This weekend's dual between Iowa and Minnesota along with Super Bowl 51 clearly proved that there is no lead large enough to justify pumping the brakes on your offense, regardless of the sport.
#1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) was trailing 8-2 going into the third period against the #6 wrestler. With a win seemingly out of reach, Gilman not only put up 8 points in the first 57 seconds of the third period, but pinned his opponent in dominant fashion. A few hours later, the Patriots were down by 25 and responded with 31 unanswered points to beat the Falcons in overtime during Super Bowl 51.
Without taking anything away from the Patriots or Gilman's efforts or talent, we must ask - did they simply mount amazing comebacks or did their opponents also pay the price for competing "not to lose" when they had a big lead?
Let's think about the animal kingdom for a second. When a predator animal (lions, tigers, bears) sinks its teeth into its prey, does it slow down and cause just enough damage to get the job done, or does it tear their prey to pieces? In battle, could you imagine great warriors like the Spartans or the Vikings slowing down their attack on the enemy just because they were winning? Absolutely not! Predator animals, just like warriors, will always go for the kill and never stop until the job is done! As athletes, and especially as wrestlers, we have to give 100% effort for the entire time we're on the mat, no matter how big of a lead we have. We must always be a predator on the mat, looking to score from the first whistle to the last.
Rather than pumping the brakes or competing not to lose, Gilman and the Patriots put their foot on the gas.
When Brady was asked how they pulled it off, he attributed it to his team's, "mental toughness," and focusing on "one play at a time." Gilman, like Brady, didn't try to force anything that wasn't there. They stayed relaxed under the pressure of being down big and relentless in their effort to score the next point, which amounted to 39 unanswered points between them.
How can we avoid falling into the trap of slowing down wrestling not to lose when we have a lead? Simple. Don't stop scoring and put YOUR foot on the gas until the match is over or you break your opponent. The best way to hold a lead is to build on it, one score at a time.
"If there's time on the clock, there is time to score"
- Damion Hahn
(Article written by Coach Mike Moor)
You may or may not be a baseball fan but you probably do appreciate greatness. Without a doubt Ted Williams is one of the greatest ball players of all time.
In 1941, Ted Williams batted .400 which has not been done since then. But the way he got there shows the mindset of a champion.
Going into the final game of the season Ted Williams was batting .3996 which rounded up to .400. They were set to play a doubleheader that day and his manager gave him the option to sit out to maintain his .400 batting average. Ted Williams refused. He said there is no way he is going out like that. He said if he couldn't hit .400 from the beginning of the season to the end of a season, he didn't deserve it. Gutsy!
Game 1 he batted 4 for 5 raising his average to .404. Again he had the option to sit out in Game 2 of the double header. Again he refused. He batted 2 for 3 in the last game and raised his average to .406 for the season.
You can play it safe or you can go all in. Most of the greats in wrestling and all sports go all in. Going 6 for 8 that day and raising his average to .406 makes for a great story but Ted Williams could have easily had a bad day and slipped below the .400 mark. It is not batting .400 that season that made Ted Williams great (he would be considered one of the all time greats regardless). It is the mindset that he is going to go all in, all the time, despite the circumstances that makes him great.
On the mat, in your training and in your life, it is about getting the most out of yourself. Going all in, putting forth a full effort, not being afraid of losing or looking bad. If you win by 3 points but pumped the brakes just to hold on to the win, that is not what we are talking about. If you win a team run by a second when you could have blown away the competition or if you hold back in practice because you already got more takedowns than your partner, that is not what we are talking about.
There comes a point in everything you do, where you need to ask yourself; am I going to hold back or am I going to go all in? There will be times you lose, make mistakes or look bad because of this. But at the end of the day, only you know if you truly emptied the tank and went all in.
A good friend of mine Zach Bretz once told me, "I will risk a chance of a bust for a shot at the boom." That is exactly what Ted Williams did. That is what most of the great wrestlers do. They put themselves on the line, embrace challenges and put forth a full effort. That is a powerful way to live.
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