“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
Collaboration & Mission:
Wrestling Mindset announces partnership with BTS Chicago
By Jake Hunter
The tool is wrestling and the art is the impacted individuals. The craftsmen at Wrestling Mindset (WM) and Beat the Streets (BTS) are expanding their collaboration to the youth in Chicago. BTS Chicago is, “dedicated to improving the lives of children” with a focus on building, “character, discipline and self-esteem through their participation in the great sport of wrestling.” To further this mission, Wrestling Mindset will work with the pilot schools Simeon Career Academy and Kenwood Academy, along with their coaches Montrele Stokes and Carlos Latimer, to support their programs. We will aid their mission with their wrestlers by helping them improve their mental toughness, confidence, and ability to compete through adversity. Both WM and BTS Chicago focus on how the skills learned in wrestling apply beyond the mat to the classroom, life, and careers after graduation.
“Wrestling Mindset has worked directly with several athletes I’ve coached and created tremendous impact in their lives, as individuals and wrestlers. I’m excited for them to partner with BTS Chicago and bring their expertise to the athletes we serve. It truly is a program designed for wrestlers, by wrestlers.” -Mike Powell, Executive Director BTSC
BTS Chicago was launched in 1997, and through the years has partnered with Midlands Youth Foundation, Chicago Park District, and the YMCA network, as well as utilized numerous volunteers throughout the city. The program has grown and is now serving 12 clubs, 18 Elementary schools and over 1000 young people in some of the most challenged neighborhoods in Chicago. Wrestling Mindset is dedicated to actively working with individuals and teams in the BTS Chicago network. On top of directly working with participants, WM will become involved in coaches’ development seminars, with coaches that manage and instruct the athletes BTS serve.
The mental aspect of wrestling is one of the most important parts of the sport and one of the hardest to teach. We are excited for Wrestling Mindset‘s help in working with our student-athletes. - Montrele Stokes, Simeon Career Academy Coach
The relationships the Wrestling Mindset Teamare fostering with BTS wrestlers and coaches are focused on helping them improve their mental toughness, motivation, confidence, and ability to control aggression and compete in challenging situations. These are the skills that translate from wrestling, directly into life, and are the purpose of our work with BTS. Building confidence for a match is similar to building confidence for an interview. This is a skill that Winning Mindset teaches countless teams and individuals across the country. Setting goals as an athlete, as a student, and in a career allows you to pinpoint what you want and what you are working for. The action plan to get there is what outlines the path to achieve it. At Winning Mindset, these are a few of the skills we seek to instill in athletes and teams across all sports.
The techniques and physical improvements gained in athletics help athletes excel in their chosen sport, however, strength or single legs are not what interviewers and employers look for. It is the mental toughness, confidence, and motivation – sharpened through years of athletics – that can impact a person for a lifetime.
Chicago Hope Academy wrestlers, a BTS Chicago traveling elite team.
By Jake Hunter
Energy and enthusiasm exude from the Beat the Streets athletes that I have come to know over the last four years. Some I’ve worked with once or twice, others over the course of several seasons. Beat the Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) is a youth development nonprofit that strives to “Positively Alters Life’s Trajectory” for at-risk youth. The organization fosters holistic development, utilizing the sport of wrestling and academic mentoring as vehicles to teach student athletes lessons and values – such as Grit, Compassion, Service, Team – that apply to all areas of life.
BTSP was started by alumni and former wrestlers from the University of Pennsylvania. They recognized that wrestling was a crucial part of their formative college years and that wrestling can be used as a vehicle for positive youth development. These wrestlers took note of the lack of youth-centric programs in the city and started BTS Philadelphia in 2009.
My first exposure with BTS athletes started on the mat as a coach. The backgrounds of the athletes were as diverse as the city of Philadelphia itself. The two most striking characteristics of the athletes from BTS is their perseverance and grit. With the growth of wrestling in Philadelphia over the last decade, many of these athletes were the first in their family to compete in the sport. Rather than parents bringing them to practice, many of the wrestlers found their own way, with support from BTS. Before they left at the end of practice, one of the older members often handed out tokens for public transportation for younger members to head home. With evening practices ending around 8:00, it was easy to see the commitment the athletes made to the sport and the teams they were part of.
