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Tom Brands: Iowa Wrestling | Lex Fridman Podcast #245


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The following is a conversation with Tom Brands,
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Olympic champion and world champion in freestyle wrestling,
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three time NCAA wrestling champion at University of Iowa,
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and one of the greatest coaches in the history of wrestling,
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leading the University of Iowa Hawkeyes for 15 years,
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including in 2021 winning the national championships,
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and getting a coach of the year award, his third.
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He's known for his intensity, focus, and mental toughness,
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embodying both as a wrestler and coach,
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the culture and spirit of Iowa wrestling.
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We recorded this conversation almost exactly three years ago
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after I attended the University of Iowa
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versus Iowa State wrestling meet
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in the historic Carver Hawkeye Arena.
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Tom graciously invited me to his home,
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where his family, a couple of friends, and me
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spent several hours chatting about wrestling and life.
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We recorded this brief podcast conversation that evening,
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and I wasn't sure where, how, or whether we'll publish it.
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But returning to it now three years later,
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I realized just how meaningful that evening was for me.
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And even though I was nervous,
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didn't even put on my jacket,
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it's a moment I would love to share with others.
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The mix of intensity and heartfelt kindness
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from Tom and his family
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made me want to stay in Iowa forever.
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I think I will return there soon enough
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because of the amazing people there,
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and because Iowa is still, in many ways,
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the heart of the indomitable spirit of American wrestling,
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a sport I love and to which I'm deeply grateful
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for humbling me early in life
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and helping me and many others
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build character through hard work.
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This is the Lex Friedman podcast.
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To support it, please check out our sponsors
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in the description.
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And now here's my conversation with Tom Brands.
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What's the best motivator for you or for your athletes?
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Hatred of losing or love of winning?
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For me personally, it was definitely the hatred of losing.
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I was not a guy that was about pageantry.
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I was not a guy that was about the parade.
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When I wrestled in Atlanta,
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I rented a three cylinder Geo with my wife,
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drove home and mowed the lawn
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because it hadn't been mowed for a month.
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And I remember one of our neighbors driving by
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and they were like, they did a double take,
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like, well, that's the, I thought he was in Atlanta.
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Well, I was in Atlanta yesterday.
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I just sat on the stand
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and got a gold medal put around my neck.
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That's how I was.
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That doesn't mean that it was the right approach
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or the wrong approach.
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It's just what worked for me.
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But when you were a kid, you and Terry,
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you dreamed about winning that Olympic gold.
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Yeah, so.
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That's about winning then.
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So there is the lure of winning,
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but what drives you is that,
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you know, as you move forward,
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there's just no reason that you have to settle
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for anything but being the best.
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And if, it just, it would get to you to the point where
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that's not gonna happen to me again.
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So what, the thing that keeps you up at night
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is the losses and that's not,
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that's not gonna happen to me again.
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That's the thought that keeps you up at night.
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That's the thought that drives you in your training.
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That's why you do, you know, nine ropes
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when Gable says do three ropes and buddy pushups
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and you're out of here and you do nine
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or you do them until you can't do any more.
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And it's a very rare ingredient.
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The older I get, the more rare I find it is.
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The ingredient of loss feeding,
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feeding that, the drive of hard training?
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Maybe that because everybody's so worried
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about the negative whatever
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and you're putting too much pressure on yourself.
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So maybe that.
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But what I meant was it's when a coach says,
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okay, finish with four ropes and, you know,
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buddy pushups and four way neck, you know,
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I would do 12 or 10.
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That's rare.
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It's no longer about what the coach says.
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It's your own demons that you're trying to exercise out.
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What's the few losses you've had in your life?
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Are all of them just melt together
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or is there something that stands out in your mind?
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I'm a guy that remembers my career that well.
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I know that I am judged on a very small portion of my life
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and that's minutes of wrestling matches,
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you know, a lot of winning,
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but there's some losing in there too.
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And, you know, people think they know you because of that
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and they think they know you
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because they see you in a press conference.
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But, you know, to go back to the original question,
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you know, I don't know how to answer that.
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So there's no losses that just that eat at you still.
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There's opponents that I have learned a great deal from.
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I mean, my loss to John Smith in 1991,
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US Open was something that I learned a lot about.
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I learned a lot about positioning.
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I learned a lot about the importance of par terre.
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You know, in a certain kind of crazy way,
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I learned that I could go with the best guy in the world,
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even though it was 14 to four.
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And this is when Tech Falls were 15 or 12 points.
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I didn't get Tech Fall and that wasn't a badge of honor for me.
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But I knew I could go with him
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because it was one point takedowns.
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I scored four takedowns on him.
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And I learned that I had to move my feet
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and I learned what it meant to move your feet constantly.
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And there's no break.
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John Smith is a very, very intense competitor
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that people know that now, six time world Olympic champion.
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And I felt that firsthand.
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But I did not go in there taking a back seat,
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even though the score was very lopsided.
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But you knew you could stand with the best of the world.
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I knew that this is what this is about.
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And you know what, you move your feet
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and you don't give up a lace that's so damn tight
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that you can't feel your calf muscle.
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And I had to get ready for the consolation
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side of the bracket,
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because I believe that was in the semis.
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And you just learn from that.
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And it was better than learning from a win
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over a second ranked senior level guy
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when you're a junior in college.
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You're wrestling the best on a stage.
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So if you look back, you probably spent tens of thousands
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of hours on the mat, spilled sweat, blood,
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even tears, maybe, maybe a few times.
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So technically or philosophically,
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how would you do any of those hours differently?
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Just looking back at the tens of thousands of hours.
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I would be more, probably in my older age,
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I probably would have been more relaxed in my training
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and probably would have went another cycle.
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If I could do it over again, in 96,
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I really thought that when Gable retired,
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that I would be the next guy in line.
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And I was wrong and that was immature of me.
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In terms of the coach.
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In terms of the coach, yes.
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And I knew that Gable was close.
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I mean, I didn't know when, but it just so happens,
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you know, 97 was his record breaking year
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and then he retired, but I didn't know how close he was.
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But I knew that he had, you know,
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he went down with a bad hip injury.
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And so, you know, you're just, you're not gonna.
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So what does a relaxed Tom Brands look like?
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You're saying you would have been a little more relaxed.
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More like where, you know what, I was pretty dang good
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and I was getting better every day,
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but maybe doing a little bit different, a little bit smarter.
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And Terry actually did that going through 2000.
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He had to do it.
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And he would have been in the, you know,
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the funny farm, let alone the, you know, the physical farm,
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whatever you want to say, mentally and physically beat up.
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But he had to learn to less is more type approach.
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And how it came around was, is, you know,
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you work hard at feeling good.
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You work hard in your recovery.
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So even when you're not wrestling hard in that wrestling room,
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and looking for the toughest partner to go,
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you're still working hard in your recovery.
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And massage could be that.
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Stretching could be that.
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Things like that, that are more fluffy.
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And that's something you weren't as good at?
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The recovery aspect of this?
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Never, never.
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There's not a place for it with young people.
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Because in my opinion, there's so much development to have,
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there's so much development to have happened.
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I mean, when you need to learn wrestling,
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you need to be wrestling.
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And as you get older, your body won't do it anymore.
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And so to learn wrestling, it's more of a,
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probably a relaxed approach.
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So if you had to choose between two athletes
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who would dominate competition,
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one who drills 100,000 reps of a specific take down,
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specific technique, or one that spends that time live wrestling?
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Both, it's the same.
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And I like to live wrestling,
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I was always wanting to live wrestle,
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bring the warm up into the live wrestle, let's go.
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But where I got really, really good was a repetition.
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And I was disciplined enough to know that the things
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that you hate to do in this sport
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are the things that make you the very best.
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And that is a rare ingredient as I've gotten older.
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And you spend a lot of time communicating that
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to younger athletes.
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So the thing, if you feel yourself hating something,
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that's probably the thing you should be doing.
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Yes, as a matter of fact,
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I had a strength coach when I was really young.
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He was just a fricking guy that would,
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he wore white, like he was almost like a nurse,
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nurses clothes.
