Team | Commitment | Discipline


I’ve mentioned before that I believe high school wrestlers have to be THE MOST Disciplined student-athletes in high school athletics.

In this vlog update, I was able to capture an example that justifies my belief.  The team was getting ready to go outside to the school track for some warm-up laps & some bleacher conditioning.

Along the way, I was stopped by different coaches, and/or other teachers for one reason or another. By the time I was able to make my way outside to the track, the wrestlers were almost done with their warm-up laps.  And, I had not given them instructions to begin.  It was the habit, the standard, the expectations that had been built over time.

I Make Them Do Their Warm-Up Laps as a Team

I have wrestlers that also run for the Track Team, & their warm-up pace would be a lot faster than other non-track student-athletes.  However, I tell them that they must jog their warm-up laps in single file, as a team, in lane-8.  After their warm-up laps, they do some light stretching as a Team, as well.  When they do their conditioning runs, they do them at their best pace, and encourage each other to push beyond perceived limits.


Every year, we begin the season with anywhere between 25 – 35 students who think they want to become wrestlers.  Every year, almost half quit before the end of the season. Wrestling is just one of those sports that will test your mental toughness.  You have to be willing to really grind and push yourself.

It is not always the physical part of training that leads to students quitting.  There have always been, and always will be, students that are very strong, have plenty of endurance, and are very athletic overall — that will still quit because they are mentally weak.  They are not committed to the process of becoming a wrestler.  They are not willing to put in the time, work, and effort.  Wrestling is not a sport for the mentally weak and/or fragile.


Then, there are students who will not quit on their own, but they always seem to have an excuse for not giving 100%, for not showing up to practice, for not showing up to meets, etc.  This does not mean that they are mentally stronger than the other students who quit, and/or were not committed to the process.  This means that they don’t have the discipline to push themselves, to test themselves, to be honest with themselves.

Whenever they think a coach is not watching, they’re cheating on push-ups, burpees, crunches, etc.  They walk instead of pushing themselves when out on the track, or running bleachers.  They roll over and quit during practice when live rolling.

Unfortunately, these are the students that end up having to be “cut” from the Team.  They don’t have the discipline, desire, & responsibility to be a Wrestler.

Please follow along on my journey of weekly vlogging as a husband, father, son, uncle, cousin, coach, educator, and all around good human being.

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One of My Passions | Wrestling



Anyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE coaching.
I have been coaching in some form or another since I was around 17-years old.
I currently coach high school Wrestling and high school Swimming.

I may be just a little bit biased, but I truly believe that these are two of the hardest sports in high school athletics.

First, not everyone knows how to swim, and there are so many people who are absolutely terrified of even attempting to learn how to swim.  Additionally, swimming is one of those sports where you have to become comfortable with NOT being able to breathe anytime you want to, or NEED to breathe.

However, Wrestlers are a completely different breed of student-athletes.
It takes some real DISCIPLINE & DEDICATION to successfully complete a high school wrestling season.

To begin with, the conditioning that is involved in wrestling is enough to make many student-athletes quit mid-season, if not earlier.  Many student-athletes are, simply, shocked when they decide to “try” wrestling for the first time.

There is no middle ground when it comes to wrestling.
You either embrace & learn to love the Grind, or you hate it with a passion.  Only the dedicated with strong mental fortitude are able to make it to the end of wrestling season, & EARN the right to be recognized as a WRESTLER.

One of the hardest things to embrace when it comes to high school wrestling is the necessity to “make weight“.

Besides the fact that wrestling is based on weight classes, it also happens to be a long season.  Here in Florida, wrestling season usually begins at the end of October or the beginning of November, and goes all the way until the first weekend in March – culminating with the State Championships.

If you look at the season, you will notice that it covers all of the major “eating” holidays.

  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanzaa
  • New Year’s Eve/Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • and, any birthdays in between those months

High school wrestlers have to be disciplined enough to stay on weight & watch what they eat – all while their close family and friends enjoy foods that they, most likely, cannot consume themselves.

These are young boys and girls, between the ages of 14 – 18 (on average), who need to have more discipline and dedication than most adults twice their age.

I hope you enjoy some of the highlights from one of our recent tournaments.

Please follow along on my journey of weekly vlogging as a husband, father, son, uncle, cousin, coach, educator, and all around good human being.

Feel free to make recommendations and/or requests on my youtube channel in the comments section.

Subscribe so you don’t miss out on any new episodes.

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High School is Easy

No, Really It Is …

Get full credit on the easy activities — By submitting them ON TIME!
Don’t take a zero in the grade book on assignments/activities for which you should be, easily, earning full credit.  That’s just redunculous! (this is a real word – check here)

What Are These “Easy” Activities?

Listen, most schools have some version of the following three activities (four in some cases) that are used for grades.

  1. Bell work / Bell ringer
  2. Class work
  3. Home work
  4. Uniform (if required)

Explain Further Coach

Well, you should just watch the video for the explanation, but here is the premise.

Bell work / Bell ringers

These are those assignments that most teachers have right at the beginning of class.  They, usually, are short (maybe 5-10 minutes), and are meant to be done while the teacher takes attendance, checks homework, hands out papers, etc.

All students should earn whatever maximum credit is possible for these assignments.
Most of the time, you just have to get it done on time.

Class work

I really shouldn’t have to explain this.  Just participate and do the work.  Again, all students should be earning maximum points here.  This grade is usually based on honest effort, maximum participation, and timely completion.  It really is that simple.

Home work

Ok.  Here is one set of assignments where you, sometimes, might not earn the full amount of credit — IF you get some wrong answers.  However, you have to at least do the work.  You have to show that you made a legitimate attempt to complete whatever work was assigned.  Even if you get stuck, at least do everything up to the point where you get confused.  Show all of your work, and maybe even write down your thoughts in attempting to complete the work.

