can also guide you, and give you the right information so you don't overdo it? Absolutely. But but what I see is there are some people who you can use the excuses to prevent them from from go into the places that they want to go out. I've got I've got this. I've got this. And then there are some people that they take the complete opposite approach and they're like, and it's this and it's the same injury or it's the same knock or it's the same bruise. But to somebody, that's what I think I should take is in this day. And then somebody else is saying that is not going to be the reason why myself or us as a team are not going to do the things that we want to do. And so I think that that the mentality that supports that, it's like I can all have these conversations. If you notice now they seem to come back to the Y, right.


Max Rooke: [00:44:45] And so when you talk about the signs of recovery and stuff like that, it's like, what is your wife while you recover? Why do you do do all of those little things that that's a lot of people. Why would you why do you spend so much time doing those things that you need to do? But when it's connected to a Y, then it's not work or it's not it's not something that you have to do, but you get to do. I like to say that's what be that's like do you have to do something or do you get to do do you have to prepare for the game or do you get to prepare for the game. Do I have to do a post recovery or do I get to do a post recovery?


Max Rooke: [00:45:18] If you have to do it, it's you approach it very, very differently. And then if you get to do it, you know. And so so again, I'm kind of coming back to your question is, is that that when you look at some of these strains and this and that and these knocks, that that could seem like, oh, my God, like, yeah, I do feel it, but it's like, do I have to deal with that or do I do I get to deal with it? Is it just a part of it? Is it is it a part of my process? And it's just a bit but it's all related to mentality. Right. And if you're a part of a team team culture, but there's a there's a deeper sense of meaning that you can associate some of these things that you're talking about, like a knock or a bruise or ache or a pain. And it's it's association. So that makes sense.


Jase Kraft: [00:46:01] Yeah. So you kind of described going back to this interview. I did with the Iron Man, Tony Elwick episode for anybody out there. She had a quote that said, The coach's responsibility is to protect the players from themselves and the players responsibility to, like you said, just go and do no matter what. It's great. And I can see the relationship here.


Max Rooke: [00:46:33] It's great. Was great.


Jase Kraft: [00:46:36] So Now you as a coach, you focus and you can tell by the way you're answering a lot of these questions. You focus a lot on the mentality of sport.


Jase Kraft: [00:46:49] What what do you think is the biggest mentality like mistake that an athlete has or the other most common thing that somebody needs to get through to take it to the next level?


Max Rooke: [00:47:02] Yeah, and that is a that is a massive it's a massive question. And I think that what I've learned is this wasn't something that I came to early on, whether it be as a player or even as a coach in my early years as a coach. But if I had to really boil it down to one thing, it's this is what holds a lot of people back, is that and then it's going to sound crazy. It's like what got you? And I say, you, me and anybody listening to hear what? Gosh. And see if this applies to you. What got you to where you are today is actually going to be the very same thing that's going to hold you back from the next level that you want to get to. And I can say again that what got you to where you are today is actually going to be the very thing holding you back from where you want to get to that next level. And so often times what I would do is as I work with people and I'm helping them sort of associate with how they got to where they are, but then also saying that that is the very thing. And it's like there's this paradox, if you will. Right. There's the simple mindset shifts that can create these extraordinary results. And oftentimes it's like we have one way of thinking, and we power through, which gets us to where we are. But but that same level of thinking is not going to get you to the next level and then you have to create. But it's not these massive, massive things like a lot of the people that are achieving at the highest level.


Max Rooke: [00:48:26] There is just these little mindset shifts. And that's what makes sense. Right. And so I can give you an example. Right. So I can give an example. So so an example might be this for high achievers or high achievers, focus a lot on what they want. Right? This is what we want. This is the result. Not that this is what I'm going to do. This is what I want. This is where I'm headed. Right.


Max Rooke: [00:48:49] But sometimes if it's like holding a butterfly to take a butterfly in your hands and if you squeeze it and squeeze it too tight, what happens? Right. You squish. It's like you've got to hold a butterfly in such a way where you don't hold it to stop. It flies away, but you don't hold it too tight where you kill it. Right.


Max Rooke: [00:49:06] And it's like sometimes we hold onto windows so much that by thinking about it so much, you actually stop yourself from getting what you want.