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He wore all white from head to toe.
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And he was in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
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And his first name was Walt.
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And he taught Terry and I to hate the bar away from you
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on that last rep when you're dead.
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And whether it's a curl, you hate it up.
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And then you do the negative and you hate it down
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and you hate that bench up and you hate it.
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You look at the bar and you hate it away from you.
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So I learned and I was young, I was young.
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And I remember being born, my mom's sister lived out there
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and we were dropped off to stay out there with our cousins.
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And I was born a little bit.
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And they always treated us really good.
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But this was like the single most bright spot
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in a weightlifting, like enlightenment,
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even though I lifted weights.
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But I never knew the psychology behind lifting weights.
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It's just to look good and so you can flex
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and look in the mirror or is it for performance?
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And this guy was about performance.
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And you said repetition.
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Do you mean technique?
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I'm talking repetition, technique, technique, technique,
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drill, drill, drill, hit, hit, hit, drive, finish,
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hit, hit, hit, drive, finish.
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So you believe in that.
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I believe in that wholeheartedly.
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And I believe that you have to do it on your own.
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I don't believe in the coach taking you to the promised land.
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So in the guys today or in yourself,
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how often do you see people that grow the belief
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of doing 10,000, 20,000 reps?
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I think it's rare.
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I think it's very rare.
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And I think it's especially rare.
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I mean, you can talk about that as a coach,
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but it's especially rare to bring a guy to that understanding,
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but you never stop trying.
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You're always trying to reach him.
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I mean, we didn't have a good performance out there tonight,
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but you know what?
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You don't stop communicating.
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And there's a lot of programs out there
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that put their head down when things aren't going their way.
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And then as things start going their way,
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then they rise with the tide.
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There was no difference in the demeanor of our corner.
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And we talk about that, that's a philosophy.
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And so you're reaching your guys that way.
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So go back to your point or your question.
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Do you believe in the 10,000 reps?
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And yes, I do.
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How do you inspire people to do that?
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So by example, but communication.
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But I mean, in my experience, what I've seen communicating
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the value of repetition and drilling
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is a hard thing to communicate.
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It's hard.
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And it's very rare to have somebody that goes in there
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and will do it on their own.
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Do you have young guys that step up and do that?
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We do, and it's rare.
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And the guys that do it on their own
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and have done it on their own
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are the guys that are in that lineup and doing well.
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The other thing is that when you talk about
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getting to that next level,
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a lot of times what held you back
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was I did everything the coach asked of me and nothing more.
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Right.
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I mean, you can be a great guy for a coach as an athlete,
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and you did everything that coach asked,
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but you did nothing more.
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So you're really looking for the guys
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that go way beyond what the coach says.
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We don't want guys that are looking at their watch
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running out of the room when practice is over.
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We want guys that know what they have to get done,
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and they might leave early,
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but they're not looking at their watch.
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They might be done early.
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They might be, we might be on a whole different path,
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and this guy just excuses himself.
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I'm all about that.
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We are not autocrats.
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There's an internal engine in there.
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Is that something you're born with,
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or is that something you can develop?
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I think you are born with it.
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You develop it also,
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and I think that there has to be comfort,
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and I go back to communication,
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that young people are comfortable enough to communicate
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that I need to take the day off.
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So what do you mean by communication?
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Or I need to do something different.
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Communication, exactly.
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So letting athletes be part of their own development.
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Communication to me is letting them know
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what they need to do to get themselves in contention
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to be the starting quarterback,
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and then to give them boosts and compliments
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when they earn them,
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and I don't have time to waste with lies and cheating.
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And when I say cheating,
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I'm talking about when they cheat themselves,
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and so those become very direct conversations,
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and the conversation starts like this.
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I don't have time to waste, and neither do you,
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and so why are we wasting our time?
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And here's what I mean by that.
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We're having a conversation about your accountability.
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If you look in the mirror and you're accountable,
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then we aren't taking the time to go through this.
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We're already on our way to solving the problem.
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Problem can't be solved without that understanding.
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And that has to do with symptoms
link |
00:15:03.200
that you see in the wrestling room.
link |
00:15:04.560
There's something where the fire's not quite there.
link |
00:15:05.680
That has to do with mental, emotional,
link |
00:15:07.600
spiritual, physical, everything.
link |
00:15:10.480
Everything that you know about.
link |
00:15:11.680
You know, I had a boss,
link |
00:15:14.000
and our athletic director is a great athletic director,
link |
00:15:16.240
and he's a great athlete,
link |
00:15:17.280
and he's a great athlete,
link |
00:15:18.320
and our athletic director is a great athletic director,
link |
00:15:20.080
and he gives us everything we need to be successful,
link |
00:15:22.400
but I had a boss, his name was Fred Mims,
link |
00:15:24.240
and I didn't think anybody could be better than him,
link |
00:15:26.160
and then all of a sudden this Gene Taylor guy came in,
link |
00:15:29.120
and then he was pretty doggone good too,
link |
00:15:30.800
and he actually was just like Fred
link |
00:15:33.680
and maybe even a little bit more current,
link |
00:15:35.840
and then he ended up taking a job at Kansas State
link |
00:15:37.680
where he's the athletic director now,
link |
00:15:39.840
and then this lady, Barbara Burke, comes in,
link |
00:15:43.520
and I didn't think anybody could be better
link |
00:15:45.280
than Gene Taylor or Fred Mims,
link |
00:15:46.880
and this Barbara Burke, she's better than both of them,
link |
00:15:50.160
and the reason why is because she's a problem solver.
link |
00:15:52.880
She doesn't waste time.
link |
00:15:54.080
She's direct, and she's a problem solver,
link |
00:15:56.320
and that's what we need.
link |
00:15:57.520
You need problem solvers.
link |
00:16:01.120
So on the flip side of problems and technique and repetition,
link |
00:16:06.880
here's a thing called toughness, mental toughness,
link |
00:16:10.720
something that maybe you or maybe even Iowa in general
link |
00:16:14.160
is a little bit known for.
link |
00:16:15.680
So how do you train mental toughness as a coach?
link |
00:16:19.040
You train mental toughness by putting them in situations
link |
00:16:23.040
that they're willing to go through
link |
00:16:27.280
but don't think they can make it,
link |
00:16:28.560
and then they go through it,
link |
00:16:29.440
and then all of a sudden those berries are down.
link |
00:16:31.760
Does that have to do with physical usually exhaustion,
link |
00:16:36.640
the four reps on the ropes?
link |
00:16:38.240
It has to do with that,
link |
00:16:40.720
and it has to do with understanding why we're doing it.
link |
00:16:45.040
And sometimes understanding why we're doing it
link |
00:16:47.760
might not come for months, but there's blind faith,
link |
00:16:52.320
and we have a heavyweight in the room right now,
link |
00:16:54.880
this young guy that he's like that.
link |
00:16:58.080
He doesn't necessarily understand it.
link |
00:17:00.000
He asks a lot of questions, but he doesn't,
link |
00:17:03.360
and he's been here four months now,
link |
00:17:04.880
four and a half months now,
link |
00:17:05.760
and he's getting better every day.
link |
00:17:07.760
So mental toughness too is a matter of repetition.
link |
00:17:11.440
Mental toughness is a matter of repetition
link |
00:17:13.280
and having an open mind and being extremely accountable,
link |
00:17:15.920
and not only accountable that when you maybe,
link |
00:17:21.840
when something doesn't go your way,
link |
00:17:22.960
that you look in the mirror and own it,
link |
00:17:24.320
but accountable to the point of view that,
link |
00:17:27.600
you know what, I gotta get tough in this situation
link |
00:17:30.400
right here, right now,
link |
00:17:31.760
and this is what's gonna make or break me.
link |
00:17:33.760
And I talked about my own career being defined by,
link |
00:17:36.640
you know, a couple of minutes on the mat,
link |
00:17:39.040
but that's when you're gonna be defined.
link |
00:17:41.440
That's how you're gonna be defined.
link |
00:17:43.360
That's okay.
