Anyone who watched the Suriano vs Fix match this weekend probably heard the announcer talk about both wrestlers falling victim to this Mindset Red Flag that Wrestling Mindset talks about frequently: Giving good opponents too much respect.
You see it every tournament and almost every dual meet. A wrestler gives his opponent too much respect and doesn't wrestle the way he is capable of wrestling.
It even happens at the highest levels as evidenced by Suriano and Fix. Don't take it from me listen to their interviews after the match.
While both are great wrestlers (physically and mentally) I'm sure neither of them felt good about their performance.
How could they? No solid leg attacks or scoring opportunities were created.
Listen, they are both great wrestlers. They will go back to the drawing board and make changes. But its a solid learn opportunity for both them and the wrestling community.
What was the specific problem?
Well it could be many things (depends on the wrestler): Fear of getting scored on, fear of losing, worried about making mistakes, distracted by the media or hype, thinking too much about the last time they wrestled, not confident in technique, thinking too much about the outcome, etc etc.
The bottom line is that even at the highest level, these things need to be addressed. No one is above consistent mindset training. Even with mental training we will all make mistakes. But imagine if these guys didn't actively train their minds?
If you struggle with any of the Mindset Red Flags or are looking for a greater mental edge, sign up for a trial session NOW!
What’s the difference between someone who is good at something and someone who is great. Talent, choices, work ethic? Malcolm gladwell in his book Outliers claims its sheer hours and determination that add up into the culmination of 10,000 hours of practice. Other factors that certainly count are work ethic, motivation, coaching ect. but what is the common denominator between all champions?
Champions find a way.
The unlikely upsets of last years NCAAs ending with Kyle Conel taking 3rd, Freshmen beating returning champs, and Machiavelli shocking the nation with a championship to cap his senior year. Each athlete coming from varying economic, geographic, and academic backgrounds, while having schools with different resources facilities and coaches. The only thing in common with all these wrestlers is they found a way to succeed. At the end of the day when the going gets tough and you feel like you have a set back, find a way to get yourself back on track. When you come down with an injury that holds you out of training, find a way to stay in shape. When you have something going on back home, find a way to stay focused. When the season is in full swing and school work is looming, find a way to get it done. When the lights are on and you feel the pressure, find a way to relax and go hard. The common denominator is not body type nor physical attributes, it’s about mentality. The winning mindset lives in the statement “ I will do whatever it takes to find the strength and courage to get the job done”… because that’s what it takes. CHAMPIONS FIND A WAY.
By James Kaishian
What Steve Jobs, David Taylor, and Kyle Dake have in common.
By James Kaishian
“our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Steve jobs is arguably the greatest innovator we’ve seen in our lifetime. He lived a life full of creativity and passion, but also littered with failure. He not too unlike two of our new American World champs pursued a dream with relentless passion, and rode the roller coaster ride of success and failure. David Taylor, and Kyle Dake were some of the most dominant Division 1 wrestlers of all time. After not making the world team they could have quit they could probably made a six figure salary doing camps and coaching and no one would have blinked an eye, especially after both falling to Burroughs (USA olympic champion) multiple times. Steve Jobs’ net worth was 100 million by the age of 25. But his meteoric rise to stardom came with a humbling fall, Jobs was fired at the age of 30. "I was out -- and very publicly out," said jobs at a Stanford University commencement. "What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating." After adding, "I was a very public failure." Parallels could be drawn between this match at two of the most dominant collegiate wrestlers not making the world team for YEARS. Including an incident where Taylor failed to pass an injured Jayden Cox in a best of three match, or Kyle Dake failed to finish the job against Burroughs despite having a one match lead.
