Matt Lindland’s ‘A Coach’s Prayer’

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I recently began my fourth year as National coach. I was thinking I’d have this figured out by now. The job of coaching young men has its demands, and will continue to. There are always going to be new challenges and obstacles to overcome.

I pray. I reflect. I contemplate. I also study. One of my favorite pastimes is to read about great leaders and the methods they used to achieve success. There have been plenty of them throughout history, particularly in the world of sports. I’ve studied the works of famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, the legendary Bill Bowerman, Tony LaRussa for what he was able to accomplish as the manager of the Oakland A’s and later, the St. Louis Cardinals. But it was reading up on a leader who operated in a completely different realm that has really shaped my perspective as of late — General Douglas MacArthur.

Merica

This was a most unusual man. MacArthur was a five-star General and field marshal of the Filipino Army during World War II. He was both extremely intelligent and extremely demanding. MacArthur expected his orders to be followed to the strictest letter of the law. Yet, he had problems all his life following the orders of those who were his commanders.

MacArthur’s mind for combat exuded such brilliance that he could design battle plans which left the enemy no choice other than to surrender or be destroyed. Many of the strategies he was responsible for developing not only played a pivotal role in vanquishing the enemy, but also saved the lives of countless troops under his command. He was extraordinarily brave in battle, perhaps sometimes to the point of near foolishness, at least in the eyes of his critics. Then again, he won every medal and honor the United States can grace a soldier with. Ultimately, at the end of his life, MacArthur rejected war and warned American political leaders to avoid armed conflict.

Often times, people made jokes about MacArthur. Some of his soldiers sang songs that made fun of him. Many others believed he was the best general ever to serve in the United States military.

Through my research, I also came to discover that MacArthur served as the president of the US Olympic committee in 1928 for the Summer Games in Amsterdam. This makes sense. MacArthur led his athletes into the Olympiad like a general leading an army onto the battlefield. In what was a slightly unusual but no less effective message, MacArthur told the US athletes that they didn’t travel 3,000 miles to lose gracefully. This fierce will to win evidently brought forth with it a pronounced source of inspiration. The US team took home twice as many gold medals as any other country at those Games, which included a gold medal from Allie Morrison in wrestling. The US broke 17 Olympic records and to pile on, seven world records, as well. Obviously, given my station in life, this information has made MacArthur’s influence as a leader even more interesting to me.

As I continued to read about one of the great leaders in American history, I happened upon what is called A Father’s Prayer, which appears at the end of his book. The prayer captivated me, and as I read through it, I couldn’t help but reflect on how I have prayed for my children.

family dinner
Shared milkshake
back in the day

I pray I can be the father God wanted me to be.
I pray the lord works through me to teach, train and be an example.
I pray for health, and safety and the ability to protect my children.
I pray that they would know and love the Lord.
I prayed that my children will have character, and that they will take the responsibility to respond rightly to authority and to challenges they face in their lives.
I pray that they will gain wisdom, to make the wise choices in life.
I pray my children find purpose that provides meaning and impact in their lives.
I pray they find relationships and someone to share their lives with.

A moment with coach

The reason A Father’s Prayer by General MacArthur felt like it related to me so much is because I wasn’t just studying leadership as I, too, find myself praying for my men the same way I pray for my own children.

I love these men just like I love my children. I want them to have all that I want my own children to have.

  • A relationship with our Heavenly Father.
  • Relationships with Godly men.
  • A relationship with a Godly spouse.
  • Safety and protection.
  • Character and wisdom.
  • Purpose and meaning.
  • Love and passion.
Compete together

As I was pleading with God to protect, correct, and shape my men, He put on my heart the idea to draft a coach’s prayer, just like the one General MacArthur wrote. I started writing the prayer and just changing the words from ‘Father’ to ‘coach’ didn’t feel right, like it wasn’t God’s plan. “Give me an athlete” didn’t sit well in my heart. The more I prayed and listened to God, the more I kept hearing “You’re the coach” and this is a coach’s prayer. I know I am the leader God placed over these men and my job is to shape them, mold them, and lead the way.

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of sharing this prayer with you.

