Wisdom from the Man Who Feeds Cats


Tony Holler, is a respected high school track and field coach in Illinois. Coach Holler is best known for being an unvarnished, outspoken, and accomplished coach. He developed the philosophy of record, rank, and publish which is a system of making everything matter in practice. The philosophy holds the athletes accountable for their actions along with helping to keep things competitive all year long. Recently he turned the training world on its head with his minimalist philosophy of training called “Feed the Cats.” Incredibly popular his message has been spreading amongst coaches like wildfire. More of his writing can be found here. I believe Tony is wise because he sees the big picture as it extends to the horizon. Like most people of great wisdom it takes a learning curve to understand the depth of his direct statements. I suggest keeping an open mind and ask questions. It will be an eye-opening experience.

  1. In your view, what exactly is wisdom?I would define wisdom as having intense experiences of success and failure and having the ability to describe those experiences in a way that people want to hear them. If you have a boring, monotonous job, your after-hours need to be action-packed. If you aren’t living big and bold, your only other options would be reading and listening. My grandmother who lived 100 years never had a job, never drove a car. However, she was a terrific listener and a fantastic storyteller. My grandmother was one of the wisest people I’ve ever known. Usually, it takes many years of experience to be considered wise but many young people can become wise in a narrow field.
  2. Do people usually become wiser as they get older? Why or why not? No. Many people eat and sleep and breathe, but do little else. Too many people insulate themselves from risk and live quiet, boring lives. Too many people talk instead of listen. Too many people watch TV instead of reading books. Boring people don’t have stories to tell. Even if you’ve lived a full life and learned all you can learn, you must have the ability to tell the story. If no one hears your wisdom, your wisdom will go with you to the grave. 
  3. How do people acquire wisdom? Experiences. Listening. Reading. And, I have never met a wise person who wasn’t interesting and interested. People who are interesting and interested all seem to be voracious readers. 
  4. Is wisdom the same thing as intelligence? Are smart people necessarily wise?  No. You must be able to tell your story. You must be able to write in a way that people want to read. My worst teachers in college were brilliant scientists but terrible teachers because they couldn’t connect with kids. 
  5. What words of wisdom or advice would you give to someone in his or her (twenties or thirties)?Read. Listen. Live big and bold. Try to become an interesting person. Try to become someone who is interested in others. Visit people who are good at what they do. Ask lots of questions. Takes notes. Sit in the front row. Drink lots of coffee. Write. Organize. Simplify. 

Ryan Banta

Ryan Banta

Ryan is a successful high school coach. His athletes have achieved 76 school records, 2 top four finishes at the state championships, 3 district championships, 107 state semi-finalist (sectionals), 63 state qualifiers, 2 state records (3200 and 4x800), 14 national ranked events, 34 all state performances, 8 state champions, 7 runner up performances, and 2 Gatorade athletes of the year. Ryan is a USATF level II coach in the sprints, hurdles, relays, and endurance and recently earned a USTFCCCA track and field technical coaching certification.
Ryan Banta


Dad, Husband, Teacher, & Track & Field Coach. Author of Sprinter's Compendium https://t.co/8gOzOSvdEh. Contributor @speedendurance @justflysports
@cnboysxc The book is amazing. One of my favorite reads!!!!! - 4 hours ago
Ryan Banta
Ryan Banta

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