JustinRuiz.com

Thoughts on Wrestling, Business, and Life

The Miracle Morning

I am a firm believer in developing positive habits to improve your life. I also believe that there are miracles all around us, if you are willing to look for them. I believe that there are certain things that come into our lives that aren’t just isolated coincidences.

I have had a pretty stead routine of waking up early, reading, and exercising in the mornings. However, I felt like it was missing something. I always felt invigorated and empowered when I would do those activities early in the morning, but there were days when I was tired and would justify sleeping in or just having an off day. Recently, however, I was at lunch with a friend talking about some business items, and he mentioned that he had recently read the book The Miracle Morning and began following the prescribed routine of S.A.V.E.R.S that is outlined in the book. He told me he wakes up at 4 am everyday, meditates, says affirmations, visualizes, exercises, reads, and scribes (writes/journals). He was telling me about how he had been doing it for weeks and how it was changing his life for the better. I love to read, and I was curious about the book. “How could a book be so life changing?”, I thought. I decided to investigate it for myself.

I bought the book and read it over the course of a few days. It was a very easy read, and the author, Hal Elrod, is very inspiring. He has a writing style that makes you feel like he is your friend right there encouraging you to do, be, and have more than you ever thought possible in your life. I decided to take the challenge myself, and I have to say that I wake up every morning excited to go through the routine. Everyone has to adjust the routine to their own circumstances and schedules, but this is how mine looks: 4:30 am wake up, 20 minutes of reading, 10 minutes of meditation, 5 minutes of visualization, 5 minutes of affirmations, 10 minutes of journaling, 20 minutes or other writing or planning, and 45 minutes of exercising. This has been such a blessing in my life, and it feels great! Now instead of rolling out of bed tired, I feel energized as soon as my feet hit the floor because I am excited to get going to work on myself and improving.

One of the biggest benefits of doing these activities early in the morning is that there are minimal distractions. Everyone else is asleep so it allows me some time to be surrounded by peace and quiet. There typically isn’t anything urgent happening at 4:30 am so I am free to do what I would like to do. Another benefit of doing these items early in the morning is that they are done! I don’t have to worry about whether or not I will have the energy to workout later in the day because it is already done. I don’t have to worry about whether or not I will get a few minutes of peace to write in my journal because I’ve done it early in the morning.

I highly recommend the book The Miracle Morning to anyone who would like to improve their life and get more done. I know that waking up that early sounds intimidating, but I promise you that it is worth it! For anyone who takes the challenge, please let me know how it goes. I would love to hear about it!

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Hotdogs For Christmas

Several years ago, I lived and worked in Wyoming. I lived in a small town called Evanston. The people there were awesome. I really felt like the people that I worked with and went to church with were good people who were hard working and wanted to live good lives. I can’t say much for the actual town and natural beauty of the place. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough, but it was hard to find fun things to do. I remember before I lived in Evanston that I used to think it was odd that my wife would go to Walmart as a place to hang out while she was in high school in a small town known as Alamosa, Colorado. I teased her that they couldn’t find anything better to do than to go roam around Walmart. However, I distinctly remember one night on a weekend (because I usually worked too late to do anything during the week) that we wanted to go out and do something, but we had no good ideas of what to do. I remember sheepishly asking her, “Do you want to go hang out at Walmart?”.

Even though I liked the people, I hated having to drive to Lyman everyday which was about 40 mins away. Then I would get in the hyrdrovac and drive another 2 hours or so to a job site. Now that I think of it, it was a dangerous job. I worked on oil rigs and at compressor stations and myriad of other construction sites, but the real danger was in the drive. There is no telling how many sleep deprived individuals were out on the roads at any given time, not to mention how the danger compounded when the roads were icy with 50 mph winds. It’s a miracle I survived.

