It’s an honor to have past U.S. #1 Alicia McConnell, in the hot seat today! A sports fanatic from a young age, Alicia’s rise to stardom may have appeared seamless from the outside, but it was certainly not an easy journey. In this episode, Alicia describes the mental health struggles that she went through when she was playing professionally, the immense pressure that she felt, and the lack of support she received. We discuss how Alicia got through this, and she shares some valuable advice for anyone who may be experiencing something similar. After her playing career came to an end, Alicia stayed close to the squash world, first as a coach, and then as part of the United States Olympic Committee, and she shares what she loved about both of these roles, and some of the incredible projects that she was an integral part of. We end the episode with a few questions that give further insights into Alicia’s personal life, and her passion for giving back.
Key Points From This Episode:
- Alicia describes what it was like working in the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
- Two of the achievements that Alicia is most proud of.
- Some of the organizations and corporations that USOC partnered with.
- Why Alicia recommends that communities build skateparks.
- Accessibility barriers that exist in the sport of squash.
- The importance of keeping squash up to date with progression in the digital world.
- How the skills Alicia learned in squash impacted other areas of her life, and inspired her to pass those onto others.
- Alicia explains what her childhood was like, and the tumultuous relationship she had with squash.
- Upsides and downsides of Alicia’s fierce independence.
- Lack of support Alicia experienced when she was at the top of her game.
- Anger and negativity that Alicia was prone to, and the moment that fueled her to seek help.
- Struggles that Alicia experienced on her journey to self-fulfillment.
- Alicia’s love for coaching.
- How Alicia became a part of the USOC.
- Things that bring joy into Alicia’s life.
- Alicia’s passion for giving back.
“We need to look at an athlete as a full person, a balanced person, with their mental, emotional, physical, spiritual life. It’s way more than just a medal.” — Alicia McConnell [0:02:26]
“A lot of countries supported their athletes; I was just out there on my own trying to figure this thing out.” — Alicia McConnell [0:31:13]
“You need support, you need to tell people how you feel. First you need to become aware of how you feel, and be kind to yourself.” — Alicia McConnell [0:32:23]
“You have to really get to know yourself and like yourself, and whatever you do, you can make that your own success. You don’t have to have other people tell you that it’s a success.” — Alicia McConnell [0:40:18]
“If you were given a lot in your life, to give back gives you a strong sense of purpose, and I think it’s really important.” — Alicia McConnell [01:02:09]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
This episode of Squash Radio (SQR+) sponsored by ProSportLED – the most advanced lighting technology for your racquet sport needs.
ProSportLED and Squash Radio (SQR+) are both aligned about the importance of sharing the stories of people involved in our Sport. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of anyone interested in LED lighting.