*Semi-Finals of the 2015 Men's Freestyle Open/Olympic Trials Qualifier, Las Vegas, NV*

Remember when you were in elementary or middle school and you had a big test coming up? Your teacher probably told you, "If you have any doubt, go with your first answer. It will probably be right." So, you circle "B" and then the rest of the time taking the test you're thinking, "Is it B or was it C?" So, then you go back and erase "B" and put "C." Afterwards, you talk with your smart friend and she (Come on, you know it was usually a girl!) put B for the answer; and now you're thinking, "Man, I should've LISTENED and stuck with my gut. My preparation had me ready and I second guessed myself." Now, instead of an A on the test, you get a B.

Man, LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE in life and in wrestling!

A couple of things Coach Jackson has always told me are: "Explode through the position" and "If you get to your position TAKE HIM!" What I learned this weekend (The HARD WAY) is something that I've always known. It's THROW or get THROWN. My hesitation in the second period of my match ended with me on my back and reporting to the wrestle backs. Not a feeling I like at all and I'll learn from my decisions.

It's been a while since that had happened to me in competition. If I'm correct, I think the last time was in 7th grade. I got hit with a headlock and was pinned. I don't like how it feels; and although it does happen, I don't like it when it happens to me. Since we are in the holiday season, it's always better to GIVE than to receive (something my Dad would always say) - especially when it's the gift of a pin!

So, here are my biggest takeaways from this exact match:

1) Trust your instincts and your training. Your preparation will have you prepared! 2) Be coachable and continue to listen to your coaches. They know what they're talking about. In my case, I'm very fortunate to have Coach Jackson's knowledge and expertise, along with Coach Paulson's. 3) Finally, if you're going to do something right, go ALL IN and commit to it! In wrestling, hesitation can cost you, like it did for me at the US Open.

Getting PINNED can be a big motivator moving forward and in learning from my decisions in the hopes that it doesn't happen again for another 10 years!

Thank you all for reading!

Kyven Gadson

Kyven Ross Gadson (born July 9, 1992) is an American amateur wrestler. Currently a senior competitor in amateur freestyle wrestling, earlier Gadson, while wrestling for the Iowa State Cyclones, was a three-time All-American in NCAA Division Icollegiate wrestling and won the 2015 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in the 197-lb weight class by pinning future Olympic and World Championship gold medalist Kyle Snyder in his final collegiate match.