Developing Others

The talk of developing others is always a polarizing one. In wrestling, it is a very common buzzword when a program is doing well or not so great. As a relatively new coach, I am learning how to develop my athletes every day. I am lucky to have great colleagues and I had great coaches that developed me so I have a an idea on how I want to develop my wrestlers.

One way to help develop others is to find out what their goals are. I like to have a meeting with my wrestlers at the beginning of the year and see what their goals are. And I like realistic goals. You can have unrealistic goals when you work unbelievably hard, but that takes awhile. Once we talk about their goals, then we talk about how to go about achieving these goals and what it looks like to get there. The next step is big and is the hardest thing to do. It is to ask them if they want to be coached and held accountable. Then, I have to hold them accountable everyday. That means if an athlete tells me they want to workout 15 minutes after practice everyday to improve their cardio, but they want to skip one day because they’re tired, I have to remind them about the goals they told me. Remember that they told me they wanted to work out 15 minutes after each practice to achieve their goal. I didn’t say it, but as their coach I have to hold them accountable.   

Another way I like to develop my athletes is to constantly meet with them and evaluate their past performances and their week of practice. This allows me to see if the short term changes are working and helps hold the athlete accountable. If they tell me they want to be a national champion but they’re training like they just want to be on the team, then there is an issue. Either I am not communicating what national champion work ethic looks like, or they know and they aren’t doing it. So the weekly meetings are a good way to stay on top of the athletes development and fix any issues along the way.

There is also a disconnect sometimes on the amount of hard work that is needed to accomplish some of these big, lofty goals. Pretty much every wrestler in the country has practice at 3PM in the afternoon and additional conditioning (weight lifting, cardio) in the morning. If you are only doing the minimum amount of work, chances are you aren’t going to develop at the rate you want to. There are two ways to outpace the competition. One way is to get 100% out of each practice. That means 100% focus, intensity, and effort at every single practice. If you can do that, I guarantee you will develop. Another way and this is probably the most common way to develop is to get extra practice in. Whether it's more cardio, or different workouts, this will improve every part of your wrestling faster. I feel like all of these development tactics are easily translated into the real world.

Want to be a better professional and leader? Set goals and make sure you live in a way that reflects them. Meet with people who have more experience than you and learn from them. And finally, do more work. Read more, listen to podcasts, stay late. These all are traits that will make you develop into the person you want to be. 

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