Matt Lindland
US Greco-Roman National Team head coach
November, 2017

A Coach’s Prayer

Make me the coach, O Lord, who will love my athletes like I do my own children.
Make me a coach who will show love and encouragement, and a coach who will discipline and correct with love and respect.
Help me to be fair and just, to correct any misdirection, and to send my men on the righteous path step by step.
Lord, work through me as I work to model your example.
Make me the coach, who will show my men the strength to face weakness; the courage to face fear; the grace to accept honest defeat; and the humility and gentleness to accept victory.
Make me the coach who will show my men not a path of ease and comfort, but the ability to accept the challenges of stress and difficulty. Use me Lord, I pray, to be the example of one who can stand up in the storm, and thereby learn compassion for those who fail.
Make me the coach who will teach his men the value of a clear heart and a high goal; to look in the mirror of their own faults before they find fault in others; to learn to laugh, understand it’s okay to cry; to reach into the future without ever forgetting the past.
Make me the coach, O Lord, who will show my men enough of a sense of humor so that they will always be serious, but never take themselves too seriously. Give them humility, so they will always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
And after all these things are theirs, add for me, I pray, the wisdom to show them the dubious value of titles, positions, money, and material gain; and the eternal value of prayer, the Holy Bible, a Christian home, and a saving relationship with Your Son Jesus Christ.
Then I, their coach, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

Sportmanship

What is 5PM?

5 point move

Coach Matt Lindland here guys. I have not been posting as often as I would like to. We have been working hard qualifying weights for the Games this summer and preparing our athletes. The other reason I have not been posting as often is because of 5PM and Tim Hands. Let's talk to Tim and find out more about 5PM

What is 5PM?

 

Five Point Move is a website devoted to Greco Roman wrestling and the US Greco program, in general. There’s a couple of other content areas that offer different stuff for readers, but as far as actual wrestling coverage goes, it is all about Greco and providing exposure for the athletes.

What got you thinking there needed to be another wrestling website? What makes 5PM different?

 

It kind of happened in two parts, I would say. I remember going back to 2008, it started with a conversation I was having with Dennis Hall. It was like a week before the Beijing games and we were just talking about how the Greco team was basically operating in anonymity compared to everyone else. I mean, to be fair, the web in 2008 was a very different place than it is now, it was almost like “Web 1.0” if you put it up to how the Internet looks currently. So there weren’t so many media outlets at that point to begin with. But the question was, What if there was a platform where these athletes could be featured? What if there was a place where sponsors and brands could learn about the wrestlers, and who knows where that eventually leads? Maybe if more people could see exactly what these athletes go through and what they are all about, it could mean more opportunities for them. They certainly deserve their shot.

 

But yeah, there was a need and still is. There are people who definitely want this kind of coverage. It’s time to stop acting like Greco should be a throw-in. I know for a fact people want Greco because our numbers say so. To that point, if Five Point Move is different, it’s different in that it is 100% committed to Greco Roman coverage. It’s committed to helping provide exposure for the athletes who so richly deserve it, and it is committed to helping build awareness of the sport.

 

What was your plan? What made you decide to do this now?

 

The conversation I had with Hall always stuck to me and also having known a couple of wrestlers who were resident athletes and National Team members. I’d say it happened in phases. I remember at night going on the computer or my phone, whatever, and wanting to read Greco stuff, US Greco stuff. And the outlets we have in the US, I mean, don’t get me wrong, they are excellent at what they do and if something notable occurs in Greco they’ll try to have something on it. But that’s where it ends. You can’t find features or news everyday; they leave that to the folkstyle or even freestyle content. That’s fine, I get the climate. But for me, I’d be interested in reading Greco news.

 

More than anything, I guess to bring a spiritual component to all of this, is that I’m a praying man. And I went through this period in 2014, I wasn’t unhappy or anything, quite the contrary, but I didn’t have anything kind of pushing me. I wasn’t an athlete, certainly, at least not anymore. I didn’t have something to pour my energy into. So I just prayed for the inspiration to do something with a part of my life that I loved. I didn’t know what that even was or what it meant. I wasn’t praying for anything specific. I just wanted to be inspired to go after something. And then, I don’t know how long into this, but it wasn’t too long, all of this hit me. It all came together at once practically. It was the idea, boom, the name, boom, the logo, boom. It all hit, so to me, Five Point Move was divinely inspired.

 

I registered the domain pretty much right away. Only, it took a while to get things together. I do have a family, kids, plus writing and editing. However, I was content mapping for the site immediately. My career has been a big help. I’m a writer, I’m a literary nerd, for sure, but I work in digital content, so I had gained the confidence to be a webmaster, although I do have help with the more technical side of things. And then over the last nine months we started to piece this all together, the layout, the content plan, and then a month before the Olympic Trials the site was “live.” It officially launched I guess the week before Iowa City.

