How Did Matt Anderson Become One of the Best Volleyball Players in the World?

The Recap

Sam welcomes to the podcast two-time Olympian and professional volleyball player, Matt Anderson. Matt is currently a member of the Italian club Modena Volley and the United States men’s national volleyball team, with whom he was a participant of the Olympic Games, 2014 World League and 2015 World Cup.

In this episode, Sam and Matt discuss Matt’s volleyball origin story, from his days playing for Penn State at the collegiate level to winning bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Matt speaks to his decision to leave college a year early and pursue a professional career playing abroad. Sam and Matt reflect on their shared experience of the Olympic blues and the sheer weight and pressure the Olympics carries with it. Finally, Matt talks about the future of professional volleyball and advice he would give to young and aspiring athletes everywhere.

Episode Highlights

01:07 – Introducing today’s guest, Matt Anderson

01:38 – Sam takes a moment to thank her sponsor, Tumbl Trak and Right Rice

02:43– Sam and Matt share their first memories of each other

04:07 – Matt’s journey as a young volleyball player

05:27 – Matt talks about considering a pursuit of basketball

07:23 – The college recruitment process and the decision to attend Penn State

09:59 – Highlights from Matt’s collegiate career

11:30 – The leadership role Matt took on while in college

12:12 – The moment Matt realized he was good enough to play volleyball professionally

14:58 – The decision to go pro and what Matt learned about himself through this decision

18:25 – Leaving home and culture shock

22:02 – Matt recalls highlights from playing professional volleyball

23:39 – Training for the Olympics

27:31 – Matt recalls the moment he was named to the 2012 Olympic Volleyball team

29:29 – Matt’s first Olympic experience at the 2012 Games in London

30:30 – How Matt viewed himself as an Olympian

33:50 – Matt elaborates on why he didn’t accomplish all of his goals at the 2012 Olympic Games and the lessons he learned from this experience

36:31 – Sam takes a moment to thank her sponsors Tumbl Trak and Right Rice

37:35 – The decision to request a contract termination in 2014

43:10 – Matt talks about the decision to return to professional volleyball

47:12 – How Matt’s second Olympic experience compared to his first

49:04 – Training for the 2020 Olympic Games and what Matt hopes to get out of it this time around

52:00 – The advantages of playing internationally

53:25 – Growing the sport of volleyball

56:54 – Nature vs. Nurture

59:40 – Advice Matt would give to his younger self

1:00:40 – Matt answers some fan questions

1:06:20 – Matt reveals one thing people can do to get 1% better each day

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