Max Rooke: [00:49:15] Right. And so an example that I have is is working here at Pepita so blessed to work with our team or with our coaching staff. And so there is a few years ago where we we were doing really well and we fortunately we won one of the top teams in the country. And it's it's it's not an every year thing. But we we find ourselves in the top twenty five. We've been in the top 10 and and we've had some pretty good success. And, but again, we have to work for that's not it's not a given. You have to work for them every single year. And but there was a time we were like, well what's the next level for us? What's the next level? And how do we get to that level anyways? Long story short, as we made the shift, I kind of took our coaching staff and I talked with our players and took them through. This process was like, well, you know, we need to redefine what what we're doing everything for. And so I think a lot of programs and again, I'm not going to necessarily just pigeon hole and say it's every program, but again, somebody is listening to this might be able to relate, but, you know, cut through industry like a profession or NCAA Division one, which then plays like a lot of teams. Everything is centered around like the top of that pyramid is like how do we how do we win? How do we win? How do we get results? And every decision that you make is filtered through what is whatever is at the top of the pyramid.


Max Rooke: [00:50:26] And so if winning is at the top, that's going to drive. Every decision makes it. What we did is we said, well, is there a way for is there a way for us to be able to still focus on winning but not make it as important? So what we did is this is kind of give me a visual. So we we took the pyramid and we just come to the concept of winning and we lowered it. What we did above it, we replace this concept of development of character. We said let's make developing women of character the most like this, the most important piece of our program. Now, does that mean that we don't want to win? No, of course not. But what we're going to say is that winning is a byproduct or a process to help us achieve something way bigger now than just a championship or a big win or whatever to set that. So we replace this concept. And so what did they do? It changed our entire process. It changed how we treat our players. It changed how we recruited it, changed it by day to day interactions. It changed everybody that was associate with program and without this guy could keep on and on and on. But this is the thing. When we focused less on winning with our program, that means we talk less about it.


Max Rooke: [00:51:29] We didn't value it as much the minute we did that. We've won more than we've ever won in a program like our program has gone to another level because what was holding us back was the very thing that got us to where we are. What got us to where we are was let's what do we need to win? What do we need to get results. And the very thing that was holding us back is that we were focused on results too much. Yeah. Does that make sense? And so and so it's like once once we once we go out of our own way, everything's changed. And and it was it was simply a mindset shift and not a big one, but a small mindset. You have to say, OK, what do we value more than the winning? Like what do we really do? And what we came up with is that our ultimate goal within our program, God has gifted us with the ability to take a group of young women and help them become the very best they can be. So our whole program is built around developing women of character. And as I said in the process, everything about our program is transformed, including our results, including what we've been able to achieve. So so it's it's kind of the crazy thing. That's what I would say. And I can say that about a lot of different not just soccer, not just teams, but individually in business and life. It's that concept that.


Max Rooke: [00:52:40] We've got us to where we have today can actually be the very thing holding us back from we want to get to. 


[00:52:44] Yeah. Know that that you're right, it's not intuitive, but when you lay it out like that, it makes a lot of sense. And from a training perspective, it makes sense to I mean, whether you're training your your deadlift Max or your Mirel endurance, if I go out and I run five miles every day, I'm going to get whatever shape five miles a day gets me.


Jase Kraft: [00:53:12] But that's not going to take me to what shape 10 miles a day would. And it's the same with deadlift. If I go and deadlift and twenty five pounds every day once a day, that's not going to get me to totally.


Jase Kraft: [00:53:28] And and so then it makes sense when you apply it to things like you're talking about or your your mindset, your mentality and culture and everything.


Max Rooke: [00:53:41] So to connect the two, so to connect the two, what I would say is this is for anybody listening is like be very conscious and very clear on what you want and why you want to be very clear on what is it that you're working towards. I'm saying like because that that will define everything, just like you said. And you're trying to think so. And I don't always think that everybody I think a lot of people know what they don't want, but I don't think that everybody knows what they actually really want, you know. And so, yeah. That's interesting to talk to.


Jase Kraft: [00:54:12] Yeah. Yeah.


Jase Kraft: [00:54:13] We could go down rabbit hole there. I say is no, no. I want to try some things but that's all could go on.


Jase Kraft: [00:54:25] And we're running out of time here as I have some some rapid fire questions for you in 60 seconds or less and then we'll wrap up here. So when it comes to the aspect of recovery, whether it be mentally, physically, emotionally, what is one thing that you wish you could tell a 17, 18 year old it would be connected to the most?


Max Rooke: [00:54:50] Don't be so hard on yourself, like a lot of times where we are our own worst critics. And I just think we need to give ourselves some grace and some space to enjoy the journey more and not focus on the destination. So we literally just don't be so hard on yourself.


Jase Kraft: [00:55:04] Yeah, great. OK, so if you could be the best in the world and one sport that wasn't soccer or English football, what would that be?