link |
00:17:44.640
So people are gonna talk about you,
link |
00:17:46.640
so you might as well have them talking about
link |
00:17:47.920
how doggone tough you are.
link |
00:17:51.040
What about, we live in a world now,
link |
00:17:53.760
I have often in my own work,
link |
00:17:55.840
I hear about this concept of work life balance
link |
00:17:58.720
or overtraining.
link |
00:18:00.400
So you've been one of the hardest workers ever on the mat.
link |
00:18:04.720
You've coached some of the hardest workers ever.
link |
00:18:07.360
Do you think it's possible to over train, train too much?
link |
00:18:10.480
How big of a concern is it?
link |
00:18:11.440
I think peaking and burnout are frames of mind
link |
00:18:15.520
or burnout is a like you let things probably
link |
00:18:19.440
get to the point where you could have arrested them
link |
00:18:22.320
with a good frame of mind.
link |
00:18:24.160
But peaking is a frame of mind
link |
00:18:25.840
and you have to know, be able to read,
link |
00:18:28.880
and that's a lot of it.
link |
00:18:30.480
And the individual athlete also has to know
link |
00:18:33.920
that it's a frame of mind.
link |
00:18:35.760
And so when you have a coach that's reading that the right way
link |
00:18:38.480
and you have an athlete that is knowing that
link |
00:18:42.160
when zero hour comes that you're gonna be ready to go
link |
00:18:46.160
and knowing that there's light at the end of the tunnel
link |
00:18:48.880
if you feel like you're burning that candle at both ends,
link |
00:18:51.840
light's coming at the end of the tunnel.
link |
00:18:53.920
I mean, you're good to go.
link |
00:18:55.520
So you think about Gable and that whole dream
link |
00:18:59.280
of being carried off the mat because you worked so hard.
link |
00:19:02.160
And again, do you think it's possible to overtrain?
link |
00:19:04.800
So you said it's mental.
link |
00:19:07.040
I do think it's possible to overtrain
link |
00:19:08.880
if you have a lot of distractions.
link |
00:19:11.120
And if you're looking at your watch running out of the room,
link |
00:19:14.400
then yeah, that frame of mind
link |
00:19:16.960
isn't gonna lend itself to excellency.
link |
00:19:19.200
And the thing is, is we have to accomplish
link |
00:19:22.560
what we need to get accomplished to get better every day.
link |
00:19:24.800
You can't kind of accomplish what you need to accomplish.
link |
00:19:26.880
You have to accomplish it.
link |
00:19:28.560
And when you're in that mindset,
link |
00:19:31.520
then the clock is irrelevant.
link |
00:19:33.440
There's no place for a clock in the wrestling room.
link |
00:19:35.920
And maybe a clock that times a match,
link |
00:19:39.200
but it may be a clock.
link |
00:19:40.960
We're student athletes here,
link |
00:19:42.800
but that's why we encourage when you schedule your classes
link |
00:19:47.120
that you don't have a class that comes right up to practice time
link |
00:19:53.200
or starts as a night class and it starts at 5.30.
link |
00:19:56.960
Go to get the 6.30 class or the seven o clock.
link |
00:19:59.520
So you leave it all behind your heart,
link |
00:20:01.520
your passion is completely in it.
link |
00:20:02.960
There's no problem.
link |
00:20:03.360
When you walk in that wrestling room,
link |
00:20:05.040
there's no distractions and it's never eternal.
link |
00:20:08.320
The only thing that's eternal is death.
link |
00:20:11.440
You know, there's nothing.
link |
00:20:12.720
Sometimes guys come in there and they wig out.
link |
00:20:15.760
It's an hour and 25 minutes,
link |
00:20:20.000
or an hour and 45 minutes.
link |
00:20:22.640
You have to be willing to go as long as it takes.
link |
00:20:25.520
There's no clock.
link |
00:20:26.400
There's no clock.
link |
00:20:28.320
Again, wrestlers are some of the hardest,
link |
00:20:30.080
some of the toughest people in all of sports,
link |
00:20:33.040
but weight cutting often breaks people.
link |
00:20:35.840
So what's your thought on weight cutting,
link |
00:20:38.400
both nutrition wise, mental wise?
link |
00:20:40.640
How do you approach and think of it as a coach
link |
00:20:43.680
in your own career too?
link |
00:20:45.520
It's a lot of discipline and it's a lot of discipline
link |
00:20:50.000
during a very uncomfortable time period
link |
00:20:51.840
that really doesn't last that long,
link |
00:20:53.120
but it feels like it lasts long and it's painful.
link |
00:20:56.080
But once you shrink your body down
link |
00:20:58.880
and if you're hydrated, you'll get through it.
link |
00:21:01.120
If you're a little hungry, but you're eating,
link |
00:21:04.080
but you're hydrated, once you break that sweat,
link |
00:21:06.960
your energy depletion goes away.
link |
00:21:09.120
That's a fact.
link |
00:21:10.320
I've practiced that.
link |
00:21:11.680
You come in and you're yawning
link |
00:21:13.840
and you're starting to shrink your body down
link |
00:21:16.560
and it's that time of year where,
link |
00:21:17.760
hey, I gotta get my body shrunk down
link |
00:21:20.080
and you're dehydrated, you are dead in the water.
link |
00:21:23.760
But if you're hungry and hydrated,
link |
00:21:26.720
when you break that sweat...
link |
00:21:27.840
Have people gotten better with that over the years,
link |
00:21:30.000
over the past few decades?
link |
00:21:30.880
I think that coaches, science is better.
link |
00:21:34.000
I think that coaches communicate it.
link |
00:21:35.600
I think they always have.
link |
00:21:37.360
I think the bottom line is,
link |
00:21:38.960
is having the energy to implement that
link |
00:21:41.680
and taking a guy by the hand when he doesn't understand
link |
00:21:46.480
and he's new in your program and he's essential
link |
00:21:49.120
and or he's unwilling to and not disciplined enough
link |
00:21:51.760
because when you take him by the hand enough,
link |
00:21:53.040
they won't learn that discipline.
link |
00:21:55.680
This is a fact.
link |
00:21:56.400
This is an important aspect of wrestling, buddy.
link |
00:22:00.640
You know what I'm saying?
link |
00:22:01.760
So, you know, it's not just go and show up for the match.
link |
00:22:06.640
I mean, it's not about just making weight either.
link |
00:22:08.960
You gotta be able to make weight.
link |
00:22:10.160
That's part of the warm up.
link |
00:22:12.000
That's part of the process, getting ready to wrestle.
link |
00:22:14.240
It's a whole thing.
link |
00:22:14.720
It's a lifestyle.
link |
00:22:15.600
Yeah.
link |
00:22:16.720
When did you first start believing
link |
00:22:19.120
you're going to win Olympic gold?
link |
00:22:21.840
I don't know.
link |
00:22:22.880
I mean, I found out I got really addicted
link |
00:22:25.840
to wrestling really, really fast, started late.
link |
00:22:28.640
But looking back at my life,
link |
00:22:31.920
wrestled my whole life with my twin brother.
link |
00:22:34.560
And when Terry and I would fight, it was wrestling
link |
00:22:37.840
and it was to maim.
link |
00:22:39.520
And so if you're trying to maim me,
link |
00:22:43.840
I better be tough because if I roll over
link |
00:22:47.680
and expect you to scratch my belly
link |
00:22:49.280
when you're trying to maim me, I won't lose my head.
link |
00:22:51.040
And Tom and Terry Brands, there was no alpha male.
link |
00:22:55.360
And when it was on, it was on for real.
link |
00:22:58.160
What do you mean there's no alpha male?
link |
00:22:59.520
There's both?
link |
00:23:00.880
There are a lot of twins.
link |
00:23:02.160
There's a dominant twin.
link |
00:23:03.360
Oh, a lot of them.
link |
00:23:04.160
Ah.
link |
00:23:04.640
Very few times is there a situation
link |
00:23:08.400
where I'm going to win every time in everything
link |
00:23:11.440
and then he's thinking the same exact way.