“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”
We know how it all ended up. Steve Jobs made a comeback and quite literally changed the world of technology, which in turn is shaping our world. Taylor beat a returning olympic champion and won a world title, while Kyle Dake didn’t give up A SINGLE POINT at worlds. The mistake that everyone makes however is attributing all this success to talent. While Jobs was a brilliant man, and Dake, and Taylor are fantastic athletes it’s their attitude that made the difference. As Jobs said “I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” This refusal to take no for answer, and the relentless pursuit of their dream got them the results you see.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, [GOD] life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Champions do extra. These men found something they were literally willing to dedicate their life to, and that is the champion’s mentality. Jobs said “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” It stems from the love of the sport, or work, and ends with their courage and composure under pressure. As Steve Kerr (author of Legacy) put it “Champions do extra. They find something they are willing to die for, and give their life to it.” These champions of the world embody that philosophy day in and day out.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”- Steve Jobs
Most serious wrestlers would agree that wrestling is one of the most mental sports in the world. How often have we all had the technical skills and physical prowess to win, yet still came up short because our mindset was not where it needed to be the day of competition? Not only have I seen this over the past ten years as a mindset coach, but I have also lived it, as a former nationally ranked, All-Ivy League wrestler.
Some of the most common mindset struggles we have seen with wrestlers include not pulling the trigger or wrestling aggressively, choking in big matches, different wrestler in practice and a match, being a slow starter, giving good opponents too much respect, performing better in practice than competition, too cautious/hesitant, and difficulty bouncing back after a loss. This is exactly why Wrestling Mindset and this book were created! Wrestling Mindset is a wrestling specific, systematic program made by wrestlers for wrestlers.
This book has two parts. Part one is dedicated to explaining the Predator Mindset versus Prey Mindset and why that is the difference between success and failure in sports, school, and life. It is a simple analogy that permeates all areas of life. Along with the Predator Mindset, you will also learn how to develop a competition “Alter Ego” which has been one of our most unique and successful lessons.
Part 2 of this book is designed to share some of our best mindset exercises that have been used with thousands of athletes across the country. The key there is to actually DO THE EXERCISES. There are many books that talk about what confidence is and why it is important. This book will make you more confident if you do what it says to do.
was a collegiate wrestler and coach. With my background in Psychology, I created Wrestling Mindset which has become the top wrestling specific mindset program in the world working with all athletes from youth through the Olympic teams. Please enjoy learning and most importantly, applying Wrestling Mindset! God bless you.
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The ultimate guide to success in Sports, School, Business, & Life
Deep in the African savanna, a lion patiently watches a gazelle. The lion crouches in the tall grass and stalks ahead, gazing intently at its prey. The gazelle hears a faint rustling and looks up. Its eyes dart from left to right, scanning the horizon for imminent dangers. But it sees none and resumes feeding. The lion springs into action with an explosion of effortless speed and power. By the time the gazelle notices, it’s too late. The lion has triumphed once again in this primal fight for survival.
Predator and prey. The animal kingdom can be broken down into these two kinds of animals. Eat or be eaten. It’s not pretty, but it’s the way of the animal kingdom. There is a simple way to tell if a mammal is a predator or prey just by looking at them. Is it their teeth? No. Their claws? No. Their size? No. It's their eyes.
If you look at predator animals, like lions, tigers, and bears, you will notice that their eyes are located squarely on the front of their head. Why might they have evolved to have eyes on the front of their head? Survival. With eyes on the front, the predator is laser focused on its goal: lunch!
On the other hand, prey animals, like squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits, have eyes on the side of their head. Why might prey have evolved to have eyes on the side of their head? Again, survival. To live, the prey animal must be on the lookout for what is going on around them or they will get eaten!
I studied animal behavior as an undergraduate in the psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania, where I was an elite college wrestler. At the time, the full impact of studying animals’ adaptations hadn’t yet dawned on me. And I certainly never would have thought that 10 years later I would be at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, presenting this lesson to some of the top athletes in the world!
As a mindset coach, I have worked with tens of thousands of athletes around the country, from young children to Olympians. I have helped them succeed not only in competition, but in every area of their life, from school to personal relationships.
The Predator Mindset: Effort, Attitude, and Aggressiveness, has proven to be the most effective tool in training these athletes. It is the backbone of my winning mindset system, which has become the top sport specific mindset program in the country. The predator mindset can be stated simply: "Eyes on the front like to hunt, eyes on the side like to hide!"
