He described the difference he sees between students who simply do okay in the program, and those who reach the top.
It hit me that the lessons he’s learned as a winning wrestling coach apply to many other areas of life.
If you want to succeed at the top level, Brian said, it requires the following three commitments:
1. A commitment to year-round training.
The wrestlers who reach the top have no off-season. There’s never an extended time when they’re not focused on being the best athlete they can be.
They not only wrestle, but they also play football in fall, run track in spring, and attend wrestling camps and training sessions during the summer. They play other sports not for the sake of the other sport, but to keep in shape for wrestling season.
Sure, they take rest breaks. Brian himself regularly takes days off and vacations with his family.
But the best wrestlers have pledged to be year-round athletes. They never drop their guard when it comes to their commitment to training.
Question # 1: Whatever your goal is, are you ALWAYS working toward it?
2. A commitment to regular competition.
The top wrestlers regularly compete. They know that competition provides the needed pressure to promote excellence.
Some wrestlers simply show up and participate, Brian said. Or they go through the motions at practices, but that’s it. They never achieve excellence this way.
Competition provides regular accountability. When a wrestler competes, he is forced to show up and give it his all. His commitment is tested, and that forces him to train with a goal in mind. He doesn’t want to washout at his next competition.
The demands of regular competition spur a person forward to reach higher levels.
Question # 2: Whatever your goal is, have you built in a system of regular accountability that presses you forward?
3. A commitment to consistent evaluation
The best wrestlers evaluate every wrestling meet when it’s over, no matter if they win or lose.
They learn quickly that both wins and losses are necessary parts of the equation.
If they lose, they ask why. What went wrong? What can they do better next time?
If they win, they also ask why. What did they do right that will be reproducible next time?
Question # 3: Whatever your goal is, do you consistently evaluate your progress?
Question for comments: What’s one big goal you have right now, and how are you pressing forward to meet that goal?