link |
00:23:13.840
And Terry used to describe it like when we used
link |
00:23:15.840
to get interviewed a lot about our careers.
link |
00:23:17.520
Like it'd be like you grabbing a steering wheel
link |
00:23:19.920
and me grabbing a steering wheel and fighting.
link |
00:23:22.160
And that's what it was like when you would wrestle him
link |
00:23:24.240
or fight him.
link |
00:23:25.760
And so I had that benefit.
link |
00:23:27.760
So when did I know?
link |
00:23:28.720
Well, I got addicted to wrestling really, really fast
link |
00:23:31.280
in fifth grade and started to research it.
link |
00:23:34.000
And I don't know why and talked about the Olympics
link |
00:23:37.520
and put it in my head and remember said something
link |
00:23:43.600
about being an Olympic champion in fifth grade.
link |
00:23:45.760
And somebody made fun of me and I got in a fight
link |
00:23:47.760
in the playground.
link |
00:23:49.360
And I remember getting pulled in,
link |
00:23:53.040
getting in trouble for that.
link |
00:23:54.960
And the people that got me in trouble for that
link |
00:23:57.600
were smart enough to not rake me over the coals,
link |
00:24:00.880
but they researched or they actually found out
link |
00:24:03.440
what the fight was about.
link |
00:24:04.800
And I was distraught.
link |
00:24:06.880
I was really emotional, like crying
link |
00:24:09.600
or whatever you want to say.
link |
00:24:10.640
You don't want to admit that too many times.
link |
00:24:12.480
But it wasn't because I got beat up or got my nose bloodied
link |
00:24:15.600
or got punched in the face or broke my arm
link |
00:24:19.440
or there was any pain.
link |
00:24:20.400
It was because they stomped on my dream and they doubted me.
link |
00:24:24.000
And so I fought for that.
link |
00:24:26.080
And that was a lesson.
link |
00:24:27.840
There's going to be a lot of doubters.
link |
00:24:29.920
And one thing we talk about as a staff is our staff
link |
00:24:34.320
has to be lockstep in that hallway, in our offices.
link |
00:24:38.800
And when you deviate outside of that, that is heresy.
link |
00:24:43.920
So everybody has to be on board,
link |
00:24:45.840
confident that you're going to be number one in the country.
link |
00:24:48.400
When we go forward and we go put our public foot forward,
link |
00:24:51.280
there is a decision.
link |
00:24:52.080
We are unified and there is no backbiting.
link |
00:24:55.360
And we have great people right now.
link |
00:24:56.960
And we hadn't had that before.
link |
00:24:58.320
We've had detractors in our Hawkeye Wrestling Club.
link |
00:25:01.520
We've had guys that would go out and get rolled up
link |
00:25:03.840
in ankle laces and not be able to walk.
link |
00:25:05.920
We've had guys that would go out and get rolled up in ankle laces
link |
00:25:08.880
and not care in our club.
link |
00:25:11.200
And we got Brandon Sorensen,
link |
00:25:12.560
who got rolled up by James Green last night.
link |
00:25:15.440
But I'll tell you what, I don't have a problem with that.
link |
00:25:18.080
You know why?
link |
00:25:18.720
Because I know it means a lot to him.
link |
00:25:20.400
He didn't roll over.
link |
00:25:22.160
He didn't quit because he was on the consolation side of a bracket.
link |
00:25:25.680
And so when you have that and then you have,
link |
00:25:29.120
if there's a disagreement, it's behind closed doors.
link |
00:25:31.440
And then you're moving forward.
link |
00:25:32.560
And when you have people that when they're meeting your fans
link |
00:25:35.680
and your supporters, you know, they're talking the right way
link |
00:25:38.800
with the right message.
link |
00:25:40.560
And anything that's cattywonk is to that,
link |
00:25:42.880
you got to be careful there.
link |
00:25:44.560
You got to be careful there.
link |
00:25:46.560
So that in terms of affirmation, in terms of really believing
link |
00:25:49.840
as a team, as an individual, believing that you're the best
link |
00:25:52.720
in the world, did you, I'm sure you had detractors.
link |
00:25:57.040
You had people that continued after fifth grade.
link |
00:25:59.600
And that's probably where my hatred of losing trumps
link |
00:26:03.440
my love for winning because I wanted to shove it up
link |
00:26:06.640
their rear end bad.
link |
00:26:08.800
Yeah.
link |
00:26:10.640
And the thing is, is we maintain a high level
link |
00:26:13.760
and there's very few programs.
link |
00:26:15.440
Oklahoma State, Ohio State now, Penn State.
link |
00:26:19.440
I mean, there's four programs that try to win
link |
00:26:21.760
a national title every year.
link |
00:26:23.840
And that's it.
link |
00:26:24.480
And these other teams, they get up and they got a good team
link |
00:26:28.320
and they get up and they get going.
link |
00:26:30.400
And then when things don't go well, okay,
link |
00:26:32.720
we're going to do it next year.
link |
00:26:34.080
Or this is a down year.
link |
00:26:35.440
We're going to get right.
link |
00:26:36.320
We're three years out.
link |
00:26:37.920
So no matter what you're fighting for first.
link |
00:26:39.920
We do.
link |
00:26:40.400
And we haven't won and you say, well, even one in eight years.
link |
00:26:43.040
Well, you're right.
link |
00:26:43.520
We haven't.
link |
00:26:44.640
But look at our results are better than anybody out there.
link |
00:26:47.760
And it's besides Penn State.
link |
00:26:49.520
And it's because of our mentality and because we have great people.
link |
00:26:54.240
Ryan Morningstar, Bobby Telfer, Terry Brands,
link |
00:26:56.560
our medical team, even our strength coach,
link |
00:26:59.680
Quinn Holland, we're all on the same page.
link |
00:27:02.560
And when I send something, I hit it immediately.
link |
00:27:04.880
I don't have time to waste.
link |
00:27:06.560
There will not be dissension in that hallway.
link |
00:27:09.200
Everybody's in together.
link |
00:27:10.640
Yeah.
link |
00:27:11.680
1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
link |
00:27:14.160
Can you take me through the day when you're going for the 62 kg gold?
link |
00:27:19.760
What did you eat?
link |
00:27:21.200
Drink?
link |
00:27:22.000
What did you think?
link |
00:27:23.360
It really doesn't matter.
link |
00:27:24.640
Um, I have a routine that, you know, I had a routine as a competitor
link |
00:27:28.960
that I could run through right now.
link |
00:27:31.200
Um, it was a lot of self talk, very, very positive self talk.
link |
00:27:35.440
Visualization.
link |
00:27:36.320
Yes.
link |
00:27:36.720
Visualization, um, self talk.
link |
00:27:39.440
Um, and, and that's how I was able to relax and getting ready for
link |
00:27:43.520
matches my whole life.
link |
00:27:45.440
Learned that very early age at a camp and a developmental camp
link |
00:27:49.680
at a young age, Terry and I did.
link |
00:27:51.040
And, um, I can tell you what I ate and I can tell you what I did to
link |
00:27:57.600
relax and it doesn't matter.
link |
00:27:59.840
Um, what you have to do is you have to find that piece.
link |
00:28:03.840
And I just know that when I was getting ready for the finals match,
link |
00:28:08.320
I had gone back to my room.
link |
00:28:09.680
I had my relaxed material, you know, and I was able to relax
link |
00:28:15.440
because I prepared for it.
link |
00:28:17.520
Hopefully I'm right on this, but just looking at the insane bracket
link |
00:28:21.680
you had to go through, you had to beat, just to get to the finals,
link |
00:28:24.240
it had to be three world champions, eventually world champ.
link |
00:28:27.120
I mean, Dave, and you know what?
link |
00:28:29.040
I don't talk about that and nobody else does either, but everybody
link |
00:28:31.920
talks about it in their own career.
link |
00:28:34.000
So now you're making my head big, but yeah, I had a road, I had a road.
link |
00:28:39.120
You're right.
link |
00:28:39.680
That is the hardest bracket I've seen.
link |
00:28:41.440
So I've talked to a lot of Olympic champions.