Predator athletes, with eyes on the front of their head, are focused on nothing but their goals. They focus on the factors within their control. They look forward. They live for the hunt. They go for the kill.
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Prey athletes, with eyes on the side of their head, focus on things going on around them. They obsess over factors outside of their control. They follow the rankings. They focus on social media. They worry about what their parents, coaches, and friends think about them.
These timeless principles go well beyond athletics. They apply to business, sales, or even weight loss. In this book, I will train you to maneuver with the ferocious hunger of a lion, rather than the cautious appetite of a gazelle.
Step one is simple. It begins with a consistent morning routine. After you wake up and wash your face and brush your teeth, look at yourself in the mirror and locate your eyes. Are they on the front or the side? I once posed this question to a large group of child and teenage athletes. An eight-year-old literally jumped to his feet in excitement. "I can't believe it, I'm a predator!" After running over to give this enthusiastic kid a highfive, I kindly reminded the audience, "That's exactly how fired up all of you should be feeling!"
Regardless of our external excitement, we must understand this fact: we are all born predators! In this book, I will teach you how to distinguish the patterns of predator and prey thinking, and how to use those patterns to reach your goals. The Predator Mindset will show you how to achieve success in every area of your life.
Eye of the tiger!
To understand how the Predator Mindset is the answer to achieving our goals, we must first examine the role that our mindset plays in our success.
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What percentage of sports is physical and what percentage is mental? This is an interesting question. Experience has shown me that I can ask any sports team, of any age, and the answer will be anywhere from 50-90% mental. It is hard to imagine such a uniform answer among athletes of such different sports and ages. My next question is where things really become interesting. What percentage of your time are you training physically versus mentally? Crickets! Most say 95% of their time is spent on physical training. We can instantly see the problem. We must train smarter. It is easy to see how those percentage numbers don’t jive. If you are saying sports are at least 50% mental, then it stands to reason you must spend 50% of your time training your mind. Now, not for one second should you think this downplays the importance of physical training. As a personal trainer and sports nutritionist with a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science I cannot overexpress how vital it is to maintain a balance between physical and mental training.
Ok, so we know our success depends on our mindset. Most coaches and leaders understand this. So why isn’t more being done to train this area?
I CAN GIVE THREE REASONS:
1. Coaches don’t exactly know how to train their athletes’ mindsets
2. Current psychological strategies are too boring or ineffective
3. It is too embarrassing or shameful to admit our weaknesses
Let’s look at each of these.
1. Often, coaches don’t know exactly how to train their athletes’ mindsets. This is not their fault. Most are never trained on how it’s done. I once heard that there are no such things as skilled or unskilled, only trained and untrained. Most are untrained. You won’t be by the end of this book. Not knowing how to train mindset results in (a) leaving it to chance (b) circular reasoning (c) well intentioned, weak attempts.
Leaving it to chance. Technique, strength, and nutrition are far easier to see. Things that are easier to see seem to be easier to coach. Therefore, many coaches neglect this area completely, outside of maybe some pep talks, team huddles, and yelling here and there.
Circular Reasoning When I was competing, coaches would say I needed to be confident. Okay, great, how do I do that? They would tell me to just believe in myself. Okay, well how do I do that? They would tell me to be confident. Circular reasoning never solved anything. The same thing happened when I would try to overcome nerves and anxiety before competition. Coaches would say to keep calm. Well how do I keep calm? They would tell me to just relax. Okay, how do I relax? By now, you see the pattern. Just keep calm. And the wheels on the bus go round and round. Nothing is solved and now I am beating myself up for not knowing how to fulfill my coaches’ instructions. I made these same mistakes as a coach.
