Search This Blog


Monday, September 9, 2013

Gatorade National Player of the Year Awards: One on One with Abby Wambach

I had the pleasure of attending the Gatorade National Player of the Year Awards last month in Los Angeles.

Over the course of the next few weeks I'll be releasing my interviews with these athletes. Next up is Abby Wambach.

TAKKLE:  So what do you remember from your earliest days as a Gatorade player of the year?

Abby: Thinking back to my high school days, I'm thinking if these athletes aren't thinking the same thing I did. When you win awards as young player, you wonder if you'll ever do it again, if someone will notice you again. That's always there. So when you're young you build those competitive feelings and emotions that let you step off that stage, and you wanna get back on that stage as fast as possible. Whether that's After I stepped off the podium winning my first gold medal in Spain, or after the second gold medal,winning awards or championships reinvigorates me and re-motivates me to do it again. These kids are in a really cool spot and I can't wait to see what happens for the rest of their careers.

TAKKLE: How cool was it give the award to Morgan [Andrews]?

Abby: Morgan is one of those players that engaged me the entire dinner. If I'm her age and I have Mia Hamm giving me an award at her age, I don't act the same way she acts, she impressed me beyond belief. She deserves the award, obviously, her being a soccer player makes it more special for me, I'm a little biased. It also means, impact fully, we're making a greater change from a national team perspective, in impacting these players to be bigger than the maybe they thought they could be themselves. That's what we're trying to do here, we're all trying to inspire people to live a better and have a happier life.

TAKKLE: So going back to your High School days, what are your fondest memories?

Abby: The relationships i created with my teammates. I really learned what it was like, and what it feels like to be on a solid chemistry working team. I believe in team dynamics, and you didn't always agree with your teammates, but you respected them and believed in them, even when they didn't believe in themselves.

Takkle: A lot of people deal with a tough loss differently, how do you personally deal with a tough loss? First thing that comes to mind is the loss in the World cup in 2011 and coming back in 2012 in the Olympics.

Abby: Yeah, I'm not a happy camp[er when we lose, the national team especially, I always try and turn it inward, and figure out what I can do better first, before I examine what happened and where things went wrong, or broke down. I always like to be conscious of what my role played was in losing. A lot of the times I'm not the reason why we lost, but I could've helped more on the winning end. Losing isn't fun.

TAKKLE: If you could give one piece of advice to any athlete looking to take that next step and increase their performance, whether it's on or off the field, what would it be?

Abby: I think mentally, you can have all the pictures on the walls you want of your idols, and you can literally follow them to a "T" nowadays with how much information we have, you can probably follow their nutrition plan, what kind of clothes they wear even. My advice would to be find your own way, it's the only way great players become great players, it's by having something unique. The earlier you can find out what that quality is, the better off they'll be.

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gatorade National Player of the Year Awards: One on One with Philip Rivers

I had the pleasure of attending the Gatorade National Player of the Year Awards a few weeks ago in Los Angeles.

Over the course of the next week I'll be releasing my interviews with some of the top high school athletes and pro athletes. First up is San Diego Chargers QB, Philip Rivers.

Takkle: So, hows the the experience been thus far here at the Gatorade National Player of the Year awards?
Philip: It's been great experience, Gatorade is obviously is a first class organization. This is a one of a kind event. When you think about honoring high school athletes across the country. It includes off the field accomplishments, it really includes everything. It's about as prestigious as it comes. When you see the kind of numbers these high school athletes are putting up in their career that they've had it's quite amazing. And it's an honor to be around the professional athletes along with the high school athletes here at this event.

Takkle: What kind of words did you have for nominee, Max Browne?
Philip: I told him to have a plan, and he seems to have one. He seems to be mature beyond his years, ya know he graduated early from high school. I did the same thing 13 years ago. So I think that will help him feel comfortable going into his first fall season, whether he red-shirts, whether he plays, whatever happens. He definitely seems to be headed in the right direction.

