Jan. WIN Article #107 Readers are Leaders


Readers are Leaders
By Ben Peterson #107

Have you ever been told that “readers are leaders?” I have heard that statement various times. Since I am writing to motivate wrestling people I must ask if you like to read and particularly, do you like to read about wrestling? Let me encourage you with a few helpful thoughts.

Beware of excuses:
1.) I am not a fast reader. This is true of me and I am guilty too often of using this excuse. But in reality it should not stop me from reading. And the more we read, the faster we can learn to do it.
2.) I am too busy reading other material for school assignments. I have heard this and used it also more than I should. But a change of pace in subjects is healthy. Plus we may be able to include some wrestling in our extra projects if we just ask.
3.) I would rather be doing something with wrestling and wrestling training then reading about it. In reality reading about wrestling can make us more knowledgeable about it and wiser and more efficient when do we wrestle.

Why read about wrestling?
1.) Learn the history of our sport! The lives of wrestlers can be great motivation for us.
2.) When we learn the philosophy, the thinking and the technique of other athletes, it can make our own training more efficient. It can help our thinking go past that of our opponents.
3.) Know the biographies of past and current wrestlers and be motivated by their experiences as you develop your own story.

Recently I found myself reading three books. They were given to me during the summer months when I tend to be very busy with wrestling camps. When things slowed down I picked them up and found myself making time to read them. Let me explain something about each of them.

Recommended Reading:
1st Bobby Douglas: Life and Legacy of an American Wrestling Legend by Craig Sesker
At first I started catching a few pages here and there. Then I got into the book and couldn’t put it down. It is a biography of Bobby Douglas. His career became interesting to me because it includes such diversity and many personal comments about his stellar career. Coach Douglas’ wrestling journey traveled from an economically poor Ohio coal mining town, to Oklahoma State, two Olympics Teams, coaching a National Championship team at Arizona State, being the envy of all coaches at Iowa State University where he guiding Cael Sanderson to four undefeated NCAA titles, to repeatedly being involved with National Teams and a major number of World and Olympic Medalists.

Sesker does a great job bringing quotes from the key people Coach Douglas was influenced by, and then those he influenced. I felt the Arizona State team description was the most fun and passion-filled of the many settings of his life. That team must have really been a pleasure to be a part of.

Coach Douglas was a Graduate Assistant at Iowa State while I was a student there, so I have known him for some time. But this book gave me a new appreciation for Douglas as a wrestler and as a coach. Plus it gives a great view of what the sport of wrestling can be like when we pour our hearts into it.

2nd 3D Coach by Jeff Duke
This book was not about wrestling at all. It was written by a football coach. Jeff Duke was an assistant to Bobby Bowden at Florida State where he was involved with National Championship level teams multi years. He gives a lot of coaching tips and experiences for motivating and guiding athletes to excel personally and athletically.

Jeff Duke began to learn what it meant to coach the heart of a player and not just his head and body. Bowden urged him to focus first on the character and faith in Christ of the players. The book tells of the journey that brought Coach Duke to write the book and then give it to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) as a tool to teach other coaches to do the same. This is a super tool for coaches, parents and competitors in any sport. It relates how to make a difference in the lives of athletes both spiritually and athletically.

3rd Think It, Believe It, Do It by Carl Adams
I received this book in manuscript form from my former college teammate, Carl Adams. He asked me to write an endorsement. It took me a few days to really get into it and I felt bad about it because I was reading the previous books and wanted to finish them. At first I thought I knew most things about Carl. Did I really need to read the entire book? Dumb thinking! There is always more you can learn from a friend who lives as intently as Carl.

As I got into Carl’s invention of the “Adam Takedown Machine” I was amazed. The thought and passion Carl describes in his inventions and wrestling books (which I had known of for years) was a huge challenge to me. I had no idea what all went into making that machine. Just like watching Carl wrestle as a teammate, I could now visualize the intensity he used to develop tools that help wrestlers. His work has made a difference in our sport.

This book is the life story of Carl, his family, how he got to Iowa State, won two NCAA Championships, jumped right into college coaching, made National Teams, began writing wrestling technique books, conducting camps, and inventing wrestling training machines. Carl has been a relentless worker and has left the sport of wrestling with updated tools to pass on to new generations of wrestlers. Be careful when you read this book. You may get motivated to work harder than you ever thought possible. But do not worry, Carl will show you how to work to accomplish your goals more efficiently. Carl is now advertising his book in this WIN magazine.

If you struggle to get started reading a book, join the crowd. There are a lot of us in that group. I love to stay active. But to better ourselves we need to read and learn from others. All three of these books had an appeal to me because of the people who recommended them to me. But I had to get interested myself and had to be willing to set aside some time to get started and into the book. Once the story and the author got my attention it was easy to keep reading. There are many informative and helpful books in our sport and about coaching. Why not read and become wiser, more efficient, a more motivated person, and a leader as a wrestler and then as a coach. Students, ask your teachers if you can read about wrestling for credit and for reports. Many have been able to do so.

Learn from the writing of others. Most writers describe their mistakes and what they learned from their errors. Reading can help us avoid the same mistakes that others have made and permit us to move on to higher levels. I strongly urge you to become a leader in our sport by reading about it.

You can find other articles by Ben at these web sites: www.campofchamps.org & www.TheCompetitor.org Today Ben & John run Camp of Champs Wrestling Camps and are frequent guest speakers for numerous special events. Arrange them for your special event by contacting them at: PO Box 222 Watertown, WI 53094; 800-505-5099 or ben@campofchamps.org

Asics USA Wrestling The Competitor
National Wrestling Hall of Fame
USA Wrestling
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