Sports psychologist Dr. Michael Gervais “works in the trenches” with high performance athletes and those in different disciplines. He wanted to share what he was learning so others could reach their maximum potential, and he was attracted to people who work in a hostile or rugged environment and were able to overcome internal obstacles, so he began developing his own podcast “Finding Mastery.”
Gervais, a Redondo Beach resident with an office in Hermosa Beach, has posted nearly 30 podcasts, from talks with volleyball legend Karch Kiraly, to most recently Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, a Hermosa Beach resident, who Gervais has a close working relationship with. Gervais has been the team’s sport psychology consultant since 2012.
“The design of the podcast is for the guest, the listeners and myself to mutually learn and to rediscover the basic elements that allow people to refine their craft, that allow them to have a deeper understanding of what they do and who they are and how they matter to the lives that they impact,” Gervais said. “That sounds like a mouthful, but its really a rediscovery of what we know to be true about ourselves.”
“Finding Mastery” became a passion project for Gervais after spending years specializing in high performance sports psychology. The seeds of the podcast came when he was just a teenager. He was born in Virginia, but his family moved to Redondo Beach when he was in fourth grade. Gervais grew up an avid surfer, but competitively he didn’t reach a high level. One day a veteran surfer told him “you got to stop worrying about what could go wrong.” He realized there was a “standing civil war inside my head.”
“I started noticing, at that point, the difference between how my thoughts could either get in my way of accessing my craft or could enhance my ability to access my craft,” Gervais said. “It set me on a course to understand the space between hesitation and commitment. It’s inside that space between where people reveal to themselves who they are. There might be anything more painful then feeling small as a human being. The quest is to be able to understand how to access the physcial and mental skills of one’s craft in any environment so that you can be all of yourself in hostel moments, rugged moments or your quiet or calm moments.”
His work with the Seahawks is based on a “coach to coach model.”
“Coaches work with other coaches to be able to enhance the accelerated learning curve and high performance for the athletes,” Gervais said. “So I spend most of my time with coaches and spend some of my time with athletes and spend some of my time with scouts and the high performance sports science program there.”
Gervais and Carroll also created the joint venture, “Win Forever,” whose mission is to “help their people be the best they can be,” through training certain mindset skills and giving the right tools to build “high performance skills at work, at home and with teams.” They collaborated with two Olympic medalists and two sports psychology consultants to build three apps and a curriculum which is being used by their corporate clients Boeing and Microsoft.
The next guests on “Finding Mastery” include local surfing star Alex Gray, big wave surfer Ian Walsh and Kyle Stark, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ director of player development.
For more information, visit findingmastery.net.