Takkle: What are your fondest memories as a high school athlete?
Philip: Gosh I have so many, ya know it's funny because I didn't have an opportunity to tell Max, but, all of the levels I've played in. When I was in college playing at the shoe at Ohio State, playing at Florida State, in the pro's playing in the AFC Championship game. Some of my greatest memories are from playing in high school. I know for me it was playing for my dad, my dad was my high school coach, that's the one that stands out. Just playing for him and being his QB is special, and is still one of my favorite times on the football field.

Takkle: How hard is to balance school and sports. Especially high school into college?
Philip: I think it's different at every level. I think in college it's understanding that you have to pass to stay on the field . You have to do your school work in order to stay on the field. For me it helped to graduate early, and get that semester under my belt before I got on the field, and get to see how it all worked.

Takkle: If you had one piece of advice to a high school athlete to take it to the next level, what would you tell them?
Philip: Well first off you have to believe you can do it.

Secondly, all it takes is one school to like you, just like the pros, all it takes is one team to draft you, or pick you, or want you. There are so many schools that are great, and all it takes is one. You can be wanted by them all, but you can only play for one. And then I think just having a plan, believe in it, and stick with it.

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Own The First Move

Nutrition is such a vital part of an athlete's regimen. However, often times it's the first thing to get overlooked when training for that big moment. When I spent a month under a nutrition and exercise plan the results after 6 weeks were amazing.

Gatorade has pushed the envelope even further with it's new G Series Energy Chews highlighting Cam Newton and Hope Solo in "Owning the First Move".

I can't think of a better way for a quick healthy carb boost before heading to the gym, than snacking away on an energy chew, because it can easily be stashed away in a bag or kept in your pocket for easy consumption.

Here's Cam talking about why "Owning the First Move", and stepping up his nutrition, is such a vital part in becoming a bigger threat to defenses in the NFL.

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Amy Rodriguez

A Puma sponsored athlete

Amy Rodriguez might tell you she “fell” into soccer…but if you know anything about this star Philadelphia Independence forward, it’s just her being humble. Amy has an Olympic medal under her belt and was the #1 draft pick in the Women’s Professional Soccer league. Next up: The world games in Germany. We checked in with the superstar player to chat about the greatest achievement of her professional career so far.

Takkle: What attracted you to the life of a professional soccer player?
Amy Rodriguez: I guess I eventually fell into it. I’ve been a soccer player since I was five or six. I really enjoyed the game when I was playing it. I was able to get a college scholarship out of it, and that led me to playing with our national team. And then after I graduated college, I got drafted to go play in the professional league, so this whole window of opportunity opened up for me.

Takkle: Who’s your favorite athlete of all time?
AR: I really like Michael Jordan – we have the same birthday. But as an athlete, he’s very inspiring.

Takkle: What did it feel like when you heard you were the #1 draft pick during the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft?
AR: It was kind of surreal because I never thought that any of this was going to happen. When I got my college scholarship, my parents were so excited and happy for me. Then I was selected to go to the Olympics in Beijing. And again, I just felt very fortunate. I always felt like I was in the right place at the right time with the right coaches and the right people.

Takkle: You share your nickname with the Yankees’ A-Rod….
AR: I actually like it because Andy Roddick is another A-Rod I look up to. So, I think the three of us share a pretty cool name and it’s all fun because we play three different sports.

Takkle: How do you personally get over the disappointment of a loss?
AR: That’s really hard and sometimes it takes longer than others. I think whenever you make a mistake in a soccer game or at practice, you just have to get yourself to move on and being a great athlete is not about sulking in the low moments. I think it takes the ability and the drive to get yourself back on top. So, I always focus on the next player, the next game, or the next tournament and try to work on the things that I need to improve on to play better.

