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Coaches Ambitions to Reach Gold

By ISWA, 05/23/24, 4:00PM EDT


The ISWA and ISWA State Coach Danny Struck strive to educate and encourage coaches to continue coaches education.  USAW offers many of those resources online.  The ISWA partners with the Indiana High School Coaches Association in many facets of Indiana wrestling.  This article captures one of Indiana's coaches in central Indiana, Jonah Odum.  Jonah is not only on the coaching staff at Roncalli High School but he is also a club coach for Roncalli Wrestling  Foundation in Indianapolis,   Jonah is also Indiana's Equipment Director.  He is involved in not only the grassroots of the sport but also at the national level.  He has also been the team leader for Kids Freestyle/Greco Nationals.   This Team Indiana trip in July prepares youth for the big stage event of 16U and Jr wrestlers competing at the Fargo Dome.  Despite his daytime career,  being a husband, father of two wrestlers and coaching,   Jonah is pursing his Gold Level coaches certification.  This is a timely process with lots of dedicated checklist hours.  One of the checklist items is to  write an article. 

Jonah's article was selected for the national wrestling magazine "The Mat". Mike Clayton, Manager of USA Wrestling’s National Coaches Education Program thought it was a good article and he shared it on "Band", which is an app where USA Wrestling coaches can share knowledge, discuss challenges, and talk about success they are having. Mike Clayton also uses "Band" to communicate new resources, mentor new coaches, and post videos of technique. You can find this app on your devices app store.

Congratulations Jonah on your article being selected and best of luck in your goal to reach gold level coaching certification.  

Hire the Best… Hire a Wrestler Written by Jonah M. Odum- USA Wrestling# 84190201

The world is full of different kinds of people and so is the workplace. While you may get to choose who you associate with in the world, you may not have that same opportunity in the workplace. You could be forced to work with someone who lacks discipline, is not a team player, or would rather take all the glory while you do all the work. Conversely, you may work with someone who is the complete opposite where they are highly regimented, selfless, and willing to forego accolades in place of getting the job done right. If you are the hiring manager, you need to get it right. Hiring the right person will have a lasting impact on the effectiveness of your team and organization. It could also be the game changing strategy you have been looking for. So, if you are looking to take your organization to the next level and differentiate yourself from everyone else, hire a wrestler.

Let’s face it, there are more non-wrestlers than there are wrestlers so when I have told folks this before, the typical reaction goes something like this… Hire a wrestler? You mean those people who wear those things (singlets) and roll around on the ground? Why would I hire them? And another thing, what in the heck happened to their ears?

My normal response is… Yes… those people and I would love to talk through it. I typically start off by asking what they look for in a “good employee” and from there use that as a springboard to demonstrate why wrestlers make the best employees. For the purposes of this discussion and level setting, I think has done a great job at summarizing what a “good employee” looks like, and the 10 qualities they have identified are: dedication, confidence, reliability, teamwork, independence, leadership, interpersonal/communication skills, self-awareness, critical thinking, and integrity.

As I get deeper into the conversation and start to drill home that wrestlers demonstrate these qualities, I start to get pushback and I get pushback because folks will say, “look, every sport has its benefits, and you can learn the same qualities from other sports.” This is true and I can’t deny it. I was a three-sport athlete in high school and wrestled in college, so I will be the first to tell you that yes, you can absolutely learn these qualities in other sports BUT what I will also tell you when you learn these qualities in wrestling there is a difference.

Wrestling is different because it puts wrestlers in a position to “master” these qualities prior to getting to the workplace while other sports just “expose” you to it. Competition, both individual and as a team, provides the opportunity to consistently test your skills and abilities, determine what needs improvement, allow for quick adjustments, and test again in competition. It is continuous improvement and rapid cycles of change at its finest. It challenges you so much mentally and physically it rocks you to your core. There are times where you doubt yourself, doubt the process, doubt your team, doubt your faith, but you are brought back by the trust you have in your coaches, your teammates, and your support system. As a result, you have gained invaluable experience with not only dealing with the challenges of wrestling, but the challenges of the workplace and the challenges of life.

Relating this back to the workplace, wrestlers are prepared to take on the challenges their boss or job throws at them because the have been preparing for it since they started wrestling. For example, you just got handed a big project from your boss with an unrealistic timeline where failure is not an option, and you must deliver. The average person will struggle in this situation, stress out, and more than likely fail. A wrestler will embrace the grind because they have been there before… just in different terms. They have had make scratch weight unexpectedly after being added to the roster before a big tournament after having some time off and deliver what is best for the team (a pin to win or a loss by decision). They have the mental toughness and emotional control to allow themselves to push through adversity and turn obstacles into opportunities. Another example, your boss now needs someone to lead a large project. The project itself will be a lot of work, but then there is managing the personalities and egos that come with the team. Again, no problem… a wrestler embraces the challenge, isn’t bothered by the personalities or egos, leads by example, and will bring people together based on a foundation of trust. The team will in turn rally around each other and deliver results. Lastly, let’s say your boss promotes someone over you and they didn’t deserve it. While the outcome is not what was planned, humility has been ingrained into wrestlers because they learned how to respond to a loss and turn it into a learning situation. In some cases, the loss may have been a result of a bad call, but regardless, the wrestler had to accept it, learn from it, and use it as motivation to get better.

Like I said previously, the world and workplace are full of different people. Finding the right person who can add immediate value is getting more challenging every day and it is critical to organizational success. The next time you are hiring, and a wrestler’s resume comes across your desk, give it due consideration. Wrestlers are battle tested and have been put in positions to not just be exposed, but to master the skills necessary to be “good employees”. Once hired, you will understand why Dan Gable said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything in life is easy.”

Bibliography 10 Qualities of a Good Employee (With Examples) | retrieved 5/01/2024