link |
00:28:43.840
That is the hardest bracket I've seen of any champion.
link |
00:28:46.320
So maybe I'm confused on this, but it seemed like a really tough day for you.
link |
00:28:50.880
Did you have, did you know the bracket ahead of time?
link |
00:28:53.920
Did you know who you faced?
link |
00:28:55.280
You see the draw and it's a two day tournament.
link |
00:28:58.960
So psychology comes into it as much as physical shape, you know,
link |
00:29:05.040
because there's those, you got to sleep, you know, the night before
link |
00:29:09.040
after the weigh in, then you got to sleep again that next night
link |
00:29:11.520
after your semi final match is going to be in the morning.
link |
00:29:14.800
You know, and then you have to go back and rest because your final
link |
00:29:16.960
matches in Intel, whatever time it was.
link |
00:29:19.680
And so all this relaxation and all that stuff that you just talked about,
link |
00:29:23.280
that visualization and self talk, that's what helps you.
link |
00:29:25.200
It's your routine.
link |
00:29:27.120
And was there any doubt, any fear, any, anything there?
link |
00:29:31.520
The fear is the type of fear.
link |
00:29:34.720
And I just talked about this to one of my athletes today.
link |
00:29:38.320
Jack Dempsey talked about fear and the fear of losing is what motivates
link |
00:29:43.040
him to try to take his opponent's head off.
link |
00:29:45.200
He was a boxer and that's okay.
link |
00:29:49.360
So fear of competition, fear of screwing up, fear of, oh, I don't feel good.
link |
00:29:54.320
No, no.
link |
00:29:55.520
But that little fear that, you know what, there's somebody out there
link |
00:29:58.720
that thinks that, you know what, they're going to, they're going to revel in my,
link |
00:30:03.600
they're going to, they're going to, they're going to eat it up in my misery.
link |
00:30:07.040
They're going to love, they're going to be thriving because I fail.
link |
00:30:10.240
And I'm not going to let that happen.
link |
00:30:13.360
You're identical twin brother, Terry.
link |
00:30:15.920
You've been at him, like you said, your whole life, and you're both some of the
link |
00:30:21.280
greatest wrestlers of all time.
link |
00:30:23.120
You won the gold medal.
link |
00:30:24.000
He won the bronze medal.
link |
00:30:25.840
You've mentioned, you know, all that really matters is the six minutes or,
link |
00:30:30.400
you know, just a few minutes, sometimes a few seconds to find your whole career.
link |
00:30:33.840
So how do you think about that thin line, the tragic line, and how do you
link |
00:30:38.480
think about that line, the tragic line at the Olympic level between winning and
link |
00:30:42.880
losing?
link |
00:30:43.360
I think you come to peace that in the end, when it's over, that you did the
link |
00:30:47.840
best you could.
link |
00:30:49.280
And that's certainly the case with Terry.
link |
00:30:53.040
He has a career credentials are better than mine internationally.
link |
00:30:57.040
You know, he won two world championships.
link |
00:30:58.560
I won one and he won an Olympic bronze medal.
link |
00:31:01.840
And, you know, I won an Olympic gold medal, but I only won one.
link |
00:31:06.320
The thing is, is that's not what's important anyway.
link |
00:31:09.920
What's important is, is that when it's all over, you know, how do you look
link |
00:31:17.440
back on it?
link |
00:31:18.720
And you're kind of like, well, you just said that you made sure that you
link |
00:31:22.160
weren't going to leave anything undone.
link |
00:31:24.160
But you know what?
link |
00:31:24.880
There were tournaments where I did leave things undone.
link |
00:31:27.840
And so how do you come back from that?
link |
00:31:29.120
Well, Terry never came back from 2000 because he retired.
link |
00:31:32.560
Well, you know what?
link |
00:31:33.680
Duplicate and exceed when you're communicating to these young athletes.
link |
00:31:38.160
And because of that experience, that makes Terry a better coach.
link |
00:31:41.600
Because of, you know, 1995, that makes me a better coach.
link |
00:31:46.560
You know, realizing that there are certain things that unraveled in that
link |
00:31:51.680
year that I could have controlled looking back on it.
link |
00:31:54.960
And when you have that perspective, you can communicate.
link |
00:31:59.280
So what control is there?
link |
00:32:01.520
Can you control everything?
link |
00:32:02.880
How big of a role is luck?
link |
00:32:04.720
Control how you react to an injury, control that.
link |
00:32:09.040
So you can't, you don't have any control over it.
link |
00:32:10.880
It's over, you know, you have whatever and whatever happened, but relax.
link |
00:32:18.080
And you learn to deal with injuries better because of that.
link |
00:32:20.640
You have that experience that you let this thing maybe get the best of you.
link |
00:32:25.520
And that's just an example.
link |
00:32:27.120
And, you know, Terry put a lot of demons to rest with that bronze medal.
link |
00:32:34.640
So becoming an Olympic medalist, a few demons could relax.
link |
00:32:38.400
Well, a little, he will never admit that.
link |
00:32:40.160
And he probably isn't truthful.
link |
00:32:42.080
And I should, I'm speaking for him, but he's truthful when he says that.
link |
00:32:45.760
But if I look at it and bronze sucks, but if I look at it, he did put some
link |
00:32:54.240
demons to rest and I'm proud of him for it.
link |
00:32:56.000
There's something there that is a consolation in the fact that he won the consolation medal.
link |
00:33:04.400
The consolation medal sucks, but there is a consolation that he won the consolation medal.
link |
00:33:08.800
That's a tough medal to win, by the way.
link |
00:33:10.400
Yeah.
link |
00:33:11.920
But do you see the Shakespearean tragedy of it all that the line between winning and losing?
link |
00:33:18.800
So you often say that, you know, winning is everything, but it feels like, especially
link |
00:33:23.280
at the Olympic level, or you talk about NCAA finals or that tournament, you know, a split
link |
00:33:30.160
second miss move can result in a loss where you dominated all the way up to there.
link |
00:33:37.040
That's where your psychology comes in.
link |
00:33:39.200
And that's where the repetition and all of the self talk and visualization
link |
00:33:43.840
and the physical shape and everything comes together.
link |
00:33:47.680
And so that doesn't happen.
link |
00:33:49.360
And tonight, we got beat twice, actually three times, and we out wrestled those.
link |
00:33:55.520
We lost three matches and we out wrestled the guy for six minutes and 30 seconds, or
link |
00:34:01.520
one match went to overtime.
link |
00:34:04.160
And if our guys can move forward with the right perspective, I'm confident that they'll
link |
00:34:09.520
be better.
link |
00:34:11.680
I'll tell you what, I'd take our guy over their guy any day, any day, because our guys
link |
00:34:16.400
get up for every match.
link |
00:34:17.760
And now we got a lot to work on.
link |
00:34:20.880
A lot to work on.
link |
00:34:21.920
But you know what?
link |
00:34:22.880
I can say all that and I'll take our guy and blah, blah, blah.
link |
00:34:26.000
But what are they going to do tonight in their meal?
link |
00:34:28.640
What are they going to do tonight in their rest?
link |
00:34:30.880
What are they going to do tomorrow in their recovery on their own, necessarily?
link |
00:34:35.040
What are they going to do Monday?
link |
00:34:37.040
Great wrestlers can use their imagination with a win that they're not satisfied with
link |
00:34:46.800
and go forward as if it was a loss.
link |
00:34:49.520
But it's still easier to go forward with that win.
link |
00:34:52.160
But they can, they don't just, oh, I won, I'm fine, goes on.
link |
00:34:56.800
But then when they lose the exact same way that they could have lost before, then they
link |
00:35:01.520
go off the deep end.
link |
00:35:02.560
And then that's when they lose.
link |
00:35:03.760
They could have lost before, then they go off the deep end and then that's when they're
link |
00:35:07.280
going to make the change in their life.
link |
00:35:08.960
And we talked about that to our team tonight.
link |
00:35:12.400
And the mature, rare ingredient is, is guys that can get better even with success like
link |
00:35:21.920
it was a loss without beating themselves up.