Takkle: You’re known to be a bit of a girly-girl off the field. Is that something you need to change when you’re out there on the field playing or do you feel like it’s part of your overall style?
AR: I think you can be a girly-girl on and off the field. I’m proud to be a women’s soccer player and I’m proud to be feminine and enjoy that. But at the same time, being girly doesn’t take anything away from your athletic ability – or it shouldn’t. I bring a lot to the field everyday – hard work and intensity. That doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna be girly or anything like that.

Takkle: What’s  one of the most difficult things about being on the road for games?
AR: When you’re on the road, it’s tough because you’re trying to do the right things that get your body ready for a big match or a big competition. A lot of times it’s finding the right meals, sleeping in your own bed, and those sort of things kind of get thrown off when you’re not at home or you’re not in a familiar place. But I’ve learned to adjust. I’ve played so many games on the road now that my ability to adjust has really been a big factor in me performing well despite having the comfort of being home.

Takkle: What are your favorite TV shows to watch when you have down time?
AR: It’s funny because during the World Cup years, we really have no time to do anything. All the TV shows are Tivo’d. It’s hard to keep up, but recently I’ve been on a reality show kick with shows like American Idol, The Voice, The Real Housewives or Bethenny Ever After.

Takkle: Looking back, what advice would you give yourself as a teenage athlete?
AR: My sister is sixteen, so it’s almost like I’m giving her advice. It’s tough because at that age there are so many different things going on, like school, sports, and your social life. I think you have to learn to prioritize what’s important to you. My family used to always tell me that God and faith are number one, two are family, three is school, four was soccer, and then five was friends. So, prioritize your life and make sure that you’re taking care of the areas that mean the most to you.

Takkle: Have you ever struggled with something in soccer throughout your career?
AR: Yeah, definitely. I think my first year in the pro league I didn’t perform very well. I had a lot of pressure from my coaches and teammates and that was very difficult for me. It was very hard and so I had to learn to overcome that and I had to learn to overcome a lack of confidence. I think when you’re not confident, it’s really hard to play and I had to get through that and it was very tough, but I did it.

Takkle: Do you have a pick-me-up or a confidence mantra?
AR: I guess for myself I’m like, “Get the next one. Go for the next play. Get the next pass.” You can always look forward to the future.

To see Amy in action on the road to Germany, head to and check out the soccer star and her fellow players as they prepare for the biggest games of their lives!

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg

Monday, July 11, 2011


Gatorade will present the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards to the nation’s best overall male and female high school athletes on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa. Emceed by ESPN’s Stuart Scott, the awards will be presented by Matthew Stafford, Lisa Leslie, Kevin Love and Jessica Mendoza.  All twelve 2010-11 Gatorade National Players of the Year are nominees for this award. 

Fans can tune in to watch the live stream of the awards dinner at from 5:30-7:30 PM PST.  And from 7:30-9:30 PM PST, fans may stay on the USTREAM channel to ask questions live to all presenting professional athletes and the 12 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year nominees.

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One on One with Six Time Olympic Medalist Ryan Lochte

In part two of this interview with six time Olympic medalist, Ryan Lochte. We dive right in to the GSSI testing. Ryan also provides excellent insight for high school athletes looking to take it to the next level.

Here are a couple of additional tests Ryan went through, that went above and beyond what I was tested on back in February
  • Lactate Threshold:  Lactic acid is a by-product of anaerobic metabolism (as a result of high-intensity exercise), and high levels are thought to lead to fatigue. Knowing an athlete’s lactate threshold (the point at which lactate is produced faster than it is cleared) can help identify training “zones.”  Additionally, the better trained the athlete the higher intensity he/she should be able to train at before reaching lactate threshold.
    • Ryan swam four 400m at progressively faster paces.  A blood sample (finger prick) was collected after each 400.