I worked crazy hours. There were weeks that I worked 100 hours, and that doesn’t even include the other 20 hours + a week that I spent driving. I hardly slept, and I had to be awake at 3:30 am just to make sure that I was where I needed to be on time. It wasn’t like I was taking a whole lot of time to get ready either. I mean it took me all of 2 seconds to throw on a hat and head out the door. There were nights when I literally fell asleep mid sentence while talking with my wife because I was so exhausted. Every single day I wanted to quit. The only days that I didn’t want to quit were on pay day, and we were paid weekly. I am sure that management had figured out that if they didn’t pay every body once a week that it would be impossible to keep employees for very long. The weekly reward helped me to put my head down and keep working. If I would have had to wait for 2 weeks, I am sure that I would have quit sooner.

I tried to work as much as possible because I wanted the overtime. I worked most every Saturday and some holidays. I remember working until 2 am the night before Thanksgiving, and I remember working on Christmas Eve of that year. My wife and I had a plan that I would get home early around 7pm and then we would have time to pack up and drive down to my parent’s house for Christmas Eve and spend Christmas day with them. We were so busy at the last minute that we hadn’t made anything for dinner that night. We shrugged it off thinking that we would just grab something quick on our way out of town. What we didn’t realize was that everything would be closed on Christmas Eve. I don’t know why we hadn’t thought about that because obviously it wasn’t our first Christmas. I mean even Walmart shuts down for Christmas right? We did find a gas station that was open. It was a Maverick. We did our best to find a Christmas Eve dinner there in that gas station. After looking around at the variety of frozen foods and snacks, my wife settled on a ham and cheese hot pocket, and I ended up eating a Bahama Mama Hot Dog. When you eat a hot dog on the 4th of July, you don’t feel strange about it because you know that across the country there are millions of people eating hot dogs too. But, when you eat a hot dog on Christmas Eve, you feel like you have somehow missed the boat. I was a little sad that I was eating a hot dog that night, but I was happy too, because I was with someone I loved who didn’t mind being with someone that ate hot dogs  on Christmas Eve.

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5 Places I’d Love To Visit Again

While I was wrestling, I was able to travel the world, experience new places and cultures, and meet some amazing people. It was a great time of my life. While I was in the middle of it, I always thought that the lifestyle I was living was normal. I never realized how unique it was. I always thought that I would return to those places again. However, now that I am a few years removed from all of that traveling, I have a deeper appreciation for the opportunities that I had to travel the globe. I also realize that it may be more of a challenge to get back to some of those places that I loved seeing.

1. Greece

I loved visiting Greece. The food was always delicious and plentiful, and there was never a time that I was in Greece that I didn’t make it to the beach at least once. It was so much fun swimming in the mediterranean and riding scooters around some of the smaller islands. The open air cafes and clubs they had were impressive as well.

2. Cuba

Maybe I am just a sucker for the beach and riding scooters around. The people in Cuba were so friendly. They loved Americans despite the US trade embargo. It was hard to see how some of the people struggled there. I was always amazed at how the people could do so much with so little. I swear there were musicians that would play a guitar on the beach with only 3 strings that sounded better than some of the most experienced musicians here in the US.

3. Chile

I served a two year LDS mission in Chile. It was truly an amazing time, and I was fortunate to get a chance to take in some of the beautiful landscapes on my days off. There were beaches, mountains, volcanos, glacial lakes, and waterfalls. The food was great to which my expanded waistline could attest to after I had spent a couple years eating empanadas and pastel de choclo.

4. Romania

I didn’t get to see a whole lot of the country while I was there, but we stayed at this ski resort up in the mountains. The times that I was there was always in the summer so it was nice to be up in the cool of the mountains. The training was great there, and it was a lot of fun to spend time with the guys on the team. We even ate a bear there one time. It was crazy. They brought this big old bear leg flaming on a silver platter. When I had finished my bear, our hosts came by and offered all of us more. I tried to decline, but they wouldn’t have it. I ate so much bear that I was ready to hibernate for a couple days afterwards.