Weak Attempts I speak to many coaches who tell me they are doing the mindset training with the team themselves. Then when I ask what exactly the coach is doing with the team, I hear very predictable answers: I have them write down their goals, I usually talk to them before or after every practice, or I have them visualize success. I agree that this is an excellent start. But this is not what we mean by mindset training. It would be very similar if the team coach told you he or she was doing strength training by doing some pushups and pullups at the end of practice. Again, a great start, but unscientific and definitely not systematic.
2. Current psychological strategies in sports are boring and/or ineffective.
I’ve seen too many “mindset experts” turn wine into water with athletes in five ways (a) confusing mindset training with motivational speaking (b) using language that is too theoretical/psychological in their approach (c) starting with material that doesn’t elicit buy-in from the team (d) employing a damage control approach to mindset training (e) relying on a relativistic approach to mindset training.
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Confusing Mindset Training with Motivational Speaking As a School Psychologist, I saw firsthand the research on learning retention rates:
Many coaches will bring in a guest speaker to address their team; this is what these coaches consider “mindset training.” It’s a great start, but there is no training here other than listening. And listening to a lecture leads to an average of 5% retention. This is especially true with kids; it’s ‘in one ear and out the other.’ Imagine a practice session where the coach just dictated technique as the team sat and listened. How would you expect the athlete to perform this technique in competition without active practice? Instead of passive listening, we want to rely on active teaching methods –practical exercises.
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“A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Goal setting is universally vital for all sports, education, and in the workplace. Many of times, individuals set goals but do they really buy into the process/journey of being able to accomplish those goals? For example, let’s say my goal is to be a High School State Champion. In order to be a State Champion, many sacrifices need to be made. Some of these sacrifices may include being away from family and friends, traveling for competition/training, and staying disciplined in all facets of life (education, nutrition, training, strength and conditioning, extracurricular s).
Those are some serious sacrifices for a High School Aged Student-Athlete to balance in order to make their goals become a reality (not a wish). In this blog, we are going to explain how to make an effective goal setting plan that will help you stay on task regularly, give you some pointers that have worked for student-athletes of all ages/experience levels, and apply some examples of proper goal setting techniques.
Here are a couple of things that need to be noted before we talk about how to set goals:
Now let’s talk about how you can carry out and crush your goals!
When setting a goal, you should follow these three steps:
S.M.A.R.T. Method Goal-Setting Example:
S: “My goal is to become a High School State Wrestling Champion by March 2nd, 2019.”
M: “I will accomplish my goal of being a High School State Wrestling Champion by giving 100 percent in my physical/mental training, my studies, and in my nutrition every day. “
A: “This goal is attainable because I know that I am willing to put the work in to get to the point I need to get to. I will train smart and hard in both athletics and in my studies. I will also implement extra workouts into my daily schedule.”
R: “My goal of winning a High School Wrestling State Championship is realistic because my plan is to:
T: “ I will accomplish my goal of being a High School Wrestling State Champion by (roughly) 6:30 P.M. on March 2nd 2019.”
All in all, knowing how to set effective goals is so important in life. Always have your eyes on the prize, stay motivated, and crush your goals! If need be, please use this blog as a reference when you are ready to sit down and write your goal down.
1- Wakes up early. Mentally tough athletes fight the urge to hit the snooze button. They win the first battle which they know starts the night before.
2- Always on time. They get to class, practice and other obligations on time because its important and because its the right thing to do.
3- Open to feedback and criticism. They welcome feedback because they know they need it and that it will only make them stronger.
4- Stubbornly positive. Its hard to be positive throughout a long season. The ups, downs, wins, losses, bumps and bruises. A mentally tough athlete can remain upbeat and positive even during those tough times.
5- Understands values and purpose. They know their priorities and their actions reflect it. They lead a purpose driven life not a haphazard one.
6- Stands up for and helps others. Tough athletes are able to push not only themselves but others around them. They know what is right and encourage others to it.
7- Fights through fatigue. Mentally tough athletes can push through tough workouts and tough times. They know that the mind tires before the body and push themselves further and further. They get more out of workouts than most people.
8- Reads and Constantly learns. They maintain a "White Belt Mentality" and understand that they can learn something from anyone. They don't pretend to know it all.
