Wrestling With Purpose

by Ryan Krzykowski

My knowledge of wrestling is minimal.  Long ago, I went to watch my younger brother in a couple of his high school matches, and those didn’t usually go very well.  Even longer ago, I used to watch the WWF Superstars of Wrestling show every Saturday morning, and when I was about 11 or 12 I was a pretty big fan of Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.  That guy was a ton of fun.

So a few weeks ago when a friend asked me to fill in at some upcoming middle school wrestling club practices, I knew I wasn’t qualified.  The good news was they didn’t need me to be.  The club was organized by the high school coaches, except they would still be busy with football practice for the first few days.  So they had lined up some of their top high school wrestlers to provide the instruction and run the practices.  They simply needed me to be present in a supervisory role.  I knew I could handle that.  Just don’t expect me to coach any wrestling moves.

This friend of mine, who doubles as a football assistant and head wrestling coach, developed his Coaching Purpose Statement a few years ago: 

I coach to foster a culture of love and service, training players to compete with a fiery passion, change the world for the better, and boldly take risks in their sport and in life.

We talk often about how there’s typically no way to know  how effective our purpose statements are in the moment — evaluating our success as coaches will take many years, even decades.  At the same time, as I watch Tyler’s high school wrestlers running practices with middle school kids, there’s little doubt that great things are happening in that program.  

These older wrestlers are absolutely crushing it as they work with novice middle schoolers.  In my experience, anyone who can keep middle school students organized and doing what they’re supposed to be doing deserves a whole lot of credit, and these older “kids” are doing that and much more.  The practices are crisp, well-structured and full of energy.  The middle schoolers are attentive and enthusiastic the entire time.  When practice ends, they gladly help roll up mats and talk about how they can’t wait to come back tomorrow.  

A culture of love and service?  Absolutely

Training to compete with a fiery passion? Check

Boldly taking risks?  Are you kidding?, they’re coaching middle schoolers

Change the world for the better?  Hard to say at this point, but there’s no doubt they’re providing value and doing good for others.  How could that not change the world for the better, at least in some small way?

Watching these high school athletes coach their younger peers has been nothing short of an inspiration, and I’m so grateful I got to be here this week to see it.

Let’s Coach With Purpose…