5. France

There are plenty cool things to see and do in France. Some of my favorites were sightseeing in Paris or sitting at a cafe and people watching. Visiting the Louvre museum was one of the coolest experiences that I have had in my life. The art there was unbelievable! I was so impressed at how gifted the artists were that had left masterpieces for so many to enjoy.

I may make it back to all of the places on the list, but even if I don’t, I am very glad that I had the chance to visit them at least once in my lifetime. There were plenty of other places that I saw that were noteworthy: the Egyptian pyramids, Berlin, the Red Square in Moscow, Budapest, Prague, London… I’ve never been to Canada though, which is kind of silly. It’s like going to all of your friends houses on the block while growing up, but never visiting your neighbor that lives next door. Maybe I will make it there someday too.

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You Just Do It

How do you get good at anything? How do you learn everything that you need to know about a particular subject? You just do it.

Back in my younger years, I went to a coffee shop one night during an open mic night. I had never been to an open mic night at a coffee shop before, and I was intrigued by the performers that were there. Some were terrible. They tried hard, but their performances weren’t impressive enough for me to want to hear anymore than I absolutely had to. There were others who were ok. The music they played was bearable, and there were moments when I thought “They’re not bad.” Finally, there were some musicians who were amazing. They played music that I wanted to hear, and I would have been perfectly content if they stayed on the stage the remainder of the evening. At that point I became intrigued, and I wondered if it was something that I could do. I realized there was literally zero barrier to get on stage, other than my inability to play the guitar and sing. I made the decision that I would get up on the stage one day.

I knew very little about music other than I wanted to perform in front of people at the coffee shop. I did know that I would need practice and lots of it. I had an old guitar that I had gotten years ago that I never learned to play well. The day after I had seen the performance at the coffee shop, I dug out my old guitar and began practicing. I didn’t know where to start so I just tried learning the songs of one of my favorite musicians at the time, Jack Johnson. His music sounded great, and it didn’t sound like there would be a lot of crazy guitar solos involved so I bought a book that showed how to play his songs. I practiced for weeks playing in my room and gaining a knew found appreciation for anyone who was good at playing the guitar. I sounded bad before I started to get better little by little. I developed callouses on my finger tips, and learned how hard it was to sing and strum at the same time. I paid people to give me lessons on how to play, and they shared their expertise with me. Over time, I felt comfortable enough to practice in front of friends, and one day, I decided that I would play in front of everybody at Jimbo’s Coffee Shop at open mic night.

As well prepared as I thought that I was, I learned a lesson as I played in front of everybody. Playing in your room is much different than playing in front of a group of people who expect to be entertained. Before it was my set, I got nervous. My heart raced, my hands got cold, and I needed to pee. I held off from going to the bathroom because I knew that if I went to the bathroom, I might just not come back. It was finally my turn, and I got on stage and played the songs that I had practiced. I made several mistakes, blushed a lot, and my voice cracked several times. Despite the poor performance, the audience was kind enough to share their applause with me. It was hard. It was uncomfortable, but I loved it. I had set out to do something, and I did. The best part was that throughout the process, I became someone who was better than I was at the start. The achieving of the goal wasn’t the most important part of the equation, the fact that I had developed a new skill that I could use or share with others was what was important.

What you become is much more important that what you accomplish. What you accomplish happens in a moment, but who you become lasts forever. I didn’t stick with music long enough to become a master at it, but I did it long enough to learn a lesson: if you want to learn how to do something, you just have to do it. Throw yourself headlong into the experience and environment that will help you to get to where you want to go. There are many stages out there, and we don’t need anybody’s permission to get out there and perform. You will adapt. You will improve. And at the end of the day, you may just love who you’ve become.

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How can you teach your kids the importance of the decisions they make off the mat?

good choice

Obsession can be a good thing if channeled correctly. I don’t think that I ever met someone who was the best at what they did without being a little obsessive about accomplishing their goals. It’s the same in wrestling. A lot of the best wrestlers in the world are obsessive. They love what they do, and they are constantly looking for ways to improve their craft. However, just because you love something and want to do well at it shouldn’t be an excuse to give lack luster performances in other areas of life.