Uniform (If Required)

Look …
This is THE MOST unacceptable thing to take a zero on.
I’m not even joking.

If you have some kind of PE (physical education) class that has some kind of “uniform requirement” — wear it.  Whatever that requirement is — just wear it.  I mean, don’t be silly.

The fact is that taking a zero on any of these things is an act of Stupidity; not to be confused with ignorance.  They are two completely different things, but that is a topic for another day, and another video.

Coach Pabon | What Are You Doing?

Negative Nannies

Wassup everybody? Coach Pabon comin’ at you.
Listen – negativity is part of life. I get it.
But, for too many people it has become auto-freakin-matic.

Randomly ask anyone in passing at work, at school, or even at home, “Hey, how’s it going?” Many people will give you some kind of negative response:

  • Ohhhh – I’m really dragging today …
  • Same crap – different day!
  • Is it Friday yet?

And, a host of other negative responses, generally speaking.


Along this thought process is criticism.
Without having to go into a prolonged thesis, criticism comes in two flavors.

  • Destructive Criticism
  • Constructive Criticism

Generally speaking, criticizing someone or something, in and of itself, is not a bad thing if done properly and for the correct reason.

Are you employing destructive criticism for the sole purpose of being heard, somehow feeling you have some power over the person/thing you are criticizing, or because you are still holding on to a grudge?

If so, allow me to suggest that you may benefit from some self-evaluation.

  • Why are you feeling so slighted?
  • What part did you have to play in your negative experience?
  • Are you just throwing a tantrum?

Constructive criticism should aim to improve someone or something. What you found wrong should be quantifiable and specific.  There should be some tangible suggestions being made about how to change and/or improve what is wrong.

Solutions | Choices

One quick solution here is to be the example. Be the change that others should follow.  I sometimes stop people dead in their tracks, because for several years my response is one of general positivity.

It’s very rare to hear someone say something like:

  • I feel GREAT – how about you?
  • Things are really Freakin’ AWESOME right now!
  • Yo – I’m EXCITED – I’ve never been better!

Life is about choices & sometimes we have to make a concerted effort to choose the positive route.

Which path will you choose?

Accurately Determining the Gap before Taking a Leap

Originally Posted: October 9, 2010

Human Performance Technology

The phrase Human Performance Technology (HPT) is usually synonymous with Human Performance Improvement (HPI).  For this post, I will use the terms interchangeably.

So, What is HPT / HPI Anyway?
ASTD Models for Human Performance Improvement by William J. Rothwell, as cited on Purdue University’s Physical Facilities Training (n.d.)  webpage, describes HPI as

…the systematic process of discovering and analyzing important human performance gaps, planning for future improvements in human performance, designing and developing cost-effective and ethically justifiable interventions to close performance gaps, implementing the interventions, and evaluating the financial and non-financial results. (Human performance improvement, para. 1)

O.K., So Why do I Care About HPT / HPI?

Animated Hello image
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

Looking closely at this definition, one should notice that “training” is not necessarily the solution for a performance gap.  HPT models generally speak of utilizing “interventions” in order to bridge challenges with performance.

These performance challenges may be the result of “organizational/environment causes, motivational/attitude problems, or skills/knowledge deficits” (Piskurich, 2006, p. 27).

Piskurich (2006) goes on to clarify that even though training may not be the main solution for a performance gap, it will usually accompany other interventions.

There is a Performance Gap – Now What?
The International Society for Performance Improvement (n.d.) explains that once a determination has been made that a performance gap does, indeed, exist, HPT calls for a cause analysis to be implemented.  A cause analysis will help to uncover why there is an existing performance gap.

  • Is the culture of the work place contributing to performance short-falls?
  • Are there some motivational issues contributing to a decline in performance?
  • Or, is it actually some type of skill/knowledge deficit?

This cause analysis step will help to determine “why” performance is not up to par, and/or why performance may not improve without some kind of intervention.

Sam’s $0.02 – For What it’s Worth
The idea that training is not the answer for every single performance short fall is absolutely aligned with my personal and professional experiences.

Coming from an IT “contractor” background, there have been many times that the overall performance of a specific group may not have been on equal footing with the expectations of management, and/or a particular customer.  Often enough, the question always seemed to revolve around training, and/or the skill/knowledge of specific contractors and/or entire sections.

Although there were a few occasions where the prerequisite skill level was the source of a performance gap, more often than not, the performance gap was the result of continuously shifting, and/or unclear management/customer goals/objectives.  This constant confusion, and lack of concrete guidance often lead to a decrease in contractor moral which only served to contribute to the already existing performance gap.

The only relief came when management/customers where forced to provide written objectives, requirements, and/or expectations for contractor deliverables.  This provided the necessary target for contractors to focus on, and management/customers to truly evaluate performance.

If the new deliverables did not match what management/customers wanted, they were compared to the written taskings.  More often than not, the contractors’ performance actually met or exceeded the written guidelines, and the management/customers had to edit and/or add to the written taskings.

This extra “work” for management/customers actually reduced the frequency of shifting goals/objectives.  Inevitably, this fostered an increase in contractor moral which led to an increase in performance.

Slowing Down to Speed Up
At first glance, it may seem as if implementing an HPT/HPI model may take up a lot of time and/or resources.  However, if carefully analyzed, and implemented properly, an HPT/HPI model may actually save time, resources, and even money in the long run.

As a close friend once told me, “Sometimes we have to slow down in order to speed up.”


International Society for Performance Improvement. (n.d.). Principles of human performance technology. Retrieved from

Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeifer.

Purdue University. (n.d.). Human performance improvement: What is human performance improvement? Retrieved from