 

Well I am a praying man, too, and it’s almost as if you answered my prayers because I have this Coach Lindland blog, which was to get news out regarding the US Greco program, talk about the wrestlers, and what we’re doing. But as the head coach of the program, I have so many things to do. I have trouble getting stuff up here consistently, but then you came along and have done it all for me. But people do want to know what is going on with Greco in this country and it’s important that there is a place where they can find out what they need to know and what they want to know.

 

Oh wow, I appreciate that, thank you. Of course, you have been extraordinarily helpful by agreeing to do the Weekly Report, which is big for us. And all of your help with access and even just encouragement has been incredible and meant a lot. Look, people want this. They want to know, they are interested and also, many just want to learn. They want to learn what it is the really well-known Seniors are doing, they want to know about approaches, lifestyles, coaching, and where the athletes are going next. All we are trying to do, my contributors and I, is ensure that we provide the information they are looking for. And hopefully, they stick around because of our concentration on offering high quality content. 

 

You know, I don’t know which approach is better. There are people who are more into taking action first and then moving forward and learning as they go, and then there are those who have a plan in place and execute that plan. You seemed to have had a plan and then went for it.

 

Yes, there definitely was a plan in place and it was just a matter of being able to unroll it. Even now, we have a content plan that we stick to, for the most part. Sometimes, news just pops up and we have to account for it, or something will happen with an athlete that needs to be talked about, so we will engage the subject. There is flexibility that way. At the same time, there is always learning as I go. You know, your audience tends to tell you what they want from you. Before the site was officially launched, the original content plan was in place and still is. In fact, it hasn’t even been revealed in full yet, which is really encouraging. But we pay attention to what readers want when it comes to their US Greco news. And sometimes, preferences change and you have to adapt so that they are still getting what they want. But thankfully, the people who dig Five Point Move are super loyal and into it and it’s such a great feeling to see that, for sure.

How has the response been within the Greco community and the wrestling community as a whole?

 

It strikes me, I must say, with incredible humility, the response Five Point has received. I get a lot of “thank you’s” from the athletes and from other wrestlers, families, and fans of the sport. It has all happened really fast it seems. The amount of support we have gotten thus far has been both humbling and gratifying. You know, we’re doing this for them, for everyone. There is also just a slight attitude of defiance mixed in. It’s like, we all have to stick together right now to build the sport, build exposure for the athletes. And quite honestly, I think people who are devoted to Greco Roman are done accepting it being looked at it with second-tier status in this country and Five Point Move is hopefully seen as sort of a mouthpiece for that sentiment.

 

As for the wrestling media outlets that might be more folkstyle, freestyle, there have been a few journalists from other places who have reached out and wished me luck or have complimented what we’re doing. Some have actually been very nice, Jason Bryant had me on his “Short Time” podcast, which was a a thrill. He’s supportive, no doubt. Others are interested and have reached out, you know? It’s funny to me in a way, because I think most people really do like Greco. Or I should say, I think everyone loves Greco, they just don’t know it yet. Or they haven’t discovered it in the right way, or need to re-discover it, what have you. Part of that is probably because of misconceptions that have been passed down, but part of it is also the packaging and how it’s presented. To me, if everyone is going to point out how Greco isn’t like anything else, then why hide from that? Yeah, it is different. It’s harder, it’s more exciting, and globally, more popular.

 

It’s the original style, it’s the original Olympic sport. When two guys who don’t know anything are about to fight, they grapple upper-body. It’s an instinct. They don’t go diving at each other’s legs. I have seen it with humans, I’ve seen it in nature. And right, it’s the more popular style of wrestling overseas. But with folkstyle here, it’s as if coaches and athletes are hesitant to learn more about it even though, like I said, it is competed more often on the World level. But that is one of the reasons why Greco doesn’t get the coverage from other outlets in the US.

 

I think that they try to include event information but miss the overall picture. It comes off begrudging, as if their hands are being forced, they have to throw it in. Some of them are kind of supportive and do highlight athletes on occasion, but the sum of the overall parts is underwhelming, to say the least. But yeah, I mean, you are right on. When two people are about to throw down, they aren’t shooting single-legs. They are going up top. It’s just how it is. You’d know better than anyone. Where and how do you control a fight? You close them up, get in their face. And one of the things I’ve always loved about Greco Roman wrestling is that it is a fight. There might not be punches and kicks, but there is more contact practically, and it has a natural component, like you mentioned. Greco represents our natural inclination to brawl it up and when you mix beautiful technique with par terre scoring, there really is nothing better than that.