Our culture loves winners. When you’re a winner, you pretty much get a pass to be a failure in other areas of life. Who doesn’t know a high school teacher who gives A’s to star athletes even though they are terrible students? There have been various college scandals involving high profile athletes where they were given a free pass because they were good at putting a ball in a hole or carrying a ball from one end of the field to the other. I think this is even more apparent in professional sports. You have a few super elite athletes who do some pretty terrible things off the field. I love sports, and I respect all of the hard work that goes into developing into a world class athlete. However, anyone who has been involved in athletics knows that eventually the days of glory out on the field or the court or the mat will come to an end. Hopefully you’ve prepared your child for that day because it can be a rude awakening for some.

My high school coach is an amazing man. Of course he wanted his athletes to win. He wanted them to be tough on the mat and dominate their opponents. However, I still remember how often he would emphasize that it was important to be a good person off of the mat. I’m sure that he well understood that not all of his wrestlers would go on to wrestle past high school or even onto the next season for that matter. He understood that he wasn’t just building a championship wrestling team, he knew that he was building young men and preparing them to face the challenges of life that they would surely face in the future. He repeated this over and over again. I have no doubt that he was a positive influence for the hundreds of athletes that went through his programs. He was not shy about communicating how important it was to make good decisions off the mat.

I feel like a lot of parents don’t give themselves enough credit. I feel that sometimes they get used to repeating themselves so often, that they start to think that their kids aren’t listening, but they are. Sometimes parents want a celebrity or a coach or a teacher or someone else to teach their kids the important lessons of life, but the truth is that parents have a huge influence over how their kids think, talk, and act. Parents discount their importance. They don’t realize that they are often times their kids heroes. It’s too easy as a parent to think “I’m not educated enough. I don’t make enough money. I work too much. My kids don’t listen. I don’t know anything about xyz, etc…” Some of those statements may be true, but that doesn’t mean that your kids aren’t listening. More importantly your kids are watching. They are experts at testing the limits, and they can see what is important to you. If you give your a kids a free pass because they can win wrestling matches, they will take advantage of that. On the other hand, if you let them know that they won’t be competing if they don’t put in their study time, you can bet that your child will make studying a priority.

As the parent, you set the tone. When you think about it, parents are the head coaches of the family. They have the power to build the team that they want. Just like any other team or competitive season, there will be ups as well as downs. The best way to teach your kids that the decisions they make off of the mat are important is to communicate with them. Be creative and find examples of what to do and what not to do. You don’t have to be the star athlete. You just need to get good at helping your kids see different scenarios and how different behaviors can have different outcomes. If you can get good at that, not only will you pleased with your children’s athletic performances, you will be pleased with their life choices, and that will make every parent smile.

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Why Does My Kid Think He Needs To Cut Weight?

Every wrestler is familiar with this.

In the United States it is most likely that your child’s coach cut weight, his coach cut weight, and his coach cut weight. With that long history of weight cutting, it is almost guaranteed that your child’s coach is going to encourage them to cut weight. They will look at a wrestler who has probably never wrestled before, never done any strength training, knows absolutely nothing about nutrition, and tell them that they need to lose 10 or 20 pounds. It is a classic case of monkey see, monkey do, and it’s hard to blame coaches that do this. They are just doing what they’ve learned. Also when a new wrestler looks around and sees his teammates starving themselves, running around in plastics all the time, practicing with multiple layers of clothes on, and spitting in cups, it’s not hard to imagine that he will follow suit and do those same things.

