Great quote for wrestlers

Posted on Sep 9, 2010 in Competitions, Practices, Wrestlers

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses–behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
– Muhammad Ali

As with any great quote, Ali gets right to the crux of the matter and his insight goes deeper than the obvious first impression.  We all know hard work in practice leads to victories in competition and it’s great to see that affirmed by one of the world’s greatest competitors. But his quote offers more than just affirmation. I was reminded of some important lessons in his words too.

First, focus on the things you can control. He specifically mentions gym time and road work rather than things he can’t control (his opponents efforts, the judges, etc.).  This is a powerful lesson. Wrestlers give themselves the best chance for success by focusing on the things they can control – effort goals, training, mental preparation, match strategy, etc.

I was also struck by the phrase, “away from witnesses.” We all have coaches and teammates to support us. But the match is ultimately won or lost inside ourselves. We are ultimately responsible for finding the motivation, setting the goals and pushing yourself. Nobody can do that for us.

Finally, Ali’s quote can also be a powerful metaphor for life. Proper preparation and focus on the things you can control will lead to success in any endeavor whether it’s a history test, a business presentation or a family camping trip.