February 15, 2011 by David Gillaspie
One President Makes The Coaching Grade
The 26th President of the United States, or wrestling mentor?
1. Who do you want in the corner chair, someone concerned with the chair or someone staring a hole through you during the walk out?
Teddy Roosevelt says: Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
If you believe you can wrestle well, and your coach knows you can wrestle well, add it up you will win often.
2. What do you want to hear after a match, “Good job”, “Nice work”, “You’ll get them next time.” Coach Teddy says:
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Maybe you did the right thing and lost, or the wrong thing and won. If you didn’t do anything, you have to wonder why. Figure it out fast and get ready to go again.
3. If you can’t get your mind around what to do and when to do it, take a tip from TR:
The boy who is going to make a great man must not make up his mind merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats.
You get in shape; you practice hard; you make weight; but somehow you either can’t get to the opponent you want to beat, or when you do you can’t beat him. What do you do? Get in better shape; practice harder; review #1.
4. Once you get yourself together, once you’ve followed all the directions and taken all the advice, and you still can’t beat your top rival, you need an extra boost. President Theodore Roosevelt feels your frustration:
The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants.
Do you doubt this guy was a butt-kicker? He’s one big boot and all he sees are hindends.
5. Say you’ve done your best and come up short. Say you’ve won it all, but didn’t get your parade. What’s missing? Nothing. Coach Teddy explains:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
You don’t expect a box of CapriSun and a plastic trophy from China. This isn’t rec soccer. You’ve put yourself on the line more than anyone in the stands on this day. Win or lose, you shake hands with your opponent, his coach, and you walk back to your team knowing you’ve done more than anyone watching.
6. When you look into the stands before a match, what do you see? Family? Friends? A bunch of men wishing they were you? All the above. Teddy explains:
The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.
If you’re a slave to your dreams, make sure you’re doing what you can to fulfill them because every man watching a wrestling match shares that dream. Do that and you’ll regret other things, not wrestling. When your coach gets too fired up and you wonder why, it’s because he’s fully alive and sharing your dream from the corner chair.
7. If you take a moment to reflect and you don’t have the right answer to “Is this worth it”, Coach Roosevelt does have the right answer:
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
The coaches of the world want their teams to rise to the occasion. So do the fans. As wrestlers, former wrestlers, wrestling coaches and parents of wrestlers, you want the sport to carve its meaning deep enough to last a lifetime.
Mount Rushmore carries President Theodore Roosevelt’s face for a reason. He’s one of the greats. He would have been a handful on the mat.
You can’t be Coach Teddy, but you be great. He lays it out for you:
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Start it up and go full blast!