As I traveled the world as an athlete, I noticed something that was very different about how other countries approached weight cutting. Sure at the senior level there were still athletes who cut significant amounts of weight, but they were significantly fewer in number who were trying to lose as much weight as some of the US athletes. Instead, I noticed more athletes that would wrestle up a weight class for most of the year, and then they would drop for the world championships or a continental championship. They just wrestled what they weighed for most of the year. I also remember seeing athletes who would decide to permanently move up weight classes. Instead of trying to kill themselves and stay down in a weight class that wasn’t realistic for them, they would just do more strength training in an attempt to get stronger for their new weight class. I imagine that rarely do youth, and high school coaches consider having their athletes just move up weight classes. You’ve got to be brave to wrestle up. At first, it is a challenge to wrestle bigger and stronger opponents, however, you will make the adjustments. Also if your’e being diligent in your strength training, you will get stronger. The body will respond.

There is definitely something to be said about proper nutrition. The American diet can be extremely unhealthy. Packaged and processed food is easy to consume on a regular basis. It is good for athletes to understand that what they put in their bodies will affect their performance not only in competition but in their daily training activities as well. There is also something to be said about having the discipline to lose weight. If you can discipline yourself to be in control of your diet, you can pretty much be disciplined about anything. If kids do want to drop a weight class, it should be a gradual cut. They should start dieting well before the wrestling season even starts. If they make gradual changes far enough out from the wrestling season even starting, they will feel much better and perform much better than if they were to follow the common crash dieting that takes place in various wrestling programs. If kids are very young and still growing, they should be getting what their bodies need to grow and develop. Making little kids cut weight is a terrible idea. If you have your little kid cutting a lot of weight while they are young, chances are they won’t be wrestling much when they are older.

The most helpful thing that a parent can do to help change the paradigm of needing to cut weight is to educate their child about proper nutrition. The parent can also help their child by working with their child. If you want your child to do things a certain way, show them how. Your example will be the greatest teacher that they will ever have. You can help them lose weight the right way by doing it yourself. You can help them with getting stronger by doing it yourself. You will feel better and your kids will respect you more for it. There are too many kids that quit wrestling too early because of bad weight cuts. The sport is hard enough without trying to do it while starving.

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Question: How or where did your kid learn how to wrestle that well and how can my kid get that good?

As a parent, it is easy to watch the kids who are winning and ask “How did that kid get so good?” The answer is simple: “He put the time in and did the work.” In this day and age, there are more and more kids who specialize in sports. I don’t believe that kids necessarily have to specialize at such a young age. They’re still young and growing, and there are many things that they could love to do or be really good at. If they don’t try, they will never know. However, with that being said, for every reward, there was a price paid at some point along the way.

I feel that it is easy for people to watch athletic performance and just assume that the athlete is naturally gifted. Even if they are gifted, there is still a lot of work that goes into retrieving and polishing that gift. Let’s compare wrestling to something else just to get a bearing on the type of effort that it takes to get really good at something. Let’s say that you put your kid in violin lessons. Playing the violin is challenging. If you don’t have your fingers in just the right spot, whatever you play is going to sound terrible. You can’t fake being a good violinist. Even untrained ears will pick up on sour notes rather quickly. Now if you wanted your child to play the violin well enough to play in front of a large audience on a regular basis, how much preparation do you think that they would need in order to play well? Would you sign them up for lessons a couple of times a week, and then expect them to perform at a high level? Let’s even say that you signed them up for lessons twice a week for three months, how do you think they would sound during their performance? Let’s also imagine that your child doesn’t do anything on their own at home. They don’t pick up a violin at all during the week other than the two times that they go in for lessons. Would you have very high expectations? If you would, you may need to re-evaluate those expectations, because they will only be met with disappointment.

Using this example, it is clear to see how ridiculous that it would be to expect your child to play the violin well with only a couple hours of practice a week. Well the scenario that I described isn’t too far off from the way that some kids approach the sport of wrestling, and let me be clear in saying that there is nothing wrong with that. It is perfectly fine for kids to practice a couple of times a week for a few months out of the year. They will still get something out of the training. However, you have to realize that the kids that are performing at a very high level, have put the work in. They train more than twice a week, and they are probably doing their training under the guide and direction of proficient and knowledgeable coaches. To think otherwise would be incorrect. Those kids who are the best are the ones who worked the hardest and the smartest.