It didn’t take long for the wrestlers’ gratitude for those around them to become apparent. We always had a “breakdown” at the end of practice. We concluded by putting our right hands in together, while resting our left hands on a teammate. The right hand demonstrated our team mentality, and the left hand symbolized gratitude and the importance of others in our own improvement. This wasn’t the end of their thankfulness though. Following the “breakdown,” the wrestlers came up, every one of them, to shake my hand and thank me for coaching. This was something I hadn’t done as an athlete, nor seen as a coach. Was it an anomaly? I saw soon that it wasn’t. It happens every practice.
“Mindset helps us learn to do the right things during the worst moments.” -Dennis Belleh, BTSP student athlete
My work with BTS continued as I joined the faculty of The Philadelphia School. The school hosted a BTS community wrestling club that served a diverse range of students from across the city. In my years of coaching, whether athletes are fighting for state titles or just trying to find a club to be part of, I have always focused on how each participant can improve as an athlete and individual. In this way, the athletes at BTS were similar to any group of young people I had encountered. The difference though was the odds many were working to overcome. The discipline and focus required to grow as a wrestler are impactful for all – but can be life-changing for some. These mental skills are improved by participating in the sport, but when focused on in an organized and systematic way, they can teach each individual life and career skills that will serve them for their entire life. This is the mission that Winning Mindset focuses on, and it is work we do extremely well.
BTS’s ability to help athletes is the work of an entire community. Donations from businesses and individuals back up the time and energy put forth by coaches, mentors, and office staff to alter the life trajectories of the youth of Philadelphia. When my career took another direction and I stepped out of the classroom, I knew my work with BTS couldn’t end. In my new role, I advocated for an enlarged partnership between Winning Mindset and BTS.
“Our partnership with Winning Mindset has given our youth the mental tools needed to work through adversity; this helps our Beat the Streets student athletes on the mat, and helps them persevere in life.” - Ben Reiter, BTSP mentoring director
This year I stepped into a management role at Winning Mindset. We focus on the mental aspect of teams and athletes to help them perform consistently at their best, without being hampered by the stress, anxiety, and self-doubt that so many athletes,regardless of age, struggle with. In my new role, I took on the training and ongoing professional development of our coaching staff. Growth Mindset, as well as using sports as a vehicle to improve individuals, are core values of Winning Mindset. In the BTS office on Market Street, the leadership of Winning Mindset and BTS created a plan to support the athletes served by BTS.
Over the course of the last spring and summer, more than 20 Mindset coaches have worked with the athletes who frequent the BTS Mentoring Center. This past weekend was the next stage of our work to help grow Philadelphia’s wrestling ecosystem. On Saturday, September 15, we held our first Winning Mindset Training Session with the coaches of BTS programs across the Philadelphia area. Our aim was to share our knowledge and practices of improving the mental capacity of the wrestlers they coach. Our work with BTS will continue in the future with their coaches, mentors, and athletes.
“Mindset training helps the kids learn from their mistakes on and off the mat, and manage fear in tough situations.” - Edwin Morales, BTSP alum and mentor
The relationships we are fostering with BTS wrestlers and coaches allow us to help them improve their mental toughness, motivation, confidence, and ability to control aggression and compete in challenging situations. These are the skills that translate from wrestling, directly into life, and are the focus of our work with BTS. Building confidence for a match is similar to building confidence for an interview. This is a skill that Winning Mindset teaches countless teams and individuals across the country. Setting goals as an athlete, as a student, and in a career allows you to pinpoint what you want and what you are working for. The action plan to get there is what outlines the path to achieve it. At Winning Mindset, these are a few of the skills we seek to instill in athletes and teams across all sports.
The techniques and physical improvements gained in athletics help athletes excel in their chosen sport, but I personally haven’t found that my strength or single leg has been very helpful during job interviews, teaching classes, or managing a company. It is the mental toughness, confidence, and motivation – sharpened through years of athletics – that lasts a lifetime.