  •  Sport & Physiological Demands: Allows scientists to determine exercise intensity during Ryan's practice – coupling this data with the results of the Substrate Utilization testing will allow the scientists to extrapolate where his energy is coming from during training (i.e. carbohydrate stores vs. fat stores) as well as estimate his energy (caloric) expenditure.
    • Ryan wore a GPS device in the pool – the scientist will be able to chart graphs from that data after the test  
  •  Substrate (fuel) Utilization: This test is used to determine energy (caloric) expenditure, as well as determine the amount of energy used from carbohydrate fuel and fat fuel.  Using the information collected from the “Sport Demands” testing we can estimate caloric expenditure and the source of the fuel during Ryan’s training in the pool.
    • Ryan performed thirty (30) minutes of sub-maximal, intermittent exercise on a cycle ergometer (essentially, an exercise bike).  During this time, Ryan breathed continuously into a mask used to collect his expired air.

For the full interview you can see it after the jump.

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Takkle jumps into the pool with Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with six-time Olympic medalist (three gold, two silver, one bronze), Ryan Lochte, and talk about his experience with the Gatorade Sports Sciene Institute (GSSI). Ryan went through the full gamut of tests at GSSI, that both myself, and select NFL prospects went through during Super Bowl week in Dallas. 

Ryan had the added bonus of field testing by having his fuel/hydration needs measured during an actual pool workout. This allowed the GSSI scientists to further customize what Ryan needs as a swimmer. Like all elite athletes, Ryan is seeking ways to improve his performance.They will work with him to determine what adjustments he can make to his fueling and nutrition that can help give him a performance edge as he prepares for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Here are a few questions I had for Ryan about his testing experience with the GSSI.

Takkle: What was your biggest take-away from the GSSI testing that you think will help take your performance to the next level?

Ryan Lochte: Working with GSSI really helped me learn tweaks I can make regarding my nutrition and hydration that will help me gain a competitive edge as I prepare for the 2012 Olympics.

Takkle: Were there any misconceptions you had about nutrition that GSSI helped to break down through their analysis?

Ryan Lochte: I found the testing to be very beneficial. I learned a lot about the energy I exert and how what I put into my body at certain times can impact my performance.

Takkle: In what areas, if any, do you have the most room for improvement?

Ryan Lochte: I already felt that my nutrition habits were solid, but GSSI helped provide information that can help even more. Elite athletes are always looking for every advantage they can get – from training to equipment – and nutrition is certainly a way to gain an advantage in a sport where every millisecond counts.

Takkle: In a sport where you’re defined by a 100th’s of a second, do you think the GSSI has helped you gain a competitive advantage through their analysis?

Ryan Lochte: The toughest test I did was the Wingate test. I felt I did pretty well, but definitely gained some insight on things I can do to further boost my power output.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of my interview with Ryan!

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leslie Osborne: The Soccer Star Shares Five Tips for Going Pro

You’ve seen how good Leslie Osborne looks on the soccer field, but did you know this pro looks just as good off? Any guy will tell you Leslie’s a hot chick, but it’s her kick-butt field presence and style that’s really caught the eye of female fans. Oh, and Puma, who has chosen her as one of the faces of their new Women's Soccer Training Collection.

During the fun NYC launch party for the new line, Takkle got the chance to sit down and chat with the superstar athlete, who dished her five tips for going pro. Check out this video from the party, then read Leslie’s words of wisdom to find out how you can become the next, well, her.

1.      Growing up, I always thought about what other people were doing and how hard they were working. I always thought about someone working harder than me and it made me always push harder.
2.      Have fun and make sure you enjoy your sport – have a smile on your face because, at the end of the day, you’re not going to succeed if you’re not really enjoying it.
3.      Work on your weaknesses but focus on your strengths. If you’re good at something, you’ll continue to be good at it, so don’t focus so much on what you’re not good at.
4.      Build relationships. You’re going to meet so many new people throughout your career and you’re going to need to use those relationships for the rest of your life, so take advantage of who you have as a mentor or coach.
5.      Use your resources. As you come across other pro players, veteran players or retired players, make sure you talk to them. Find out what they do. I wish I would have done that more. I thought I knew what I was doing and I should have used my resources more.