Being good or great at anything comes down to this: consistently work hard over an extended period of time. There are no quick fixes, there are no shortcuts, there are no secrets. If you want to help your child be one of the best, then it would be wise to get them in an environment where they can grow and improve their skills. This gets a little tricky though. Your child has to be the one that wants to be good. If they don’t want to put in the effort, then it doesn’t matter if you put them in the toughest wrestling room with the best coaches and training partners in the world. The desire has to come from them. If it doesn’t, they may try to please you for a time, but they will eventually realize that it isn’t worth it and quit. Or worse yet, they suffer to make you happy. How terrible is that? If my child was making themselves miserable in an attempt to make me happy, I would be devastated. No parent wants that.

Do your homework. Find a good environment where your child can thrive, and then do what you can to make sure that your kid is having fun. If you can make that happen, you will be well on your way to seeing your child develop and enjoy the success that they have worked diligently to achieve.

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Question: How much should I push my young athlete to succeed without burning him out on the sport?

Today I address the first question in a series of questions that were posted to me from various wrestling parents across the country. While conducting my research, I discovered that parents’ questions could be categorized into 10 different categories, the largest being that of a category that I like to call Parents’ Push. This first question deals with this topic.

The parent’s question was “How much should I push my young athlete to succeed without burning him out on the sport?” This is a great question, and it is very common among parents, especially those who have previous experience with wrestling. In a situation such as this one, perhaps a better question that the parent can ask themselves is “Why do I feel that I need to push my child to succeed in this sport?” By evaluating your own motives, you may come to the conclusion that your child doesn’t necessarily need to be pushed in the way that you were originally thinking.

There is a great deal of difference between leadership and dictatorship. Sometimes as a parent, it is easier to be the dictator. We are constantly reminding our kids to be nice and get along with their siblings, clean up after themselves, brush their teeth, and the list goes on. We are constantly telling them what to do, and sometimes they listen, other times they don’t. It’s more the nature of kids being kids than anything else. However, when it comes to wrestling, there is generally more effort that goes into a wrestling practice than goes into cleaning a room. Albeit, I have had to clean up after my children and it was very tiring. The point is that wrestling practice and competition can be much more painful than picking up a handful of toys. Not only kids, but adults as well are more apt to endure painful things if they have someone to do it with them. There is something to be said about having a partner to go through everything that you are. So instead of trying to push your child, perhaps, you could try leading them instead.

Leading your child is an effective way of using your influence to get them to do something that they may not otherwise do on their own. Let’s take for example a scenario that could play during a random evening at home.

Dad: “Hey son, why don’t you go to the garage and do some pushups and pull ups to get stronger. There are only a few more weeks before the big meet.”

Son: “I don’t want to dad. I’m tired. I want to watch the rest of my show.”

Dad: “You really should go workout. Don’t you want to win?”

Son: “Yeah I want to win, but I want to watch my show too.”

Dad: “Well, if you want to watch the rest of your show, then you need to go workout. You can’t watch your show until you do your pushups and pull ups!”

Son: “Aaargh!”

Put yourself in this situation. If you’re watching a show, and all of a sudden someone wants you to go do pushups and pull ups in the garage, how excited are you going to be about that? I know that even when I was training for the Olympics I didn’t want to drop everything at a random moment to go do pushups and pull ups in the garage. Not many people do. So forcing your child to go workout for the sake of working out doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, if you lead an activity and participate with your child in it, they will respect you much more, and they will put more effort into the activity.

Here’s the example switched around a little bit.

Dad: “Hey son, let’s go out to the garage and do some pushups and pull ups together. I am feeling pretty strong today. I bet I will beat you at pushups.”

Son: “I don’t think you can beat me. I’ve been working really hard this season.”

Dad: “Well I’m feeling pretty good. I think I have your number today.”