 

Well I would just like to thank you for helping get the word out and for helping grow the sport. Part of my role for the program is to promote awareness, but it’s a process and it is building. We’re all volunteers for this cause and trying to bring it to critical mass. So it’s great to have a Greco-only website in our country that supports our athletes and what we are doing, and thank you very much for being a part of that.

 

No, thank you. And also, thank you to the athletes. All we are trying to do as a media outlet is provide the platform and tell the stories. The stories are what this is sort of all about. It’s a movement. It is a growing movement and I am extremely pleased to be involved with it. There is work to be done, absolutely, but we’re getting there. It is happening. Greco is getting stronger in the US and people are becoming pumped up about it. Five Point is around to document this, it seems. It just feels like everything is coming together. There is enthusiasm and unity. It’s a pleasure. 

 

I don’t know if it’s timing, if it’s an attitude thing, or if because an awful lot of hard work has begun to get noticed. But it has been exciting so far and definitely a blessing to be involved. And thank you for talking to me about all this. I appreciate the opportunity, as you know, to discuss Five Point and hopefully, more people check out what the site is all about. So once again, thanks to you and to our readers. We’re all in this together.

Five point move

A sure way to not get what you want

Agony of Defeat

Let go to take control

This past weekend the US Greco team headed back to Frisco, Texas for the Olympic qualification tournament. This leg of the qualification process was the second part, back in September the top 5 athletes qualified their weight class for their nation.

 

Here at the Pan-Am qualifier, like every other continental qualifier the top 2 athletes in each weight category qualified their nation. This was a great place to get done what we needed to do and right in our back yard.

 

Three of the four weights did not get qualified. Now we have to go to open qualifier. There are five more total spots available for the Olympics and two tournaments to get this done. The first being in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia over 6,000 miles away. Now, we have to do this the hard way just two weeks after the US Olympic trials.

 

The team was not out matched; we just did not compete to our team’s abilities. We competed scared and frightened to lose. Why? We were not qualified and had nothing to lose? All we had to do was go out there and do our best and compete hard. The only thing that is expected is we fight and compete to the best of our abilities, instead we wrestled with fear and the fear paralyzed us.

Agony of Defeat 2

 

We spoke about what was at stake in this tournament and we knew that getting to the finals meant qualifying the weight for the RIO Games. I told my team to forget everything that was at stake and go out and do what you love to do, compete.

 

Adding pressure to the situation does not make athletes compete better.  Athletes compete best when they let go of the need for control surrendering to the love of the sport and the competition.

 

Competence and perseverance are such admirable qualities for so many aspects of our lives from relationships to goal setting. We pride ourselves with abilities to pick our mark, aim and hitting the target dead center. We put the work and time in and when the opportunity presents itself we need to learn to surrender and trust in our gifts and abilities that God has given us. Trust the universe or whatever you believe, but just LET GO AND TRUST.

 

We move through our lives with accuracy, diligence and compassion, yet even our best intentions and carefully laid plans can bring us stress, anxiety and even depression when our plans fall to shit.

 

Right now take a moment to think about plans you have laid out that didn’t work out the way you envisioned. Recently the US Greco team had planned on qualifying the four remaining weight classes for the Rio Games this summer last weekend in Frisco Texas. I am sure you have experienced something similar.

 

You probably have made plans before and also have had a back up plan in case things didn’t work out. You may even have a worst-case scenario plan if everything goes to shit. This is a good thing and it is a very stoic philosophy.

 

Thinking strategically and planning is great. This helps reduce anxiety that typically results in excellent outcomes.  What this way of thinking doesn’t teach you is that you cannot control the universe; even if you are a considerate compassionate person you can only control one thing. That one thing you can control is you.  So many times when coaching my athletes, I speak only about what the athlete needs to do that he can control, for example, move your feet, make first contact, create angles, level change and so on. I am talking to athletes about what they can control and not worrying about the things they CAN NOT control like the calls of the official or their opponent.

 

 Soon as we realize what we can and cannot control we come to peace, this is a peace that is impossible to disrupt. In the entire universe throughout all the galaxies that exist there is only one thing you can control. That one thing is a magnificent loving being that is you. You cannot control the weather, or another person’s actions or anything else.

 

You are totally unique with experiences, memories, passions and dreams that nobody else has. You have infinite choices in every moment, what to do, how to react and when to do it, and yet these are your choices and the only things you can control. If this realization feels crazy embrace it, if it feels freeing then welcome it.