Have you ever heard the tale about the two wolves? If not, I’ll briefly explain… A Cherokee Native wanted to teach his grandson about life. He told the child, “There’s an eternal battle going on inside of me - a struggle,” he said, “between two wolves. One is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. And the other - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” “The same struggle is going on inside of you, and every other person that exists,” the grandfather said. The grandson paused for a minute in contemplation before saying, “Which wolf wins?” The grandfather looked down at his grandson and replied…. We’ll continue this story later.
Attitude of gratitude mindset is principle number one of the Winning Mindset team. While the principle intuitively makes sense, since people naturally are inclined toward working harder if it is doing what they enjoy, the research behind the principle actually paints a compelling argument that stems beyond the obvious.
“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Harvard Medical School defines gratitude as “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
Arguably the most renowned research organizations in the world recognize the power of gratitude as they bring up the principle of an individual being a part of something greater than themselves. Researchers across perspectives agree that gratitude is pivotal to athlete success. Chen & Wu (2014 & 2016) were adamant that gratitude clearly contributes to athletes’ optimal functioning. This is most likely due to the the following facts collected in the text Positive Psychology in Sport and Physical Activity (Brady, Grenville-Cleave, 2018): Gratitude BROADENS AND BUILDS. McCullough et al. (2002) found athletes with who display high levels of gratitude tend to have flexible worldviews and recognize the circumstances, relationships, and resources they possess as gifts. Lambert, Graham, Fincham & Stillman (2009) expanded on this by finding athletes who display a high level of gratitude actually spin negative circumstances as blessings. This tendency is a plausible explanation as to why GRATEFUL ATHLETES FALL FORWARD.
Grateful individuals not only broaden their horizons but attract interpersonal relationships that help them accomplish their goals (Algoe, Gable, & Maisel, 2010; Fredrickson, 2000). For example an athlete thanks a teammate for pushing limits in practice, the teammate feels appreciated and valued, come next practice the athlete pushes limits again, recognized again the teammate encourages, and expresses gratitude to another teammate for similar principles.
This cycle continues eventually raising the bar of the entire team. Possibly most impactful is the fact that GRATITUDE IS CONTAGIOUS; in research language, it motivates prosocial actions to create upstream reciprocity, which is passing on benefit to a person uninvolved in an initial exchange (Nowak & Roch, 2007; Chang et al., 2012). Continuing with the same example, the initial contact of gratitude helped the two individuals involved, however the resultant rise in effort in practice benefited all. Another example may be a collegiate coach taking time to check in on individual athletes expressing how thankful he/she is for the athlete’s dedication. The athlete grows and matures into a top performer, and upon graduation decides to stay in the area and contribute back to a program he/she was so grateful to be a part of (Brady, Grenville-Cleave, 2018).
Gratitude is not a new principle - philosophers and religious thinkers have been exploring the idea for a millenia. Buddha was quoted as saying, “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” Christianity is almost entirely based on gratitude! Today the principle is reiterated by many highly successful people including Steph Curry, Will Smith, Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs, etc.. Famed talk show host Oprah Winfrey who was quoted as saying, “The more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased, for sure- what you focus on expands. When you focus on the good things in life, you create more of it.”
Can two words change your life? “Thank you” - Researchers and boundless anecdotal evidence seem to point in that direction.
ANYWAYS BACK TO THE STORY OF THE TWO WOLVES…
The grandfather looked down at the grandson and said:
“The one you feed”
Gratitude is learned principle. We learn to be thankful for experiences either by being starved of experience or by consciously choosing over and over to be acknowledge what is good in our lives. We have an internal battle going on inside of us between two wolves. One is ungrateful and fills his mind with negative thoughts, doubts, and ego. The other is grateful and fills his mind with positive thoughts, love, and faith. The one that wins, the one who ultimately controls our reality is the wolf we feed.
Brady, A. (Ed.), Grenville-Cleave, B. (Ed.). (2018). Positive Psychology in Sport and
Physical Activity. London: Routledge.
Chen, L., Wu, C., & Chang, J. (2017). Gratitude and athletes’ life satisfaction: The
moderating role of mindfulness. Journal of Happiness Studies : An Interdisciplinary Forum on Subjective Well-Being,18(4), 1147-1159.
MISS A MINDSET MONDAY CALL?