Max Rooke: [00:55:16] Well, I want to say honestly, I have such an appreciation for what they do and the speed at which they do things on the ice, on skates. I just I know there's something about I'm not a massive fan of the NHL, but I just really appreciate whenever I watch a match, I'm super, super enthralled by what they did.


Max Rooke: [00:55:39] The NHL could go.


Jase Kraft: [00:55:42] And then if you were to gauge an athlete's likelihood to succeed based on three qualities or three habits, without knowing the sport, without knowing the athletic body, without even seeing the athlete, like what three qualities would you bet on?


Max Rooke: [00:56:02] Number one, durability, I think a lot the best,a lot of the best, best athletes that durable, durable, physically, durable mentally able to overcome a lot of things.


Max Rooke: [00:56:14] And the stuff that we talked about, being durable and being able to maintain and continue and not get dragged down or bogged down. So durability, I think right along that has to be adaptability. I think they go hand in hand. So adaptability, being able to adapt, knowing that life isn't always going to go your way or things aren't always going to go away.


Max Rooke: [00:56:32] And how do you adapt? How do you adapt to change? How you adapt to adversity. So adaptability, a durability, adaptability. And I think third would be urgency.


Max Rooke: [00:56:45]  I think that the people that I know that are doing life at high level, there is a sense of urgency in that they want to get things done and they want to make it happen.


Max Rooke: [00:56:54] And it kind of strapped on time. But I look like it's almost like they have a way to compress time. Like a lot of times I don't think we always do things in the present because with too we don't realize what's going to happen because of it. And so therefore we let things go and now we'll get to another dancer. But then the greats have a way to compress time. They know that what they're doing, what they're doing now in the present moment, they have a clear picture of how it's going to affect me in six months or a year or five years or ten years. And they bring the future into the present and they compress it in such a way where things become way more urgent. I'm saying and you can look at that from a recovery standpoint, like if you knew that in five years, you could add five, maybe you could at the end of your career, you could have five years. To your career, if you just recovered correctly, then you would you would be way more urgent in the way that you recover. If you knew that when you got to thirty five, you knew that you could actually go to forty or forty five or you got to do is, is, is, is do things right in the present moment.


Max Rooke: [00:57:58] So urgency I think is a big thing. So yeah. Your ability, adaptability and urgency.


Jase Kraft: [00:58:03] Awesome. Well I don't think we could have ended on a more powerful note there. So if if you're listening and you want to connect with with Max, I'll tell you that in a second here. But Max does speaking. He does coaching for both athletes and coaches, if I'm not mistaken, there. Max Rooke, dotcom is a great place to connect with him. And rookies spelled r o o k e dotcom and the max with X and then Instagram. He's at Max J Rec, Twitter, Max underscore rec and then on Facebook you can find him at life to the number, to the max on Facebook anywhere else or anything you want to say.


Max Rooke: [00:58:51] That's it. That's it. That's it. I'm just happy, I'm happy to answer any questions anybody has as has a need. Wants to reach out. Yeah. I love, I love connecting with people so I appreciate it.


Jase Kraft: [00:59:01] Yeah. No problem. And he does have some, some pretty good resources to for some self discovery on his website. So be sure to check that out of links to it in the show. So thanks so much for for being on the show, Max.


Max Rooke: [00:59:15] Jace, you were amazing. I just wanted to know you're doing amazing things. I really appreciate the time you spent today. But, yeah, you're doing doing so much, so much, so much great work and added so much value to people. So keep it up yourself. I really appreciate it. Thanks. All right.


Jase Kraft: [00:59:28] All right. Episodes over. If you found value in this episode, please consider giving us a review on iTunes. And if you haven't already yet, subscribe do so now. So you don't miss any important topics in the coming week. If you have any questions or suggestions for the show, please send them my way. I am most responsive on Instagram that at @JaeCheese or email me directly at


Max Rooke

Ex-Pro Soccer Player, Coach

A native of England, Max grew up and played for professional team Reding Football Club (soccer) before moving to the U.S.A to play collegiate soccer for NCAA Division I Mercer University. During this time he won four conference championships, was Atlantic Sun Conference player of the year, an All-American selection and is currently the only male soccer player in school history to have his jersey retired. Max also had the distinguished honor of being a member of the Great Britain National soccer team and competed at two World Championships.

He now coaches as the Associate Head Women’s soccer coach at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Since starting in 2014 He has been part of two West Coast Conference Championships, one NCAA Sweet Sixteen Appearance, with four NCAA Tournament appearances and 2 NCAA Regional Staff of the Year awards.