In life, we like to set goals to push ourselves to the next level. But how do you thrive in a world where everyone has high expectations for themselves? Well, one West Ottawa wrestler took the popular merit for improvement of the "1000 Rep Club" and made it his own. We sat down with senior wrestler and 4.0 student Wes Hook and talked about his philosophy on improvement, his goals for the season, and his commitment to drill 20,000 takedowns before November 14th
What inspired you to set out on this?
After a disappointing finish capping off both of my last two years, I decided to take a look at my wrestling as the off-season kicked off. What I realized was that I was a pretty sound wrestler in most areas, but the main skill I lacked was the ability to score points on my feet. So many times I would start the second or third period down 2-1 or 4-2 simply because my shots and shot defense was not where it needed to be. So, I decided to change that.
Why did you decide to hit so many reps?
The reason that I decided to hit 20,000 was mostly based on the work of Malcolm Gladwell and his research on mastering tasks. The gist of the idea is that it takes 10,000 reps of something in order for your brain to master it. Now, there's been some debate on whether or not 10,000 is truly the number it takes, but I figured there's no way that doing 10,000 takedowns would make me a WORSE wrestler, so I set out. The plan was to learn two moves, and drill each one 10,000 times.
How many reps are you currently at?
Currently, after losing a lot of time to football, and a lot of practice partners to school and work and other sports, I am currently sitting at about 10,000 reps, (give or take 100 or so at practice) which is about halfway to the goal.
What move(s) did you decide to use? Why?
The move that I hit all of those 10,000 with is a sweep single leg takedown, which I chose after watching the state wrestlers last year. The two most common, most effective takedowns were the sweep single leg and the short fireman's carry. I chose the sweep single because it was a simple yet effective move that I could hit from basically anywhere. My second 10,000 will either be a double leg finish off of a failed ankle pick, or an inside trip.
What do you hope to accomplish?
This year, my season isn't going to end at districts. My plan is to get up on the wall as many times as possible, hopefully winning my conference, district, and placing at state.
Was this more or less difficult than you imagined?
Accomplishing this was about as difficult for me as I would've imagined it would be, but it was more difficult to get practice partners than I thought it would be. Of course, I wouldn't have wanted to go get taken down 200 times a day either, so I guess it wasn't that surprising, but I got a lot of crap from the guy about never giving them a day off or anything (Buncha whiners).
What are your plans after high school?
After high school, I am planning to get a four year degree in college, go to law school, sell my soul to the corporate machine, get married, have kids, buy stuff with the money I got for my soul, and eventually die.
Who is your wrestling hero?
My wrestling hero is actually Ethan Curtin. Ethan was about as good in middle school as I was, but as he got older he worked and worked and worked and now he's wrestling at Michigan State. He just kinda embodies to me what hard work can do for someone, and I hope that at some point my work can be the kind of inspiration to someone else that his was to me.