Son: “Ok! You’re on!”

After a few sets of pushups and pull ups…

Dad: “Good job champ! I can’t believe you beat me today! You will do great at the meet coming up in a few weeks.”

Son: ” Thanks dad. That was a lot of fun. Next time I’m going to do 100!”

Now this scenario may be a little too nice and neat, but I think that you can at least see the difference between a parent who is pushing their child, and a parent who is leading their child. Being a leader and setting the example is much more effective than sitting at the throne and demanding that your subjects comply. Even if it does require a little more effort and patience, it is worth it.

In terms of pushing your child too much, try to reframe how you’re looking at it. Don’t push them. Work with them, and see how far you can help them go. If your child gets to the point of burnout, they may be feeling bored with the training so change it up. Or maybe they don’t like the stress and anxiety of competition every weekend. The best way to try to get to the root of the problem is to ask good questions. If your child seems like they are burned out, ask them what is it specifically that they don’t like about wrestling right now. They may not even know, but by going through a series of questions, they may actually be able to discover what it is that is bothering them. At that point, you can try to help them find a solution to their problem. If you run out ideas, ask the coach or other parents. They may have had a similar experience previously that they can share with you to help you work through the burnout with your child.

Wrestling is a tough sport. By being a leader to your child, you can help them progress beyond where they are now, and hopefully help them to avoid any burnout as they continue to advance to higher levels of wrestling. By working with your child in these areas, you can both find a way to enjoy the sport and strengthen your relationship with one another.

 

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The Book

Over a year ago, I got excited about writing a book. I had it all planned out. I did an ask campaign to find out what some of the deepest questions were that parents had in regards to how they could help their kids in the sport of wrestling. I organized all of the questions, and surprisingly, I was able to categorize the questions into 10 basic categories:

  1. Questions about parents pushing their kids in the sport.
  2. Questions about coaching.
  3. Questions about weight cutting.
  4. Questions about why their kids should wrestle.
  5. Questions about mental toughness.
  6. Questions about training.
  7. Questions about building a foundation for their child’s wrestling.
  8. Questions about how to keep wrestling fun.
  9. Questions about injuries.
  10. Questions about college.

A lot of parents tended to have the same questions worded in a different way, and I was so excited to get down to answering all of these great questions that many parents had been kind enough to share with me. As I set out to write the book, I came to the stark realization that there was a lot of material to cover, and I was extremely busy between work, club, and my family. My plan to write the book fell apart, and all of those questions just sat there on a spreadsheet gathering cyber dust. I told myself that I would get to answering all of those questions after my life got a little less crazy. However, as anyone with kids can attest to, life doesn’t get any less crazy. So I’ve decided to take a different approach.

My new approach to answering all of these questions is to just answer them one at a time in the form of blog posts. It won’t be as cool or flashy as a book would be, but at least I will get the content out there for parents and wrestlers to consume. I know that it would have been very helpful for my parents as well as me to have a little more information out there regarding what to expect as a wrestler. My dad never wrestled so he didn’t have any idea of what was going on, and my mom didn’t have a dad or brother who wrestled either. They had no idea what they were getting into. I didn’t either.

I find it interesting and slightly entertaining that there are so many sports that you can play, and for the most part, you have a pretty good idea of what you are going to have to do within that sport. I played soccer as a kid. No surprises there. I knew that I would chase around a ball and try to kick it in the goal. I played volleyball in junior high. No surprises there either, other than the fact that I was terrible at bumping and setting, which really wasn’t much of a surprise to me, but I am sure that it frustrated the coach. I even played basketball, and who doesn’t know what to expect in basketball? You dribble, you shoot, you score. How much more explanation do you need for basketball? But wrestling, wrestling is crazy, weird, intense, fun, heart wrenching, exhilarating, and the list goes on. Wrestling is something that just sort of smacks you in the face, and for the crazy ones, it’s a sport they fall in love with. I will help parents and wrestlers alike to be guided through the craziness, and by the end, I hope that you have some useful information that you can implement. No other sport will prepare you for what it feels like to get caught in a headlock and stuck on your back without any chance of escape.

