This video on why Russians are better wrestlers than Americans I found quite profound. In general Russians are known as being tough–think Siberia, the battle of Stalingrad–but in wrestling it’s the Americans who are tougher, they work harder and are better conditioned. Yet Russians generally dominate American wrestlers.
Ken Primola argues that the Russians are better because they are more cerebral, they are more into technique. As I’m a coach for little kids, I see a lot of the high school and college kids, and know that in America they are basically taught that the primary attribute of a great wrestler is hard work. There’s a 90% chance that for any great high school wrestler after a big loss he will say ‘I have to work harder’, not realising it’s a cliche because he believes it’s the essence of being the best. Clearly, to be really good you have to work hard. But after a certain point, everyone has put in 10,000 hours, and so simply working harder has very little marginal benefit.
I agree that any excellence involves a good amount of disciplined effort, yet that only gets one so far. To be really really good, you need a better strategy, and that takes better higher-order priorities. Avoid the temptation to work so hard that there is no time left for serious thinking, in wrestling or anything else.
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