1| A 7x Champion Says Your Education Should Come First with Anja Spasojevic-Pesic


A 7x Champion Says Your Education Should Come First


It’s 2008/2009… In Northern Italy and I am living in Vicenza, Italy trying to recoup some money from a team for a former player of my agency, Elite Volley Agency, when I first met Anja.

The first thing I noticed about Anja after her presence (She’s very tall, beautiful and strong) was her warmth with a glowing smile and all the care in the world for how I was even though we didn’t know each other yet.

Anja was in Italy handling business and took a couple days to show me her region of Italy where she’d played and her friends hosted me. I remember a long night of chatting and wine and can remember waking up in the middle of the night on an air mattress that didn’t want to keep it’s air inside… ;)

Fast forward to 2014 when I asked if Anja would like to be one of the key mentors for a global project I'm building, called Elite Sport Students. She, being an incredibly selfless person, answered all too eagerly with a....

“Whatever I can do, yes!” 

So here we are starting off one of the elements of the project with this Beyond Athletic Podcast to bring mentorship, knowledge and so much more to athletes worldwide in on-demand format. 

She had to be the first interviewee in my eyes. Her husband joined us in the woods of Lake Ada just outside Belgrade, Serbia for this chat.

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Listen to the Episode Below (01:05:32)

About Anja Spasojevic-Pesic

Anja started volleyball at 12.

Played for Red Star in Belgrade, Serbia for 6 years and afterwards in 5 countries as a pro for ten years earning 7 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. 

As a standout player on the Serbian National Volleyball Team 2000-2008 she earned bronze and silver medals in major international competition. This was until unfortunately internal team issues kept her from continuing with Team Serbia. 

She is now married to Milos Pesic (Former Handballer), retired,  planning a family & entering a family business.

Key Discussion Points:

  • What’s Anja’s life story & how she got into sports?
  • What role does sport play in her life?
  • Why does an education matter for her?
  • Who/What is she inspired by?
  • Why she feels mentors are so important? 
  • What’s her advice to play at a high level?
  • How should athletes think about mistakes & failures?


Key Lessons:

  • How finding a team that will give you a great training environment and exposure to more great teams is vital.

"You get prepared physically and mentally to go and to get your carrier on another level." @5min

  • How her parents support and never pushing her allowed her to fall in love with her sport...

  • Why a private life outside of sport is so important…

"Volleyball was not everything to me, but I can't imagine my life without it."@14:30min

  • How sports can help shape you as a person but not define you…

  • Why educating yourself at a high level is more important than focusing on just being a great athlete…

  • How to be inspired by others but allow your emotions to flow freely while playing...

  • Why mentors are key to your success in LIFE and SPORT…

"I always had great support from my parents at everything, but I would have benefited for sure. Mentoring like (Elite Sport Students), showing other options, how you can get your degree and improve skills it is beneficial for younger players."