 

Something greater than you exists whether you believe it is God or something else, there is something and it is bigger than you. However you understand it know something or someone created the world and that someone keeps our world spinning. Whether you call it God, love, the universe or something else know it is caring for you in every way.

 

Whatever has caused this shift in your life? If you are one of the athletes that didn’t get the results he wanted or you may have recently lost a job or maybe even a loved one, whatever it is that shook you know that you are safe. Trust that God is looking out for you even in your darkest time, nurturing you into an even more beautiful being?

up a creek without a paddle

 

We cannot trust without loosening our hold on control. We cling to beliefs, habits and people that feel safe. It’s like holding onto rotting logs instead of letting go and allowing the benevolent waters of life carry you to a world more beautiful than you could ever imagine. If we want to move forward in life, learn from your experiences and grow. We must release the need to control everything; this is both frightening and freeing.

trust


Surrender is something none of us like to do especially combat athletes. Surrender is considered weak and we can’t be weak, we are wrestlers, fighters and men that should be feared. Surrender, what is that?!


Surrendering control is not weak it allows ourselves to float into the paradise that God wants to share with us? Breathe in peace and let go of control.


We grasp at things we want and understanding what we want helps us move toward our goal. Although sometimes no matter what happens things do not go our way. You may dream of winning the gold at the Olympics, but some things are out of our control. Going after a goal with fear is a sure way to not get what you want.


All the best plans sometimes fail, but we can’t be afraid to take action, to try our best. This requires risk. A risk you may fail, a risk you may look stupid in your mind.


If you knew everything that was going to happen, or if you got everything you wanted all of the time you wouldn’t grow much, your life wouldn’t be challenging or much fun. Not getting what you want may be God’s way of preparing you for something much bigger, something so fulfilling that you can’t even imagine it right now.


Not getting what you want may be God’s way of telling you to make adjustments and take more risks so your life. This will be exciting, fun and something that you will grow from. God wants to give you what you want but it may not look the way you think it’s going to look. If we orchestrate our lives down to the finest detail we leave no room for pleasant surprises, exhilarating adventures, and the deep wisdom that comes only from living a valiant life.


Would you prefer a life of boring experiences or would you rather spend each day following your dreams and pursuing your passion? And the tears that go along with seeking and achieving greatness?


Let go of control and fear, allow your life to shift with the experiences we face require immense vulnerability. Like surrender vulnerability is often mocked in todays culture and yet vulnerability is not weakness, instead it is the willingness to drop your façade and experience life’s happenings with every part of your being. It is a willingness to trust your intuition and God.


You are a small ship on a vast and Majestic River, the current will carry you where you want to go if only you stop trying to row up stream. In a day or a week even perhaps a year you will look back on the difficult time with fondness. No matter what happens at this very moment you are learning and changing being carried into a beautiful new awareness by a kind and loving father God.


You can only control yourself, but you are enough to enact big changes on the world. Love, compassion trust and vulnerability are your tools and with these tools you can do everything and achieve whatever you set out to do. You will not only succeed but also thrive. You are a masterpiece in progress as my coach would tell me “You are born to win, Designed for accomplishment, Engineered for success, Endowed with the seeds of greatness” and when you realize this is truth you can ask yourself “Why not me”. If you believe, then anything is possible. Chase your dream without fear of failing, fear of what others think.

rainbow

Team USA Greco-Roman heads into Pan-American Olympic qualifier

 

On Sunday March 6th the 4 athletes that have been selected to represent the US Team will compete in Frisco Texas. At this tournament 2 weight classes will be qualified for the Olympic games this summer. Not the athlete that competes but the weight class for that country

 

This weekend, U.S. wrestlers take the mat for their country, not themselves (link)

 

We head into this event knowing what this tournament is all about and know what’s at stake for our country. Now, its time to forget all that is on the line and go compete. Each one of the 4 athletes that have been selected to get the job done for the US are ready, willing and capable of qualifying the US for the Olympic games.

 

The top 2 competitor in each weight class qualifier their nation to send a representative to Rio Olympic Games. We don’t have to beat everyone we just need to wrestle one match at a time, one point at a time. If the US athlete makes it to the finals of the tournament we get the US a spot in the Olympic Games.

 

Greco-Roman preview (link)

 

 

 

I am very confident that the athletes we are sending are the most capable and ready athletes to get the job done. Be sure to tune in Sunday and watch us get it done.