link |
00:35:24.400
That's complicated.
link |
00:35:25.760
It is.
link |
00:35:26.240
It's a balance.
link |
00:35:26.880
You often talk about Iowa's focus on creating individual champions like Spencer Lee.
link |
00:35:34.320
Can you explain the philosophy of focusing on individuals versus the team?
link |
00:35:39.040
I think that we need to put them both together and the individual impacts the team.
link |
00:35:45.760
And, you know, we haven't done that since 2010 and we need to do a better job of putting
link |
00:35:53.280
10 weight classes out there that contribute to the team.
link |
00:35:57.040
And if it's not 10, then it's nine.
link |
00:35:59.760
And if it's not nine, it can't be four, you know?
link |
00:36:03.520
And that takes a lot of pride and it takes a lot of, you know, where the coach is on
link |
00:36:10.560
top of it.
link |
00:36:12.000
And, you know, you're not just working on the easy things, the glaring things.
link |
00:36:19.520
You're working on everything.
link |
00:36:21.120
What do you mean by everything?
link |
00:36:22.400
So, theā€¦
link |
00:36:24.400
Like there's just some, you know, there's ideas that when you're a coach that aren't
link |
00:36:32.480
there beneath the surface and you got to find them.
link |
00:36:36.480
And that's where communication comes in.
link |
00:36:38.320
Yeah.
link |
00:36:38.800
But you're talking about, yeah, we got to move forward.
link |
00:36:42.480
Well, what does that mean?
link |
00:36:43.680
Well, I know what that means.
link |
00:36:45.040
But how many guys really know what that means in their program?
link |
00:36:52.320
You know, there's so many levels of that.
link |
00:36:55.120
You've said before that winning is everything and that means people lose.
link |
00:37:00.400
Most people lose, you know, there's really in whatever the context is only one winner.
link |
00:37:06.080
In many parts of our world today, outside of wrestling, that concept, the brutal honesty
link |
00:37:10.800
of that is uncomfortable for people.
link |
00:37:12.800
So, how do you think about this very philosophical, difficult concept of, you know, there only
link |
00:37:23.120
being one winner, that winning is everything, this kind of really painful idea?
link |
00:37:27.920
I don't think that that's a bad thing to have that mentality.
link |
00:37:31.920
I mean, I think Akutukov, I remember a story I read about him.
link |
00:37:36.240
He comes to mind.
link |
00:37:37.200
You know, Sargush, I remember when he lost in London and I remember the look on his face.
link |
00:37:45.120
And those are some of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the sport, freestyle wrestling.
link |
00:37:49.360
And, you know what?
link |
00:37:52.080
It's what works for you.
link |
00:37:54.160
You can talk about being at peace with your results and that the approach is and the journey
link |
00:38:00.240
is what it's about.
link |
00:38:01.200
But, and that's great and that relaxes some champions and that makes some champions really,
link |
00:38:07.200
really tick, but not everybody.
link |
00:38:11.520
So, it's okay, it's okay.
link |
00:38:14.400
And if that wigs you out and that really makes you uptight, then go the other route.
link |
00:38:20.240
You have to find what works for you.
link |
00:38:22.160
And that takes a lot of work.
link |
00:38:23.120
If you're lazy, forget it, forget it.
link |
00:38:26.960
So, you and Terry, but in general, how do you find the line between extremely physical,
link |
00:38:33.360
extreme physical wrestling and rough wrestling or angry wrestling?
link |
00:38:37.040
So, to which degree has anger, whether it's in your wrestling room these days or in your
link |
00:38:41.040
own career, entered wrestling?
link |
00:38:43.280
Do you see it as a tool that can be used in the wrestling match?
link |
00:38:47.440
I think there's a balance or not even a balance.
link |
00:38:50.400
There's a lot of balance in the wrestling world.
link |
00:38:52.880
I think there's a balance or not even a balance, there's a line that you go up to and you can't
link |
00:38:58.880
cross it.
link |
00:38:59.760
Sportsmanship is everything.
link |
00:39:01.040
You can get dinged for points.
link |
00:39:02.640
You can get thrown out of tournaments.
link |
00:39:05.520
There's rules with flagrant misconduct where you're kicked out of the match, other team
link |
00:39:12.080
gets the points and then you have to sit the next meet.
link |
00:39:15.840
So, it's very serious.
link |
00:39:17.200
The NCAA sends a message, a very serious message about sportsmanship.
link |
00:39:22.720
Yeah.
link |
00:39:23.120
And so, we talk about that.
link |
00:39:24.640
The other thing with wrestling is there's rules in wrestling.
link |
00:39:27.760
These guys that are tough guys outside of the rules, that's what you want in your opponent.
link |
00:39:34.240
That means they're frustrated.
link |
00:39:38.480
You got to be a tough guy inside the rules of the sport.
link |
00:39:43.680
That's more honorable than cold cocking somebody and knocking them out.
link |
00:39:47.760
So, yeah, anger doesn't mean breaking the rules.
link |
00:39:49.840
But I mean, you know, a lot of people know you just watching you as a coach.
link |
00:39:54.640
There's quite a bit of passion there.
link |
00:39:56.160
Well, come and do what you're doing tonight.
link |
00:39:58.000
I mean, break bread with me in my kitchen and see how big of a jackass I am.
link |
00:40:01.920
Now, you're a pretty nice guy.
link |
00:40:03.040
Well, I'm not asking for that necessarily, but thanks.
link |
00:40:05.600
I'm saying, you know what, as a coach, I mean, okay, come spend a month in our program and
link |
00:40:12.080
you'll see really what kind of people we are.
link |
00:40:15.600
And there's a stigma out there because they are very threatened by our program.
link |
00:40:20.000
There's nobody else that threatens the sport of wrestling like we do.
link |
00:40:25.520
And that's the truth.
link |
00:40:26.960
There's a legend to Iowa wrestling.
link |
00:40:29.360
There's one of the most intimidating.
link |
00:40:31.920
There's a legend to John Smith.
link |
00:40:34.240
It's the same thing.
link |
00:40:35.840
They get up for John Smith.
link |
00:40:37.680
They get up for Oklahoma State.
link |
00:40:39.920
They get up for Penn State.
link |
00:40:42.880
My question is, okay, I'll answer it.
link |
00:40:44.800
I'll answer it this way.
link |
00:40:45.680
I'll give you an example in my coaching career.
link |
00:40:48.160
I coached at Virginia Tech for 22 months.
link |
00:40:52.240
We recruited the number one recruiting class.
link |
00:40:54.960
We got the administration to change 100% 180 how they looked at wrestling.
link |
00:41:00.800
Here's the thing.
link |
00:41:01.600
And because of how serious we were and because we weren't idiots,
link |
00:41:06.960
we were able to do that with our administration.
link |
00:41:09.120
But my point is this, we tried to win.
link |
00:41:12.480
We tried to win, even at Virginia Tech.
link |
00:41:14.080
It wasn't a stepping stone for me.
link |
00:41:15.520
It ended up being one quickly and looking back on it.
link |
00:41:18.880
I was a fool to think that I'd be there for 20 years.
link |
00:41:21.680
But you believed you would be.
link |
00:41:23.120
I did.
link |
00:41:23.600
Yeah, I did.
link |
00:41:25.600
I did.
link |
00:41:26.640
So do you remember a time that you really pushed yourself to your limits?
link |
00:41:32.320
So Gable talks about having to be carried off the mat.
link |
00:41:35.760
Have you really found that level?
link |
00:41:37.600
I said something about that too in a book and I think I was mistaken.
link |
00:41:41.280
A book and I think I was misquoted one time.
link |
00:41:44.400
And actually it was Gable's quote.
link |
00:41:45.920
And I was trying to make the point that Gable's quote was like this.
link |
00:41:50.560
And they were making it like it was my own words.
link |
00:41:53.440
I think it was a first wrestling tough book, but it's a good book.
link |
00:41:58.720
But the story is Gable's.
link |
00:42:00.960
And I don't know if there's anybody that has done that besides him.
