Appreciate the Process

Before getting into chapter 3 of the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard By Chip and Dan Heath, Matt Dernlan and Cary Kolat discuss recent wrestling events at Campbell University. Kolat’s team finished 10th at Midlands. The pair talk about appreciating the process. When you’re young and hungry all you can think about is getting to the top but, you forget how you got there. You have to build your foundation, if you rush you’ll make more mistakes. 

Scripting is Communicating

Kolat elaborates on what exactly the authors mean by scripting the critical moves. As a leader and as a coach, in order to motivate your team, you should eliminate choice and give simple steps to success. Scripting is communicating clearly and as coach, you should simplify the path. If you only give a goal or task without concrete steps on how to get there people suffer from decision paralysis. Dernlan speaks on this topic saying with too many choices, people sometimes opt to do nothing. Uncertainty makes the emotional mind anxious therefor people may opt to just do the status quo. It’s easy to overthink decisions as a coach. Something as simple as deciding to pull a freshman’s redshirt can have dire positive or negative consequences. In order to simplify these decisions, Kolat explains how you need ground rules that you stick to, to run your program. The same goes for an athlete. For example, trying to find which program you want to commit to. Find the things you’ll judge a program on and then go with your gut.

The Doctor Example

One of the examples of decision paralysis given in the book is about doctors who are about to perform hip surgery. Kolat explains how they presented doctors with 1 drug that can take the pain away and eliminate the need for surgery. Most doctors decided to try it. When they presented doctors with 2 drugs and they had to choose one they decided to opt for surgery.

Saving Mental Capacity for What Matters

As a coach, something as simple as an itinerary makes a huge difference. If you fail to organize your team at an event it could end in disaster. Overall, what you’re doing is eliminating your athletes need to think, question, or stress about the small stuff. This way they can focus on the most important part, wrestling. Tournament management is critical. There are many things that if it’s not laid out for an athlete can trip them up in a tournament. They might forget to eat or not have enough time to recover. Kolat had this down to a science when he competed and continues to implement this at Campbell.

Finish Strong

Talking about the details Kolat and Dernlan breakdown the importance of finishing strong. Just like making sure the windows on your house are straight after building it or the icing on the cake, the details matter. Some wrestlers come back after winter break different. Kolat is always more motivated because he realizes there are only 2 months left. Just because you’re not a starter doesn’t mean you can take your foot off the gas. At any time the starter could go down and you need to be ready. In order to script the critical moves as a coach, you need to lay out what they need to be doing and hold them accountable.

Don’t Over Coach

Yelling in the corner and giving an athlete too much direction can be detrimental. The more concise you can be with direction and calm the situation the better response you’ll get. To be able to reassure your athlete with ultimate confidence can be really beneficial. Breathing down some’s neck is not helpful in any other aspects of life. So why would it be in wrestling?


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