 

2016 Pan AM qualifier (link)

Eventis sultorum magister

wrestling suplay the picture

"Eventis sultorum magister" (Experience is the teacher of fools)

(for a job application) Describe a time when you did not succeed, and what you learned from it.

To be frank, I have not failed to achieve the large goals in my professional life (although more do remain), as most of my broad professional goals have been achieved thus far - albeit eventually and incrementally– but only through overcoming an array of grant failures, job rejections, and losses that are requisite along the way.  That being said, one thing does stand out for when I did not ultimately succeed, and walked away in failure: I failed miserably at my goals to become an NCAA Champion in my college wrestling career.  I was a walk-on Division III back-up wrestler on the historically best wrestling team in the nation, and I got horribly brutalized day in and day out during my first semester. However, I got better each and every day, and kept fighting to inch forward in toughness & skill sets.  I soon progressed to challenging, and then beating, the national champions and All-American teammates in our daily battles in practice, often giving up over 30-40 lbs. to bigger and stronger opponents. But in so doing, I learned to fight though several torn rotator cuffs and concussions incurred through the years’ fights, and it took a toll in competitions but I kept on pushing.

Then one night, after beating out the top guy at my weight, I was hit by a car at 50 mph while biking home from practice. Miraculously, I survived, and fought hard to return to the mat 30 days later with a torn MCL in my knee.  Painfully, I fought through this successfully and continued to compete. But since I was also paying my own way through school at the time, and on the cusp of both a Rhodes Scholarship and full-ride for a neuroscience PhD program in graduate school, it was a sobering time to keep focused on broader goals beyond sport amid the frustration of injury & losses after over a decade of sacrifices.  This ultimately impeded my ability to complete my goal of an NCAA championship, sustaining a concussion the night before national qualifiers. The teammate I beat that day ended up as an All-American that year, and another took 2nd in the country. 

What did I learn from this? From the scope of this experience, I learned a broader focus of priorities, how to overcome major injury to persevere and return to the fight competitively. More importantly, though, I learned who I was.  How do I respond when literally knocked down & out, taken out at the knees from behind? Do you fight back from the ropes, and do you refuse to quit? What do you do when that storm hits? Do you hunker down, or do you climb to the mast like Lt. Dan and scream: “is that all you’ve got?”  I learned the answer to these questions for me. I learned also how good I could really be when I put my whole heart, soul, & mind to it: I built up from a walk-on scrub, to competing and then beating some of the best wrestlers in America (I discovered my humbling limitations, too).  I had, and still have, nothing to show for it: no awards, no championships, no all-American status, no recognition – only scars of the body and mind. But I learned that those things don’t truly matter in the least; rather, it is the intrinsic rewards of what I knew had been accomplished, which brought true fulfillment. Being “the man in the arena” that T.R. Roosevelt described, standing tall after being broken, and then rising again, doesn’t require any recognition from anyone but yourself, and that is the greatest prize one can win.

~ Dr. Richard J. Addante is a Neuroscientist and professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, and was a walk-on back-up Division III NCAA wrestler for The College of New Jersey from 2000-2004, and Head Coach of Robbinsville High School (NJ) and Florida Atlantic University in 2005 & 2006, respectively. 

The U.S. Freestyle and U.S. Greco team have joint training camp in Colorado Spring

Grecco freestyle training

The U.S. Freestyle and U.S. Greco team have joint training camp in Colorado Spring

This past week with the U.S. freestyle team in Colorado I had the honor to run three workouts. What? Greco teaches freestyle? Yes, I wrestled my share of FS and won a couple national titles. Also a senior Pan-Am Gold medal, but that’s not why I was asked to run a few training sessions.

 

Greco wrestlers have a deeper and richer understanding of some particular positions. In layman’s terms the clinch position. For us wrestling guys controlling and clearing tie-ups, 2-on-1’s and under-hooks. How to not just clear a tie-up but to clear and put your body in a position to score. We also spend quite a bit of time in the Parterre position working on gut defense.

 

It was an absolute honor to have the opportunity to work with not just some of the best guys in the country but also some of the best wrestlers in the world. These guys are the best in world because they are humble students that are hungry to improve and get better. The positions we worked on is not necessary even where these guys want to be, but they understand that they will be forced into these positions and they are willing to be uncomfortable to get better. What an incredible way to approach your craft. You have to understand that at this level in the sport you always need to be adding and improving your techniques to stay ahead of the competition.

