Building Life Skills

Our 7-year old and 8-year old boys posted top-6 finishes in the Texas USA Wrestling State Rookie Tournament on Feb. 26. This tournament was the culmination to 4-months of training with the Highland Park Scots Wrestling Club. Our boys are learning how to wrestle, but more importantly, building life skills. The benefits to wrestling are endless, and here are my top five reasons how wrestling builds skills not only for a reason or a season, but also for a lifetime. 

1. Wrestling improves your ability to focus

Wrestling is a sport that demands focus from the moment you step on the mat until the final whistle blows. If you lose focus for a split second, you will get pinned. Your opponent is trained to attack and show no mercy. Ending up on your back with someone on top of you isn’t fun, in fact, it can be demoralizing. But when you stay focused, you wrestle well, and win or lose, there is no greater adrenaline rush!

2. Wrestling builds resiliency (toughness)

No matter how you sugar coat it, losing stinks. If you wrestle, you will probably lose at some point of your career. When you lose, you have to have a short-term memory, forget about the past and be prepared for what lies ahead. You cannot teach someone how to be resilient or have toughness; people have to experience it for themselves. Wrestling puts you in a position that if you win, it’s because of you and if you lose, there is no one to blame.

3. Wresting brings out your competitiveness

Competitiveness can be a learned behavior, but more often than not, a person’s competitive drive is an innate trait. Don’t know if your child has a competitive spirit? Put him (or her…yes, girls wrestle too) on the mat, toe to toe, watch his or her instincts kick into overdrive and witness firsthand their individual will to compete. Need convincing? Watch the video of our boys’ tournament and see first hand the will to succeed and ability to overcome failure.

4. Wrestling develops mental and physical conditioning

What might appear as two athletes lunging, thrusting and throwing one another around is one of the most mentally and physically grueling sports. Wrestling is an all out battle, which requires muscle strength, power, speed, agility, cardiovascular endurance and natural instincts. 

5. Wrestling teaches hard work, discipline and camaraderie

Children grow up entitled. Wrestling doesn’t tolerate entitlement. Wrestlers earn their spot on the mat and their success comes from hard work. As for discipline, before each tournament, wrestlers have to weigh in and make weight. This teaches responsible eating and proper nutrition. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing my children encourage and support one another through their wins...and losses.

Maybe wresting isn’t your child’s sport, but maybe your child can find an activity that encourages life skills like wrestling: focus, resiliency, competitiveness, conditioning, hard work, discipline and camaraderie. As a mom, I am proud of my boys’ effort and willingness to work hard and never quit.


If you are curious and want to learn more about their effort, check out this Texas State Wrestling Tournament video.

Together, let’s encourage one another and our children to become the strongest they can be!



Childhood Obesity And Weight Loss

Are children really at risk for becoming overweight and obese? The Centers For Disease Control and Protection (CDC) have some eye opening facts. According to the CDC:

•       Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

•       The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.

•       In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Recently, our family had a conversation about weight loss. Our 7-year old is conditioning for the Texas USA Wrestling State Tournament on Feb. 27-28. At his last tournament, he weighed 57.5 pounds and competed in the 61-pound weight class. He was at a huge disadvantage and asked the question, “Mama, what do I need to do if I want to compete in the 56-pound weight class?”

So I asked him a lot of questions about why he wants to compete at that weight class and helped him think through an exercise and nutrition plan to help him achieve his goal. This conversation is not only an individual goal, it is a family affair and as a family, we will support Nico to reach his goal.

What is Nico’s purpose? Nico wants to wrestle kids who are closer to his actual weight.

What is Nico’s plan? Here are three pillars to help Nico achieve his weight goal.

1. Exercise More.
In addition to his after school activities, Nico and I run 1-mile before school three days/week. This early morning routine kick starts his metabolism and helps him go to school focused and prepared for the day.

2. Eating Parameters.
Nico will reduce his treats after dinner to every other night. With the exception of two evenings, he will finish eating by 7pm, have reduced portions of simple carbohydrates like pasta and potatoes and will eat well-balanced meals. Eating well-balanced meals will lead to less snacking throughout the day. Snacks will be measured out for portion control and responsible eating.

3. Reduce Sugar.
When the kids looked in the refrigerator, they noticed a new brand of yogurt and they asked, “Mama, why did you switch brands?” I explained to them that after comparing the two yogurts, this brand has 4-5 grams of less sugar. The majority of kids (and adults!) consume too much added sugar. This means sugar found in fruit juices, sodas, and processed foods, not natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables.

This plan isn’t just about a State Wrestling Tournament, it is teaching our children life lessons. If we, as parents, aren’t around to have these conversations with our children, whom will they turn to and how will they learn the right way to approach weight loss? Make exercise and nutrition a family affair and together, let's build a strong family.