9- Bounces back. It is hard to beat a mentally tough athlete because they refuse to give up. A loss is just a lesson and propels them forward instead of keeping them down.
***BONUS Number 10- They know that their MIND is their greatest weapon and do not let a day go by without developing it! The strongest people have great strength coaches and the mentally toughest people have great MINDSET coaches. Learn what Wrestling Mindset is all about Here!
Most of us would agree that life is fast-paced. Between juggling school, work, athletics, relationships, and self-care; it can all become a big race against the 24 hours we are given each day. Although the physical world we live in has constant movement and motion, what is often overlooked is the world that we live in within our minds, which is also in constant motion. The question is: what direction is the world of our mind heading in? We can't always stop the constant motion of the thoughts that run rampant in our mind, but we can definitely work on the positive direction these thoughts are heading in.
One of the biggest downfalls and battles that occurs in the minds of athletes is the view of themselves. This comes in many forms. From self-doubt, believing they are not good enough, and a failure to take risks. As athletes, we create an idealistic "self" and when we fail to meet these demands, or we compare ourselves to others, we create unrealistic expectations for ourselves which ultimately cause us to live cautiously.
Many times our self-doubt is really a fear of failure, a fear that we will never accomplish those dreams that are so dear to our hearts. When this starts to happen, the world we live in within our mind is heading into a direction of mediocrity. The excuse is "I'm just not good enough," but nevertheless, it is still an excuse that keeps us from becoming the best versions of ourselves. When an athlete stops comparing themselves to others, this is the beginning of taking ownership over what belongs to them; which is their mind.
So, how does an athlete take back their mind? They begin with being honest with themselves. Each athlete's respective sport has its demands. The demands are what makes the sport so special and it takes a special person to make such a commitment. Recognizing this will begin to change the athlete's mind to an appreciation for their sport. When an athlete is honest with where their mind currently stands, they can make the necessary adjustments to becoming stronger mentally, which will ultimately improve their athletic performance.
The second thing that an athlete can do is build their self-talk. Self-talk will build your confidence, but it must be something that becomes habitual. The idea that you are just not confident is a false belief system. This is because just like an actual sports skill; confidence can be trained. It is something that must be practiced daily. Self-talk can be expressed through affirmations, which are positive beliefs we have about ourselves.
Some of the examples of these can be "I'm a good person, I am strong, I am fast, I have what it takes, I can and will accomplish everything that I strive for." It can also be a realization that even if we do not meet an athletic expectation, it is not an excuse to fall back into negative self-talk, but we can use these affirmations to give us hope for the next challenge in our lives.
Self-talk can be added into morning routines, workouts, and rest periods. Our thoughts can often feel like a car running without brakes, but self-talk, when done properly, becomes those brakes we need for the vehicle of our mind. The way we talk to ourselves builds mental muscles in our brains that were meant to be stressed in a positive way. Just as our physical muscles grow, so does our mind. When we believe good things about ourselves, we push towards becoming both better athletes and more positive individuals.
One of the best things you can invest in as an athlete, outside of your hard work and skill building, is to understand how your mind works and how you can use it to your advantage. When you figure out what makes you happy, sad, angry, excited, scared, and so forth you have taken back control of your mind, and as a result you can add or avoid the things that bring about these certain reactions. Self-talk is one of many ways to take back control of your mind.
So, take a chance on fixing your mind. You know what negativity has gotten you, so try something positive. Small steps forward are still steps forward, so don't get caught up in the immediate result; instead enjoy figuring yourself out as an athlete and as a person, and soon you will reap the benefits of a more positive outlook that will create stronger performances, and most importantly, a stronger mind!
Within my first 48 hours in Budapest I walked over 20 miles. I walked across the Chain Bridge, up the steps of Fisherman’s Bastion, and walked circles around Budapest’s Parliament. Over the course of a week I probably ate about 20 gyros. But most importantly I got to watch the best wrestlers in the world battle it out for the right to call themselves World Champions.
