The Search for Excellence

Introducing something unprecedented to the wrestling community, Cary Kolat and Matt Dernlan kick off their new venture “The Way | A RUDIS Wrestling Podcast”. The way is something everyone is searching for. Whether that is an athletic, personal, or professional achievement. Coming from Coaching backgrounds, Kolat and Dernlan are always looking for better ways to lead athletes and elevate them. “The Way” will be breaking down different forms of literature to generate discussion and different perspectives. Then taking these lessons and knowledge and applying it to all aspects of life.

Rational vs Emotional Mind

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard By Chip and Dan Heath is the first piece of literature that will be featured. Kolat begins breaking down the different parts of the book. The book begins explaining the two different “systems” in the brain. It has a rational system and an emotional system. The rational system is a thoughtful, logical planner. The emotional system is emotional, impulsive and instinctual. Connecting this to wrestling Kolat relates to how when a wrestler is cutting weight and makes the emotional decision to break their diet. Athletes do this while the rational part of their brain knows they shouldn’t. Once you understand everyone has these two systems working in their brains you can put together a plan catered to both logic and emotion. A lot of wrestlers tend to rely on one or the other.  If you appeal to both systems you can achieve great things and help others achieve their goals.

A Clear Direction

Establishing a clear direction and organization is something the rational part of your brain can understand. Kolat relates to this by how he organizes his practices as the Head Wrestling Coach at Campbell University. A few months ago he implemented writing down on a whiteboard what the practice will consist of. This gives a clear direction, a starting point and a finish-line for his athletes. Dernlan builds off this idea and describes how explaining the plan gives ownership to the athlete. including them in the process takes away the fear of the unknown. Sometimes what appears on the surface as resistance is just a lack of clarity. The far majority of athletes are involved in a program because they want to be there and they want to win. Some guys need clarity and comprehension of the message to get behind the goal and unlock their full potential.


Kolat and Dernlan go over the main points discussed in this episode. To change someone’s behavior you have to change their situation or path. What often looks like laziness is exhaustion and how to distinguish the difference between the two. As well as what looks like resistance is actually a lack of clarity. Next episode will talk about “the bright spots”. Bright spots are not best practices. One way Dan Heath explained it is: “The question is not ‘How can my organization be like my best peer?’ The question is ‘How can my organization be like itself at its best moments?’ ”

Where to find The Way | A RUDIS Wrestling Podcast:

RUDIS Wrestling Podcast on iTunesRUDIS Wrestling Podcast on YouTube