link |
00:42:06.560
And I think that's a very rare quality.
link |
00:42:08.960
But I've definitely been in that nirvana level of, you know, you could go all day long.
link |
00:42:17.920
And it doesn't, you have to shoot me to stop me.
link |
00:42:20.720
Yeah.
link |
00:42:21.680
But there's a balance because you're not going hard with and holding your breath.
link |
00:42:25.760
It's not a, it's a relaxed and like you got a guy cornered and who's most dangerous?
link |
00:42:34.880
Well, the guy that's cornered.
link |
00:42:36.400
And so that's where you relax, I'm not bum rushing him.
link |
00:42:40.000
I'm relaxed.
link |
00:42:40.960
I'm still moving, fake and very fluid.
link |
00:42:43.120
Guy falls down his face.
link |
00:42:44.080
I run around behind him.
link |
00:42:45.680
That's offense.
link |
00:42:47.680
You don't have to just grunt to the leg and call that offense.
link |
00:42:52.320
Offense is a in and out, smooth.
link |
00:42:56.080
Now you sound like a Russian wrestler.
link |
00:42:58.640
Yeah.
link |
00:42:59.140
Well, that's, they're the best in a certain light, looking at the history of wrestling.
link |
00:43:04.240
Wrestling is much bigger than folk style, freestyle, Greco.
link |
00:43:07.840
It's, it's one of the oldest forms of combat period.
link |
00:43:11.360
There's been cave drawings 15,000 years ago.
link |
00:43:14.560
Do you ever see, so you're, you're, uh, one of the great coaches of all time.
link |
00:43:19.600
You're now focused on a particular rule style right now, but do you ever see wrestling
link |
00:43:23.760
as bigger than all of the, this, you know, as, as, uh, one of the pure combats?
link |
00:43:29.840
I do, and we're raising $20 million for a facility to make it the best facility on the planet.
link |
00:43:34.960
We have a vision to build the best facility on planet earth and put the best wrestlers in it.
link |
00:43:41.520
And that is bigger than wrestling.
link |
00:43:45.040
It's for the university of Iowa and our donors are doing it for the university of Iowa, but it is
link |
00:43:52.000
about the value of wrestling to me.
link |
00:43:55.600
Also, there is so much value to wrestling blind, blind people don't play football.
link |
00:44:01.600
They wrestle blind people, don't play basketball.
link |
00:44:04.240
I mean, maybe they do, but it'd be very difficult.
link |
00:44:08.080
They can wrestle.
link |
00:44:09.920
Wrestling is a field sport.
link |
00:44:12.800
Yeah.
link |
00:44:12.800
There's no ball.
link |
00:44:13.600
There's nothing.
link |
00:44:14.080
It's just two guys or two girls and that's it.
link |
00:44:16.720
That's right.
link |
00:44:17.360
And, and you, I mean, I'm not going to say you can't because somebody will get a hold of this
link |
00:44:21.920
and I'll get an email or a letter that says, you said blind people can't play baseball and blah, blah.
link |
00:44:27.520
I'm just saying that blind people can wrestle very effectively.
link |
00:44:31.040
Yes.
link |
00:44:31.520
I've wrestled with, with my eyes shut.
link |
00:44:33.280
I mean, was honest about it too.
link |
00:44:35.920
And it was, I was effective.
link |
00:44:38.240
So why, why was I able to be effective?
link |
00:44:40.080
Because wrestling is a, is a, is a sport that you, you can overcome a lot, your demons that
link |
00:44:47.280
you're overcoming, they're not limited with whether I'm blind or not.
link |
00:44:54.400
The demons that are overcoming are inside you.
link |
00:44:56.400
You have to overcome those demons from within.
link |
00:44:59.600
So what's the future of Iowa wrestling look like with this facility and this momentum you have now
link |
00:45:04.800
and this great group of guys you have now?
link |
00:45:06.560
We have a good young group of guys and, um, you know, there is a lot of buzz in the program.
link |
00:45:14.560
And probably hasn't been this much buzz for quite some time.
link |
00:45:18.560
And our job is to, you know, be relaxed and be focused and not get caught up in the buzz.
link |
00:45:27.680
Um, but we have to put it together and we have a catalyst Spencer Lee, but he's going to have to,
link |
00:45:32.240
he's going to have to get better.
link |
00:45:34.400
And we have some other catalysts as well that are, um, you know, going to help us in the future.
link |
00:45:39.680
Um, but they got to get better.
link |
00:45:44.480
And so all this stuff about independence and accountability and, you know, being able to
link |
00:45:51.520
get better every day under duress and not knowing that you're getting better, but you are, you know,
link |
00:45:59.200
you know what that, you know what I mean by that?
link |
00:46:01.280
Like the great thing about Gabo was wrestling for him was, is you were getting better and
link |
00:46:05.920
you didn't know you were getting better.
link |
00:46:07.280
Well, yeah, just like you said, uh, grow from success.
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00:46:10.800
So even you, you never allow yourself to think that you're, that you're, you're getting good.
link |
00:46:16.400
All of a sudden you do something in the practice room that you've been working on and all of a
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00:46:20.000
sudden you hit it and it's like, it was automatic.
link |
00:46:22.240
And then that, you know, yeah, that multiplies success.
link |
00:46:26.640
And so if I may say, so you're a bit of a man of the Bible.
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00:46:31.840
What's, where do you go, what do you go to the Bible for your faith, strength, love, patience?
link |
00:46:39.760
I talked about things that you can't control.
link |
00:46:41.920
You turn them over.
link |
00:46:43.520
So the biggest thing for me is I got to turn over the things that I can't control, turn them over
link |
00:46:49.280
to that power and I'm going to be a lot better off.
link |
00:46:52.080
And that's the reason why I'm not in the funny farm because very competitive to me.
link |
00:46:57.760
Yeah.
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00:46:58.240
It's very serious that we, we know that these young wrestlers come to school here to be the
link |
00:47:05.760
best that they can be and to accomplish goals that like me, when I was young, they've set out
link |
00:47:11.280
to accomplish and they chose Iowa to do that.
link |
00:47:14.480
So we have to deliver.
link |
00:47:16.560
And because of that, um, peace with God, you know, it's peer, it's a peer motivation.
link |
00:47:26.320
It's a peer motivation and it's a peer platform.
link |
00:47:31.360
It's not, it's not doing this for my ego.
link |
00:47:36.080
We're not corrupt people.
link |
00:47:37.920
We're not liars and cheaters.
link |
00:47:40.320
And so often that gets in the way of a decent person.
link |
00:47:46.320
Yeah.
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00:47:46.560
First and foremost, you're a good person and God helps you be that.
link |
00:47:50.880
Yeah.
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00:47:51.040
And we're serious about wrestling.
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00:47:52.320
Right.
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00:47:55.920
So a couple more questions.
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00:47:58.480
What's the role of family in wrestling?
link |
00:48:01.280
You mentioned your wife, who I read, uh, turned you down when you asked her for a phone number,
link |
00:48:08.960
said it's in the phone book.
link |
00:48:10.400
That's pretty smooth.
link |
00:48:11.680
Her story of that is that she didn't want me to have to remember the number.
link |
00:48:16.720
And I say at this point, and I say, there's no way.
link |
00:48:21.280
And I remember it very clearly like, Hey, it's in the phone book.
link |
00:48:24.320
And I was like, okay, she's blowing me off.
link |
00:48:25.840
That's okay.
link |
00:48:28.240
But luckily here's the thing with family.
link |
00:48:30.960
I mean, we, we have great people in our program.
link |
00:48:33.440
We have great parents.
link |
00:48:34.720
We have a culture of parents that that's part of the buzz.
link |
00:48:39.760
And this class that you see wrestling right now, that's been here a year now,
link |
00:48:43.440
um, Lee, Mirren, Costello, Warner, and then Lugo was a transfer and I'm forgetting somebody.
link |
00:48:49.040
I don't want to forget anybody, but, um, these parents are phenomenal.
link |
00:48:53.360
And that's a different parental culture.
