Lessons that I learned from my Greco coach, and how they 10x’d my results.
On this episode Russell talks about his wrestling career and some of the things he learned when he started practicing for the Olympics with a new coach.
Here are some of the things you will hear in today’s episode:
A brief history of Russell’s wrestling career and some of the experiences he had. Why he questioned his Olympic wrestling coach until he saw the brilliance of what he was teaching. And why it is important to use what he learned in other aspects of his life.
So listen below to hear what Russell’s Olympic Wrestling Coach taught him.
Hey, everyone. This is Russell Brunson, and I want to welcome you to a very late night “Marketing in Your Car.”
Hey, everyone. It is eleven o’clock at night. I just got done with a two-hour wrestling match, and it was awesome. One of my buddies who’s been my jiu jitsu coach for the last few years or so – I wanted start to do some hard wrestling, and he was trying to learn some wrestling, so we’ve been going a few nights a week at night and beating the trash out of each other. We just got done with that, and I had so much fun. It was awesome. Despite the fact that I’m old and I’m out of shape, I could still do all right in wrestling, which makes me happy.
I’ve got a little drive home right now, and I want to talk about some stuff. I have no idea if this is going to relate to you or your business at all, but I think it’s really interesting, and I think that there are things that you can grasp from it, whether it be in your business or in your personal life. I’m going to be honest. I don’t know how these directly relate to you specifically, but it’s a principle that I learned in a really interesting way, and I’m going to share that with you, and hopefully you’ll get some value out of it. I think that if you think about it, and try to figure out how to apply it to your circumstances, you’ll find value, but it’s not going to be surface-level. It’s not going to be like, “Oh, yeah. This is how this works,” and so if you listen to this podcast, and you don’t get it [laughs], listen to it again, and then just think about it, and think about a couple of different aspects of your life. Think about your personal life, your business, your relationships, because I think that this is applicable on a lot of different levels besides the one I’m going to share with you right now. There’s my preview for this podcast.
The backstory is – a lot of you guys know my wrestling background. I wrestled in high school. I was a state champ. I had a chance to go the High School National Tournament, and I took second there. I became an All-American, lost in the High School National finals by two points. It was a really close match, but it was amazing. Out of all of the things in my life that I identify myself as, I still to this day, if you were to ask me, “Who are you, Russell?” I still consider myself a wrestler.
That was, more than business, more than anything else, that was the thing that defined me and made me who I am. I just love wrestling, and so I got done with high school, I got a scholarship offers at a couple of places. I wrestled a year at BYU, and then they cut the wrestling program, so I transferred up to Boise State. I wrestled my last four years there, and I just had a great experience. I can’t tell you how many happy moments and the stuff that came from that, but again, the defining thing in my life is definitely that.
I’m sure that all of you guys have in your life something that – I look at my life before wrestling, and I’d come home from school and I’d watch cartoons [laughs] until dinner, and then I’d eat dinner, then I’d go to bed. It was the first thing I had where I had a dream, and I had a goal, and I put everything – my blood, sweat, and tears into it and chased that dream and achieved some big goals, and also didn’t achieve some goals, and I learned how to win, and I learned how to lose. It was just – to this day, the greatest thing I’ve ever had a chance to experience – that was my wrestling.
Then when I got done with college, I took a couple of years off, and ate a lot of food. My wife got pregnant with twins, and I gained a lot of weight because of this whole thing, and fast forward about four or five years later, I just really missed wrestling. My business was cranking. We were making money, and I did a podcast about this earlier, so I’m not going to tell the whole story again, but I decided I wanted to train for the Olympics. We built an Olympic training center out here in Boise. I hired an Olympic Greco coach, moved him out here. We moved out six or seven guys who were training for the Olympics, and I hired them. They worked for me, and then we were wrestling every day. It was a really cool experience.
But the story I want to tell you guys today is we brought this coaches in to Ivan Ivanoff, and to this day, one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. I don’t think I’ve ever even told him this before, but one of the people I look up to more than almost anyone else in the world, and just an amazing human and an amazing person. I remember we brought him in as this coach, and he had actually come from Bulgaria with basically nothing – showed up here in America. He moved out to Utah. He got this job coaching this little kids’ club. My little brother’s in that club, and in two years, he took my brother, and this group of kids who didn’t know Greco at all, and within a year and a half to two years, my brother took second place in the country in Utah and the state took first in the country in Greco.
He has this amazing ability to put his hands on somebody, and have them transformed. As soon as he did that with these high school kids, then the Olympic team brought him up, and he started coaching the Olympic Greco team, and raised up some of the most amazing athletes really, really quickly and just awesome, so when I wanted to start wrestling again, I was going to have someone, I wanted Ivan, and I’d never had a chance to personally work with him, but I saw what he did with my brother. I saw what he did with these other people, and so I wanted him there. I was lucky enough and blessed to have him agree, and he moved to Boise and he started coaching us.
It was interesting because I remember the first probably four or five months, we were practicing, and I was really frustrated about how he ran practices. I was almost confused, and I was thinking, “What is this guy doing? Does he not know how wrestling practices run?” Literally, what we would do is every Sunday we’d come in, and in wrestling you’ve got an offensive guy and a defensive guy, right? So I’m practicing moves on him, so I’ll have a guy stand there, and I’ll practice shooting on him, and I’ll practice taking him down. I’ll practice different moves. The defensive guy plays like a dummy, and he’ll let you take him down. That’s how you drill, right? You practice that way, and then you go and you wrestle matches where everyone’s going live, so you have this dummy’s day where your defensive person is like a dummy just standing there and going through the moves, and then you have full-speed wrestling where the guy’s going a hundred percent.
Ivan, literally, probably about the first four or five months, all he would do with us is he would drill the defensive guy on how to be a good partner, and like I said, I was getting so frustrated, like, “Ivan, you need to be teaching us stuff. I need to be learning some new take-downs. You need to be drilling us,” but he would focus on the defensive guy and getting the defensive guy to be a better partner, and teaching him to react the right way as a defensive partner needs to do.
Literally, every single day, we’d come to practice and we would drill defensively how to be good defenders during practice, how to be a good dummy man. I was so frustrated, and I remember one day he told me, “Russell, right now when our guys are coming in here, they’re drilling against people who don’t know how to be dummies, so that’s not going to help them in competition. In competition, if you’re not practicing against somebody who is a good partner, who is giving you the right looks and the feel and the pressure and things like that, if you’re not practicing perfectly in your practices, when you get in competition, you’re not going to be at that level,” and so he spent those three or four or five months getting us to be good defensive wrestlers, to be good dummies, and then as soon as he did that, and as soon as he got to the point where he said, “Yes, now you guys are good defensively. Now you’re good practice partners. Now we can focus on the offense,” and then he started focusing on the offense, and I saw the brilliance in what he did.
Literally because everyone on our team became great at being the dummy, and at giving the right looks and the right pressure when someone was drilling on you, when he started introducing new moves, we were able to pick them up, and not only pick them up faster, but our technique was perfect because the partners we were drilling against were defending them perfectly, and they were giving the right pressure and doing the right things, and so you could literally just start seeing the huge improvements in yourself. I look and a month and a half, two months later, that team that we had built up went to the U.S. tournament, and we were this unnamed team. I can’t remember – I’m pretty sure we won first place at that tournament, if not it was just because we didn’t have as many guys as the other teams, but just we did awesome. We had three or four guys in the finals, and it was really fascinating to watch that.
I’d forgotten that lesson, until a little while ago when I was wrestling with Jason, my jiu jitsu coach, and I told him that. I said, “What was interest