 

The freestyle athletes I got to work with were so grateful and appreciative. The Greco athletes enjoyed the joint training and I know the FS guys found a whole new level of respect for the Greco wrestlers. What a blast! One team training together, The U.S. Wrestling Team.

 

Young wrestlers can learn these skills and positions early if they are humble enough to wrestle Greco. If Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, Kyle Snyder, Jake Herbert and Tony Ramos and the rest of the freestyle national team can do it why not you.

 

For some wrestlers they are fearful they may get beat in Greco or the tie-up positions. They run away, literally and metaphorically. Personally, I love being in uncomfortable situations. That is where I know I can learn and grow. If you want to become a better wrestler, listen to the top Freestyle athletes.


“Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable”


Coach Matt 


Dream big don't think small

Dream big don't think small. How big are your goals?

It was an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to work with Henry Cejudo this week on MMA skills. Henry just competed in the UFC a couple weeks ago and came away with a win against the #3 ranked fighter in the world. Henry should be next in line for UFC Title fight.

 In between fights is when you have the opportunity to grow and build new skills, not when you are trying to peak for a performance. Henry does not have a fight scheduled yet so now is a time to add new skills, to help reach his goal in MMA of being the best martial artist in the world. Henry’s next fight should be against DJ Johnson one of the most dominant MMA fighters in the world.

When an athlete takes on a new sport there are many new skills one must train and develop. Henry wants to be the best in all areas of the sport of MMA. I have been recognized as an expert in the art of Dirty Boxing, which is a hybrid of Greco-Roman wrestling, Muay-thia and boxing. Henry is and will continue to improve his skills in this area of the sport. With a strong base in wrestling a work ethic that it takes to be an Olympic champion and his mental toughness there is no doubt in my mind that Henry will become an expert in this area of the sport and dominate his opponents when they are clinch fighting. 

Henry Cejudo was an Olympic champion at age 21 when a lot of the best wrestlers in the US were concentrating on wrestling a style that no one else in the world competes in. Henry recognized that NCAA college wrestling is the equivalent to a kid’s tournament, and choose to focus on the international style of wrestling, in hope of becoming the Olympic champion. 

There is no doubt that wrestling is one of the toughest sports in the world but the college system in America is just an age group competition that Americans compete in while the rest of the worlds best wrestlers are focusing on Olympics and world championship. 

 

Yes there are some damn good college wrestlers in the US and I want them to come over to the Greco style of wrestling. It’s worked here in America, we take the cream of the crop wrestlers from NCCAA and develop the skills and we can win world and Olympic medals, but is this the best most efficient path? It’s like what Henry is doing now learning an entirely new skill set, and it takes time.

It makes it difficult for the US to be the best in the world in wrestling when our elite athletes are just getting started at 23/24 years old after they compete 4 or 5 years of competing in a different sport. We have to re-learn new skills that that didn’t transition over from the American college system. I know wrestling is wrestling and a lot of the skills do transfer over but there are also many skills that most of our American post college wrestlers have to re-learn or develop.

The other problem that Henry touches on is the “Grind” we take athletes and encourage them cut weight to get in a lower weight class to be competitive rather than focusing on developing better skills. These college wrestlers over train and over competes. This builds grit and mental toughness, which is an incredibly important part of wrestling, but how many of our tough college wrestlers actually compete on the international stage? 

We loose so many quality wrestlers that are tired, injured and just grinded down. You can only grind an athlete so much before they loose the love for the sport. 

We see it at all levels kids that are done before HS, high school athletes that were great got burned out before they were done with high school and the biggest attrition is college wrestlers that never get the opportunity to wrestle on the international stage because they are done. For whatever reason, maybe their coaches never told them they were good enough to continue and make it on the international stage. Maybe college was such a grind that they burned out? Injuries or maybe they learned not to love the sport any more?

Is the American system really the best system to be internationally competitive?

Maybe there is a better path? 

It seemed to work for Henry?

NCAA is a business and the athletes are the product. What do they get? Some tuition covered to go to school? 

Henry got paid to go to college after the Olympics now he is working on his master’s degree and its all paid for.

What are your goals? To be NCAA Champions? All American? Or do you have goals of being the best in the world? 

Like Henry Cejudo every athlete must find his own path. It takes courage and belief in your self and a the road less traveled. 

When I was coming out of HS my goals were to wrestle in Olympics and world championship and my coaches told me that the path was through the NCAA system, but that was the only path they knew. No we have guys like Henry Cejudo that have shown us there is a more direct path. Be different, dream bigger, reach higher and find your own path.