link |
00:48:56.560
Um, so the Kemmerer's dad is the same and, and, um, so there's a lot of good there.
link |
00:49:02.560
And that, that's a big, that's a big, a big move because how we talk to parents, we don't
link |
00:49:07.840
talk to parents to get along with them.
link |
00:49:10.160
We talk to parents to help them understand, you know, where we're at with their sons.
link |
00:49:15.680
And when you can have a direct conversation with a parent who helping his son or her son,
link |
00:49:21.200
the mom helping her son to be accountable and to own it, then you can get a lot accomplished.
link |
00:49:28.160
And that's what we've been able to do.
link |
00:49:29.680
And so you're solving problems.
link |
00:49:31.120
Like I talked about earlier, um, that's part of the family.
link |
00:49:34.560
The other part of the family is the coaches, um, are like family.
link |
00:49:38.960
The other part of the family is the coaches, uh, significant others and wives are part
link |
00:49:44.480
of the family.
link |
00:49:45.520
And we fed, you know, we fed 40 guys and an entire coaching staff and wives and their
link |
00:49:52.720
children here at Thanksgiving, and that equals 70 people.
link |
00:49:57.520
And it's, it's fun.
link |
00:50:00.240
It's fun.
link |
00:50:01.360
So family means administration.
link |
00:50:04.320
Gary Varda, my, my athletic director gives us everything that we need to be successful.
link |
00:50:09.600
And he has an open mind for, for the sport of wrestling and wrestling is important in
link |
00:50:14.240
Iowa.
link |
00:50:14.720
So that's a no brainer, but not if you're not a wrestling guy, but he sees we do it
link |
00:50:20.000
the right way.
link |
00:50:20.720
And so the commitment is there from him.
link |
00:50:23.200
If we were doofuses, you know, he, the commitment wouldn't be there.
link |
00:50:28.320
So family is, everybody's all in, I mean, it's from the wrestlers to the family.
link |
00:50:32.320
It goes back to what I said earlier about our people.
link |
00:50:35.200
Our people are great.
link |
00:50:36.080
Ryan Morty Star is great.
link |
00:50:37.680
Bobby Telford is great.
link |
00:50:39.760
Bobby Telford took over for a guy named Ben Burhow, who is great.
link |
00:50:44.320
Our medical team is great.
link |
00:50:45.840
Dr. Westerman, Dr. Wolf, Jesse Donaworth, our athletic trainer is great.
link |
00:50:53.360
Terry Brands is great.
link |
00:50:55.200
Mariah Stickley and, and Elise Owens, our managers are great.
link |
00:50:59.040
My daughter's a manager as well.
link |
00:51:00.240
It's great.
link |
00:51:00.800
They're, they're hardworking young women.
link |
00:51:03.120
Our rest, our Hawkeye Wrestling Club is, is where it needs to be in terms of how they
link |
00:51:09.120
help in their role.
link |
00:51:11.360
And now we have four women in there and that's great.
link |
00:51:16.240
And, you know, at least one of their dads is super involved with us.
link |
00:51:20.480
But, and so it's, one thing that I've learned is that you have to have that.
link |
00:51:26.880
And if you don't have that, then you have to address it quickly.
link |
00:51:31.440
And those outliers, you know, let's solve that problem.
link |
00:51:34.240
Let's get it out in the open here.
link |
00:51:36.320
And if they're, you know, if it doesn't work out, it's not going to work out.
link |
00:51:39.840
That's a heck of a Thanksgiving dinner.
link |
00:51:42.400
Yeah.
link |
00:51:42.720
Next year.
link |
00:51:43.200
Well, I don't know if it'd be legal, but I'd have to check with our compliance and, you
link |
00:51:48.000
know, they'd have to vet you.
link |
00:51:49.840
You could come, you can come and see what it's all about.
link |
00:51:52.640
This room is full.
link |
00:51:54.000
Oh man.
link |
00:51:57.280
Well, yeah, I'll be back next year then.
link |
00:51:58.960
All right.
link |
00:51:59.440
Awesome.
link |
00:52:00.400
Last question.
link |
00:52:01.200
In 2014, I watched this video four years ago of you competing in, I believe, your first
link |
00:52:10.320
swim meet against your brother, Terry.
link |
00:52:14.880
And you came out victorious.
link |
00:52:17.200
Not really.
link |
00:52:18.880
Okay.
link |
00:52:19.200
So let's, did you cheat?
link |
00:52:21.360
Here's what happened.
link |
00:52:22.400
I had researched this thing because I'm, that's how I am.
link |
00:52:26.640
You practiced.
link |
00:52:27.600
No, I didn't.
link |
00:52:28.320
But I researched it.
link |
00:52:29.120
In swimming, if you flinch on that starter block, it's a false start.
link |
00:52:34.160
You can't twitch a finger and because they would be doing that to get their buddy to
link |
00:52:38.800
move or the guy next to him, you know?
link |
00:52:40.560
So you have to be rock solid.
link |
00:52:43.280
Well, when we went, Terry was leaning forward as the gun was going off.
link |
00:52:47.280
So he's moving.
link |
00:52:48.240
And so I was like, no, no, no, false start, no, no, no, no.
link |
00:52:51.360
And he couldn't hear me.
link |
00:52:52.080
It was already in the water.
link |
00:52:53.280
And so he took off like a bat out of you know where for the end of the pool and couldn't
link |
00:52:57.920
hear me and got to the end of the pool and it was a down and back.
link |
00:53:01.360
Well, that's a hard thing to do with a guy with no body fat.
link |
00:53:05.280
And so he burned a lot of energy and he come up on that end of the pool and he was like,
link |
00:53:09.360
where's, where's he at?
link |
00:53:10.160
Cause he didn't see me.
link |
00:53:11.760
And so we stopped him and then he came back and then we went another one and I beat him.
link |
00:53:15.600
Um, but it's the only time that, you know, I would say that he was tuckered out.
link |
00:53:21.040
And that's the reason why.
link |
00:53:22.720
And, um, I'll also say this, we did a time where we timed my race, the one I won, and
link |
00:53:31.920
then we timed his first down to the wall.
link |
00:53:35.200
And then we timed his, the actual race where once he hit the wall, we timed him on the
link |
00:53:39.440
way back and he'd beat me.
link |
00:53:42.080
That's the only time.
link |
00:53:42.880
The way back and he'd beat me now.
link |
00:53:45.600
How's that for being a, that's pretty honest.
link |
00:53:48.320
That's pretty honest.
link |
00:53:49.520
Accountable.
link |
00:53:50.480
Wow.
link |
00:53:51.200
Person.
link |
00:53:52.320
And I'm going to tell you something else.
link |
00:53:53.440
Getting in those shorts, those swim trunks.
link |
00:53:55.680
That's impressive.
link |
00:53:56.400
They are tight.
link |
00:53:57.520
Yeah.
link |
00:53:58.400
So is there, outside of wrestling, is there a thing that Terry got the better of you?
link |
00:54:05.120
I mean, I guess this could count as one, uh, that you're still really bitter about that
link |
00:54:10.320
you need to avenge.
link |
00:54:11.280
I mean, that's past.
link |
00:54:12.400
I mean, we, he's got an UNO title.
link |
00:54:14.480
We have UNO world championships.
link |
00:54:16.800
He's got an UNO title.
link |
00:54:17.920
I have, I have yet to have one.
link |
00:54:19.600
Morningstar has two titles.
link |
00:54:21.360
That's unprecedented.
link |
00:54:23.680
So there's only four trophies out there and Terry's got one of those and I don't have
link |
00:54:26.960
one yet.
link |
00:54:27.440
Yeah.
link |
00:54:27.920
Well, it's still time.
link |
00:54:29.520
Tom, thank you so much for letting a Russian with a tie into your home.
link |
00:54:34.160
Thanks for listening to this conversation with Tom Brands.
link |
00:54:36.640
To support this podcast, please check out our sponsors in the description.
link |
00:54:40.400
And now let me leave you with some words from Marcus Aurelius.
link |
00:54:45.280
The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.
link |
00:54:49.360
Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.