Developing Life-Skills for Athletes (0:00)

Cary Kolat and Matt Dernlan discuss Chapter 6 “How to Shrink the Change”, of the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath. Kolat has been extremely busy for a good reason. Campbell Wrestling is wrapping up their regular season and competed in 3 duals in 7 days. Kolat also had a fundraising day for Campbell Wrestling. He used a lot of principals from Switch to lead his team and get everyone fired up. Kolat talks about the best coaches approach by helping their team not only develop wrestling skill but life skills as well. 

The Magic of Momentum (3:43)

Dernlan breaks down the meaning of shrink the change. It’s more motivating to be partially finished with a longer task than to be at the starting line of a shorter one. Starting the momentum is the hard part. During Kolat’s recent fundraising he noticed this as well. The initial part was in small increments. Once donations started coming in and everyone started to compete the latter part of the fundraiser was easier. Raising money for a program is not the fun part of being a coach but it is a necessity. Dernlan discusses how this can be a hurdle for young coaches with aspirations to be a head coach. Define your worth inside and outside of the wrestling room. It can be easier to start when you realize all you’re doing is expressing the things that you love about the program you’re involved in. 

Adjust the Clock (14:00)

Achieving long term goals comes in increments. Kolat talks about the journey he’s been on with Campbell. You can’t expect to win nationals or states overnight. Every year you get better. You celebrate your victories and move on. Dernlan touches on this point by bringing up a common phrase, “Raising the bar.” It is really difficult to take those initial steps so what you actually want to do is lower the bar to goals that are attainable in the short term. This can be hard to fully understand. Kolat explains this concept more by using an example of a free car wash. An experiment was done where customers at a car wash were given a ticket for after 8 washes you get one free. Another group was given a card that said after 10 you get one free but, the attendant punched 2 holes. The second group fulfilled their ticket 30% more than the first group because they were already 20% done with their goal. Kolat used this as a coach by showing a wrestler all he’s already done and what is left to achieve his goal. It’s easier when you realize you’re not starting from square one.

Segmenting Outcomes (21:00)

Dernlan talks about how beneficial it is to break down your seemingly unachievable goal into achievable segments. If you lay out attainable goals throughout the season it gives you more perspective on where the focus should be. You want to keep focused on what’s happening in the moment and not get focus solely on the end goal. When you focus on the things that will make someone better in all aspects of their lives, the other pieces fall into place. When Dernlan was coaching he would tell his guys “I want to be the toughest team in the country.” That doesn’t mean being bullies or that he expects them to win every single match. It means being disciplined in areas such as weight control, rest, community interaction, and preparation.

Getting the Most Out Of Practice Time (35:44)

Kolat receives questions from coaches asking about how long to run practices. It greatly depends on the type of guys on the team. In general, he says to start at an hour and then build up to 2 hours midseason before tapering back off to an hour before the end of the season. In this chapter of Switch, it explains that your short term goals require two traits. They need to be meaningful and within reach. So when you think about an hour or two-hour practice and you break it up into sections it becomes much more achievable.

Shrink Change (38:59)

This is Kolat’s favorite chapter in terms of ways to get kids to work harder, people to follow you, ways to distract people from falling off the path. Remind people what’s already been conquered because daunting tasks are instinctual to avoid. Progress snowballs and gets easier with time. Shrink the change to build and secure hope.

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