Mental Mondays with Ben Askren: The Egalitarian Approach to Wrestling
This week on Mental Mondays
Ben Askren discusses his journey to the top of the wrestling world. Specifically he breaks down his egalitarian belief. And how it pertains to one’s opportunity to achieve individual success in the sport.
The Egalitarian Approach:
Ben’s egalitarian approach to wrestling began to take shape at the age of 17. When Ben’s burning desire to wrestle in Division I had seemingly stalled before it even began at 14. Ben had given up every other sport to focus all his energies into wrestling. He wasn’t getting heavily recruited by any D1 Schools. Although he had won his first Wisconsin State Title during his junior year. He had yet to receive a scholarship offer. He and his high school coach prepared a competition/highlight video and sent it out to college coaches around the country. Even with the efforts to gain more visibility he still didn’t get much attention on the D1 level before making his decision to attend the University of Missouri.
2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships:
Six years later at the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Detroit, Michigan, where Ben had just won his second consecutive NCAA Title. He was also awarded his second Dan Hodge Trophy. A DI Head Coach approached him when he was leaving and said, “Hey, I was going through some things in my desk the other day and I stumbled on your recruiting evaluation sheet from 6 years ago. You know what it said? Not athletic enough. Not strong enough. Will never be a good college wrestler”. This was a brutal reminder.
A Brutal Reminder:
A few years prior to him becoming the most dominant wrestler in college, the people with supposedly the best eyes for talent in the sport, overlooked him. They dismissed him as lacking the requisite talent to even compete on the DI level. This story is speaks to Ben’s egalitarian belief, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, anyone can be great at the sport of wrestling. So when people tell him that he was talented, he readily admits that he wasn’t blessed with talent. That’s why he has a lot of faith in an individual’s ability to succeed and he coaches his athletes with that mentality. He still remembers where he came from, he knows what he became and why he believes success is available for anyone that wants to go take it.
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