For the Love of the Sport
How many times have you heard this phrase, “If you love what you do, you will be successful”?. That is so true in so many different ways. This phrase is the reason I decided to leave a career in Finance to pursue my coaching business, and I haven’t looked back since.
After each wrestling season I usually sit down and talk to my students about how they believe their season went and what they want to accomplish next year. A not-so-shocking discovery is that majority of the kids who love what they do have the most success. That’s why from an early age, I try to develop a student’s love for the sport. If a kid loves the sport he will ultimately become successful.
A great philosophy is to treat the sport like a game. If I score more points than you, I win. If you get taken down, get up and say nice shot and make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you lose a big match, analyze film and work on your problem areas to get better so it doesn’t happen again. The more you have fun with the sport the less pressure you will feel and the more results you will see.
That old-school tough love mentality turns off the majority of kids that come into our sport. Screaming, over working, and pounding youth wrestlers into the ground is not a way to create love for the sport. This may get some kids better, but in the long run most kids will plateau from the lack of love.
My father is a great guy, but he didn’t know much about wrestling. He pushed me to go to practice and do extra workouts, and I’m so thankful he did. But, the greatest thing my father ever did for my career was that he never was hard on me after a tough loss. He would always say, “I still love you and we will work and get him next time". That is all I wanted to hear from my dad, and I contribute his loving demeanor to my ultimate success.
Far too many times have I seen one of my wrestlers getting berated by his father after a loss; in matches or at practice. Kids are so worried about how their dad, mom or caretaker is going to react after a loss, they forget to have fun and love the sport. This only brings pressure and a negative feeling about the sport. I’m not saying not to push your kids, most kids need a little kick, but primarily in a positive way. You can’t push your kids to go to practice, then go crazy on them for not meeting your standards. If you do, you will lose them. That is a fact.
So, next time your child loses and they are distraught, give them a hug and tell them that you love them. That is all they want.