I have time scheduled to write on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but that is subject to change. I have made it a goal to write at least twice a week on my blog, and for the last couple of weeks, that has worked pretty well for me. I am excited to get working on this project, and will be even more excited after I have the finished collection of blog posts. Perhaps then, I will be able to compile all of those blog posts into a book, and parents will at least have a better understanding of what to expect as their little warriors go out to battle on the mat.

 

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5 Ways To Find Time To Do What You Love

time

We live in a busy world, and it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. If anything, life and society will continue to get faster and faster. It is easy to get sucked into everything that is going on around us and forget about doing those things that we really want to be doing with our lives. What are the things that you love to do, but you haven’t because you haven’t had the time? Here are some suggestions that may help you to find the time.

1. Realize your time is a valuable finite resource. There is a saying that goes, “If you want something to get done, give it to a busy person.” There are some people that seem to be able to find more hours in the day and get huge amounts of tasks accomplished. No matter what gets put on their plate, they seem to find a way to manage it all. I am confident that you may know somebody like this. When people are loaded up with tasks, they realize that there is no time to waste. They understand the value of their time and they also realize that if they spend time doing or working on one thing, that they can’t do or spend time on another. Because they see the value of their time, they are able to focus and get those things done that are urgent and important as opposed to spending time on things that are not urgent and unimportant.

2. Wake up early. There is a certain time of the day that I can pretty much do whatever I want. My kids don’t need my attention, my wife doesn’t need me to do anything, my coworkers aren’t depending on me, there are no phone calls or email notifications at this time. This time is 5 am. At 5 am, I can set my own agenda, and I can do whatever I want to do without interruptions. This is usually the time that I take to go over my goals, make plans, write posts for this blog, etc… Until everybody starts waking up at 5am, I am pretty much free to do what I want to do.

3. Stay up late. This is similar to number 2, and I am not very good at this one. It may have something to do with me waking up early. I have a friend that thrives on staying up late. After his kids go to bed, he stays up to the very early hours of the morning working on things. His creative mind is most active at this time. It works for him. I don’t like how I feel when I try to stay up too late to work on things so this strategy doesn’t work well for me. I get too crabby. My friend, on the other hand, is a millionaire so obviously the stay up late strategy is working well for him.

4. Schedule your time. I have noticed that time is similar to money for most people. If it isn’t budgeted, it is going to disappear very quickly. By having specific definite plans for when things will be accomplished, it is much more likely that those things will get done. For example, if I hadn’t scheduled time for myself to wake up and write this blog post, it would never have been written. If I don’t set time aside to exercise, it doesn’t get done. By being deliberate with your plans, you can greatly increase your productivity. Find the most productive person you know, and ask them how much time they spend planning their days. I am sure that you would be surprised to see how well they plan out how they will spend their time.

5. Make a list of what’s eating up your time. If you don’t know your enemy, how are you supposed to fight them? Many times we don’t even realize where all of our time goes. With all of the cool smart phones and the internet, it is so easy to get caught in a time trap. You start scrolling through your feeds, and before you know it,  you have just spent a half an hour looking at all of the cool and exciting things that your friends are doing or maybe just looking at everything they’ve eaten in the last 24 hours. Either way, it is easy to get sucked into. By making a definite list of seeing where you don’t spend your time as effectively as you would like to, you are one step closer to avoiding those time wasting behaviors.

By being mindful of the time that you have, and making a focused effort on spending your time the way that you would like to, you can avoid wasting time doing the things that you don’t particularly enjoy doing and spend more time doing the things that you love. I have never talked to anybody that has said “I wish I had spent less time playing with my kids as they were growing up.” or “I wish I would have spent more time watching TV.” You only have today. It is the most precious gift that you have. Make sure to take full advantage of it.

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