Desire, discipline and coach ability are the three most important components that an athlete needs to achieve success according to Jesus Solis.
“Desire is the most important,” Solis said, “as an athlete needs to love the sport and really want to learn to be his or her best.”
Solis also believes that the lack of discipline will limit an athlete from making breakthroughs in their performance.
“I’m not going to give my time and expertise to help train someone unless I know that they will be there and give their all even when they don’t feel like it,” Solis said.
Solis has coached a variety of sports and is currently an assistant wrestling coach at Kohala High School, but his roots and knowledge comes from hours spent in the boxing ring.
“I went to school in Napa, California and played football, wrestled and ran track from junior high through high school,” he said.
Originally from Michoacan in Central Mexico, Solis and his family moved to the Napa area when he was seven where his father worked for Charles Krug Winery.
“I never got involved in boxing until after high school while a student in college,” Solis said.
“I noticed I was putting on weight and saw an ad in the newspaper that was looking for athletes to train and compete in the upcoming Golden Gloves Tournament,” he said.
The gifted athlete soon found himself in the ring, competing for the local Golden Gloves.
“I didn’t win the tournament, but the guy that did got injured and was unable to represent Northern California at the Western States Regional Championships, so I went as the alternate,” he said.
In a twist of fate Solis was able to win the 156 pound weight class and was also awarded the Best Boxer and Best Sportsmen trophies in the Regional Championships.
When Solis attended Chico State College he wasn’t allowed to compete on the boxing team because he had boxed in the AAU Golden Gloves, but he was allowed an opportunity to be the assistant coach for the college boxing team.
“Chico State ended up winning the National Championships three years in a row,” Solis said.
Solis continued his coaching while doing graduate work at Sacramento State where he received his teaching certificate and spent the next 3 years in the classroom at his high school alma mater coaching the wrestling team.
Today this 62 year old, active senior citizen continues to work out and stay in shape and to share his wisdom about sports with the children of Kohala and Hawi.
“I usually work out about six days a week as each morning I will take my two South African Mastiffs for a 2 mile jog up the hill near our house,” Solis said.
A couple of times each week Solis will drop the dogs off at home then run an additional 3 to 4 miles with his wife.
“My wife recently started training for a triathlon so we’ve added swimming to our training and will swim 3 mornings a week for about 30 to 45 minutes,” he said.
Solis will also lift weight twice a week and on most days he’ll double his workout with a swim and a run or a run and then lift weights.
“I think cross training is important, especially as we age as it helps to avoid repetitive use injuries,” he said. “I think it also helps to keep our body guessing a bit and using different muscles and resting others, plus it helps to keep the workouts from getting boring.”
Solis will also have a set workout plan which helps him stay focused on what needs to be done and makes it harder for him to make excuses or short change his workout.
For 2011 Solis has set a goal of getting his weight down and losing an additional five pounds through regular exercise and a healthy diet.
“I continue to be active and feel energetic and sometimes I set my expectations for myself really high and I tend to compare my performance to what I did at 30,” he said. “My wife reminds me that I’m not 30 anymore so I need to be more aware of how my body is feeling and cut it a little slack now and then.”
Since moving to the Big Island the former Golden Glove champ started a boxing club in Kapaau and has worked with 42 club members while putting two different boxing events. He also substitute teaches and helps with the Kohala wrestling team.
“Sports are really important to me both as a kid and now as an adult,” he said. “When I was young it enabled me to compete on the playing field and it made me aware that I could also compete in the classroom.”
“I realized that I didn’t want to work in the fields like my dad and brothers and I was just as capable as my classmates that went onto college.”
Solis had to work hard to get into college and he attributes his success in sports that provided the confidence he needed to pursue his academic dreams.
“Sports are important for kids because it brings the camaraderie of a team and encourages them to feel like they are part of the school community,” Solis said. “Far too many kids don’t get enough physical exercise.
“I’m just hoping I can inspire some kids to lead a more active lifestyle and have fun with sports,” Solis concluded.