It is incredible watching the World Championships and seeing the small things in preparation for the incredible event.I’ve learned an incredible amount about this sport. Most things I actually already knew, but seeing it at the highest level emphasizes it even more. Below are some things I saw during my week in Budapest:
I have been around some of the best wrestling America has to offer, but never have I learned more than I did with my experience in Budapest. I am extremely grateful to have witnessed a historic week where Team USA took home Three Gold, One Silver and Three Bronze Medals.
“You have to believe. Through all of the adversity, I stayed the course. It’s not always perfect. It’s truly amazing how powerful your mind is, and the effect it will have on your performance! I am a world champion because of my coaches, my training partners, and my family.” - David Taylor
David Taylor has been quoted as saying “Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a 4x State Champ, 4x National Champ, a World and, Olympic Champ. When you want to be the best in the world you don’t duck people, that’ll catch up to you, you train to be your best.”
David Taylor the “Magic Man” takes gold at Budapest. Seemingly every wrestling fan in the U.S. saw it coming because he has been so dominant as of late, but it has been an uphill battle for the Penn State Alum. Let's look back on his road to get there.
Fall 7 Times Get Up 8
2010: Taylor commits to PSU as a 4x Ohio State Champion
2011: Taylor loses to Bubba Jenkins in the National Finals
2012: Taylor wins the Hodge Trophy and his first National Title
2013: Dake vs Taylor … Taylor loses in the NCAA Finals to 4x champ Kyle Dake
2014: Taylor leads PSU to a NCAA Title… loses to Burroughs in stunner at the U.S. open
2015: Dake again… beats Taylor at the World Team Trials
2016: You guessed it…. Dake beats Taylor at World Team Trials
2017: Controversial Cox Final …. Cox beats Taylor in best of three at WTT
2018: THE MAGIC MAN breaks through and wins GOLD at Budapest
- Third in 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
- Two-time U.S. World Team Trials runner-up (2014, 2017)
- Third in 2015 U.S. World Team Trials
- Two-time U.S. Open champion (2015, 2017)
- World Cup champion (2017)
- Third in World University Games (2013)
- Two-time Grand Prix of Spain champion (2015, 2016)
- Paris International champion (2017)
- Two-time NCAA champion for Penn State (2012, 2014)
- Two-time Dan Hodge Trophy recipient, as nation’s best college wrestler (2012, 2014)
2017: Second in U.S. World Team Trials… U.S. Open champion… World Cup champion… Paris International champion…
2016: World Freestyle Wrestling Clubs Cup champion (Titan Mercury WC)… Second in U.S. Open…Third in U.S. Olympic Team Trials… Grand Prix of Spain champion… �: Stepan Sargysyan Cup champion… Grand Prix of Spain champion… Third in U.S. World Team Trials… U.S. Open champion… Fifth in Golden Grand Prix Final… Fifth in Yasar Dogu International…
2014: Second in U.S. World Team Trials… Second in U.S. Open…
2013: Third in World University Games… Third in U.S. World Team Trials… University Nationals champion… Second in U.S. Open…
2008: U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifier…
2007: Eighth in Junior World Championships… FILA Junior World Team Trials champion…
2005: FILA Cadet Nationals champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman…
College: 2012 and 2014 NCAA champion for Penn State… 2012 and 2014 Hodge Trophy award winner as college wrestler of the year… Second in 2011 and 2013 NCAA Championships… Four-time Big Ten champion… 2011, 2012 and 2014 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year… Led Penn State to four NCAA titles…
USA Age-Group: 2007 USAW Junior Nationals champion in Greco-Roman and freestyle… 2006 USAW Cadet Nationals champion in Greco-Roman… 2005 USAW Cadet Nationals freestyle champion… Second in 2005 USAW Cadet Nationals in Greco-Roman…
High School: Four-time Ohio state champion… Two-time ASICS first-team All-American… Dave Schultz Award winner for nation’s top high school wrestler…
By James Kaishian
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