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cameron Heyward Has Everything to Prove

Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward tests at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) in New York City.  Heyward is one of 14 NFL prospects featured in the new web series “Everything To Prove” – Gatorade/Steve Boyle

I was lucky enough to sit down with Cameron Heyward and talk about his experience at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. We also talked about Gatorade's "Everything to Prove" series,  and what he has done to prepare for one of the biggest days of his life, the NFL Draft. Later this week Cameron is expected to be drafted in the first or second round of the NFL draft. Heyward is one of the top ranked defensive linemen, where most experts see him as an ideal fit as a DE in a 3-4 defense.

TAKKLE: Just a few thoughts, what have you learned about sports nutrition over the past few months that you didn’t know before?
CH: It’s just very vital. Hydration is a key for always bringing more energy to your body. So you need to be hydrated before a workout, and you never want to feel thirsty during a workout because then you’re already behind the eight ball. I’ve just been working on things to put in your body to better myself for the next level.

TAKKLE: When you were first approached about this series and the chance to work with the scientists what did you think it would be in your head, and what has it ended up being for you?
CH: I just jumped at the chance, really. For me, I thought it would be more of a test tube, where I would just be in a chamber or something testing me there. But this process has had some really great scientists. They’re there to measure you, but they’re also there to help you. They’re not just looking at you through a glass wall, and having them there with you along the way helping me grow on and off the field, you know, it will help my production on the field. I’ll be able to pay attention a lot more, and it will help a lot with the mental side of things as well.

TAKKLE: Many athletes have been affected by injuries at some point in their careers, do you feel like your elbow injury has negatively affected your ability to prepare for the combine and your pro day?
CH: I didn’t do anything at the combine, but I think it just motivated me even more to get healthy and, you know, when I got my chance at my pro day it was like Christmas. I got the chance to show off my hard work, and I think it (the injury) only pushed me more to come back stronger.

TAKKLE: Do you feel that you came out with a chip on your shoulder and feeling like you had something to prove at the pro day?
CH: I think so. You know, having all those coaches there, and, for me, I knew I had to prove myself. I knew everybody was looking at me, because there was no other player there they were coming up to see. So having the support of some great trainers at Arizona API, and getting my strength back then my positions coach, Thurman Moore, really helped prepare me for the drills.

TAKKLE: What was your favorite test today, and what was your least favorite?
CH: My favorite, I would have to say was the mile run there at the end. I looked a lot better than the last time, and I think my least favorite, I would have to say, was the anabolic because I was ready to fall asleep – even though that’s probably up there with my favorites.

TAKKLE: You made the decision to watch the draft at home. Can you talk about why you made that decision, and why it’s important for you to watch it from home?
CH: Well, I think everybody is different in their decisions, and for me personally, I feel like I’m a very family-orientated guy. I want to spend this time with my family and friends, because these people have helped me become the person I am today. They’ve been along in my journey, and they deserve to be celebrated. It’s great to be in New York and to be with the fans, but I feel as though my family and my friends need to be celebrated. I want to truly thank them when I do get drafted.

TAKKLE: Are there any particular teams you would like to be drafted by?
CH: Any team in the US, because it’s a great honor. To play in the NFL, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and wherever I go I’ll be happy.

TAKKLE: What advice would you give high school athletes who are looking for an extra edge in getting recruited by colleges?
CH: Just do things right off the field. You know, I think that a lot of coaches appreciated that. Wherever you go – it doesn’t matter where – if you continue to conduct yourself right and be accountable in the classroom and on the field, those are the things coaches look for. They’re going to ask your teachers, they’re going to ask your principle, does he have any issues? But if you take care of your class work and are able to be reliable then coaches feel more at ease with you.

Share this story:
Share on Facebook! Stumble This  Digg