I am asking the question, there is a section for comments for you to add your thoughts. 

If your goals are bigger than NCAA age group competition is there a better path? If an athlete dreams of becoming an Olympic Champion or World Champion how does college age group wrestling help him reach his goals?

I recently met some young wrestlers with big goals Jayden and Aidan from Boise Idaho and here is what they had to say.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Greco-Roman Team in Baku

What are you thankful for?

 

Thanks Giving is a time to spend with family and love ones, I pray you are doing that, or if you are reading this after thanksgiving I pray that you did that. Family is not perfect and times we want to avoid being with them but remember that that everyday is a gift from God and being able to do what you love to do is by his grace.

 

This thanksgiving we are away from home and immediate families.  For me that means I am missing my wife and children, face-time helps but missing them all the same on the holiday.

 

I am so blessed because I get to be with my extended family, all the sons and brothers of the Greco-Roman family that are here with me in Baku.


We woke to today to and went to the gym and trained. I am thankful that I had this opportunity to do what I love to do. I was on the wrestling mats working with elite US wrestlers training along side the best wrestlers from many different nations. 


This is the day we list all the things we are thankful for and reflect about how blessed we all are, so today I want you to think about what person in in your life this past year are you most thankful for and why?  


For me it’s my amazing wife Angie. She supports and loves me. She understands me and understands that I am on a mission to create a legacy in Greco-Roman wrestling in this country. She understands that we may not always get to be together on holidays. When we are back together we enjoy each other company.


What experiences are you most grateful for this past year and what have you learned?


For me it was the chance to lead the US Greco-Roman team in the world championships in the US. As an athlete I never got to compete in the worlds in the US in 2001 the worlds were scheduled to take place in NY City in mid September. On 9-11-2001 we all remember what happened in NY that changed the world forever.

I learned that I want our team to compete in the US every year. I also learned that the men on US Greco-Roman team are fighters and they will give everything they have on the mats, win or loose.


What life lesson have you learned this year?


I’ve learned and I am still learning to slow down and take time to make decisions. Think more about all the different angles I can attack a challenge. I personal pride on being a take action guy. If there is something I want I start attacking and figure out how I am going to attack as I get going. This past year I have really start planning and strategizing how I am going to attack more. I still what to move forward and take action, but there is always time to think and plan so at least I know I am heading in the right direction.


Take the time to be with friends and family that’s what’s important in life. Take time to be grateful for the people, the experiences and the lessons that come into your life.


I am grateful to be here in Baku with the US Greco-Roman team training and competing. We are just getting started.

Building a legacy, movie night at OTC

Building a legacy, movie night at OTC

 

We have the theater reserved for 7pm Thursday December 3rd 

We are showing a favorite film of mine “I AM”

I AM


Park at the Bolder street entrance near the visitors center at the Olympic Training Center

I want to invite the entire Greco program. Current athletes young and old, veteran athletes, USA wrestling staff, coaches, volunteers and anyone who is apart of the wrestling family, or wants to be apart of the Greco program that lives here in Colorado, kids, parents, spouses family members bring them all. 

I may not have everyone’s email so please help me spread the word. Since I am planning this from Baku I will not be making calls so let someone, know about this and join us.

 

 

The Greco team is all over the world right now some in Finland and others in Azerbaijan training and competing. We will all be back by the 30th of November. That first week back will be a rest week for all the athletes that have been traveling.

Before me there were some great Greco-Roman US wrestlers. The teams I was on had awesome Greco wrestlers. The generation after me was apart of that amazing team in 2007 that won the world championships in Baku.

 

The goal is not only to be the best team in the world, it’s to be the best team in the world consistently. To build the legacy of Greco-Roman in this country. To build a program that others want to be apart of athletes, donors, media, sponsors and fans. We are moving in the right direction but there is still a lot of work ahead.

You build a legacy by cultivating the right culture, leadership, expectations, beliefs, mindset, relationships and habits before you ever step on the mat. Culture drives expectations and beliefs; expectations and beliefs drive behavior; behavior drives habits; and habits create this future. 

 

It all starts with building the right culture.

I love the sport of Greco-Roman, not only do I think it’s tougher, and more fun than the other styles of wrestling or MMA. I also think it’s a better product and more exciting, especially when we perform the way we did in Las Vegas at the world championships, fighting for every point and leaving it all on the mat. 

We may not have gotten the results we wanted but the attitude and effort was there. This is something we can build on.