Here is a story from a Coach who wishes to remain anonymous, which I feel really embodies Wrestling Mindset.
A stranger helped me out this morning without realizing it but in reality I helped myself out because that's what I've always done. I got to the beach early and I went for a long run on the boardwalk. I wasn't warmed up and I just get to boardwalk from my house and this young girl is running.
I enter the boardwalk about 100 ft in front of her. Within 5 mins she passes me so i have a choice to make. Do I use the excuse that I'm not loose yet and let her blow me away or do I just push myself to keep up with her. Of course I did what most competitive people do and I stayed right behind her. I didn't want to pass her and make it look like I was competing even though I was.
At the end of boardwalk I keep going. She stops to tie her shoe or stretch. Not sure what she was doing. So now I passed her and made sure I kept a good pace so she wouldn't catch me. Then I let up and slow down figuring shes not around. After about 1.5 miles , she passes me again.
So now I can just let her persistence beat me but I didn't, I followed her closely and tried to torment her by staying right behind her. She eventually turned off boardwalk either cause she was going home or couldn't keep pace anymore. Now I could have chalked it up to this girl being half my age but I didn't.
Moral of story is that this is how a wrestling match goes. This is how life goes and you will have to deal with your decision of whether to quit or not. I chose not to and it was a struggle for me but the discomfort only for that hour that I was running. Knowing you quit will last forever. Just keep pushing even if the other guy scores and he will break. If he doesn't break and flat out beats you, you tip your hat to that guy or girl in this case or you shake their hand but u don't accept it. You go to work the next day and let that defeat motivate you. You think you were working hard before but there is always another gear.
Play these mental games with yourself and you will be a success on and off the mat and when you are older you will be even more successful if you can get a kid or numerous kids to believe in the power of our minds. Keep putting money in the bank. You may never need it until March however you have to keep training and when you need to dig deep, you will have something left. This is kind of mindset a wrestler needs.
CHAPTER 4: PERFECTIONISM KILLS PERFORMANCE
My Master’s Degree Thesis topic was: Anxiety and Perfectionism in High School Wrestlers. There are not many Psychology scholarly articles specifically on wrestlers. Here are the results in simplest terms. We know that Anxiety (stress, nervousness, fear) have a negative effect on performance. Perfectionism and Anxiety have a positive relationship. Therefore, Perfectionism and Anxiety negatively affect performance. Believe me, it was not that simple. An hour before a tournament began, I gave 120 wrestlers a perfectionism and anxiety questionnaire, then compared the numbers. Again, the process took far longer than it seems. The conclusions were well worth it though. To succeed, you want to abandon extreme and perfectionistic thoughts and language.
Perfection is the enemy of good. When you were young, adults taught you how to detect and delete mistakes. This makes sense. In order to achieve at a high level, mistakes must be reduced. The key thing to remember is that mistakes are never eliminated.
We have all heard that practice makes perfect. Then as we got older, we heard, perfect practice makes perfect. But the truth is, perfection is non-existent, so the best we can shoot for is mastery. The analysis of error and intense practice of new behavior makes for mastery. But yeah, practice makes perfect sounds a lot easier for you to remember and say in front of your friends.
It is easy to agree with the statement, no one is perfect. We all have an understanding of our all too fallible human nature. But when we make a mistake, we tend to heap coals of fire on ourselves.
We forget that making mistakes is part of the learning process. People who are not making mistakes, are usually not making very much of anything. We should strive to eliminate mistakes, but we should not assume that we will stop making them. Imperfection must be expected and accepted. Imperfection should NOT delay you from taking action. This occurs for many people.
It is usually the start that stops most people. People tend to procrastinate indefinitely until, “the time is right.” Successful people know that the time is never right, but time is always RIGHT NOW. If you love to write, don’t begin once you have written the great American novel. Begin right now. Your odds of writing the great American novel go up exponentially once you finally start writing on a consistent basis. Get it started, then get it just right. If you wait until all lights are green and until all mistakes, shortcomings, and obstacles are non-existent, you will miss the boat. Get started today.
Here is a list of the top 10 worst phrases in sports due to their allusion to perfectionism and the extreme:
10. “I have to…”
9. “I need to…”
8. “I ought to…”
7. “I should…”
6. “I must…”
5. “This is it OR This is everything..”
4. “Do or die”
3. “Make it or break it”
2. “It’s now or never”
1. “Don’t miss “OR “Don’t (anything)”
All competitions and practices are important, but nothing is “special.” When you make a particular competition “special,” you are most likely to put additional pressure on yourself, which can cause you to change your approach and deviate from the very actions that got you success up until this point in time.
Instead, use phrases like, “I will,” “I choose to…” “I want to,” “I’m going to.” Phrases like this allude to a Jehovian command that cannot be supported by facts. Approach competition with a willful attitude, not an obligatory one.
Being nervous, anxious, worried, or scared has a predictable affect on your mind. Tunnel vision sets in. You revert to your most rehearsed behaviors for safety. You become literal-minded. Have you ever tried telling a joke or being sarcastic with someone who is in this state of mind? Notice how they don’t quite get what you are talking about right away. These people have difficulty understanding even semi complex material. Creativity and flexible thinking go out the window.
Creativity and flexible thinking are absolutely essential in a sport like wrestling where there is no set routine. On board course corrections become necessary. How well do you think a wrestler in this mindset will make appropriate adjustments in the middle of competition. Again remember, we tend to revert to our most rehearsed behavior while nervous. Now think about taking a final exam. Many tests are difficult because the teacher/professor asks you to apply the knowledge that you know. Multiple choice and fill in the blank questions may be easy if you studied adequately, but what happens when you are presented with familiar material and you are asked to do something novel with it? This often trips people up. Typically when the teacher goes over the test, after the fact, we see the simple adjustments and application that should have been obvious to us beforehand because we did, “know the material.”
When you panic, creativity and flexible thinking are out the window. Imagine now you are on an interview and the interviewer asks how you would react in a novel scenario. How might your nervousness affect the quality of your answer? Keep in mind, this phenomenon occurs regardless of your skill level. Panic, fear, nervousness will block you from achieving your potential. You can still perform well despite this feeling, you can succeed, but wouldn’t you rather bring out the you that you know is within you- your potential?
Here’s the remedy- happiness- being in a good mood. The next time you feel nervous, begin to act the opposite way. Fake it till you make it if you have to. Better yet, fake it till you feel it. Keep the “tense” atmosphere light-hearted. Joke around. Smile. Pre-plan ways to make yourself smile and laugh during these situations. Some coaches and teachers may not like this because they think you are not taking the situation seriously, but they just don’t understand this important lesson. This is crucial to your success, especially in situations that require you to make adjustments and react in novel ways.
Get good at laughing at yourself and mistakes. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Most people don’t care about you, they’re too busy thinking how they look. Practice how you will look and feel before, during, and after a competition, or test, or interview. See yourself smiling and enjoying yourself out there. You will be surprised how well you perform when you stop taking yourself so serious, let go, and have fun. Flexible thinking, adapting, creativity will be open to you from now on.
To become a better competitor, one must practice competitiveness.
The Best Powerlifting Gym in the World (Westside Barbell) on Mental Toughness:
"At Westside, we have many in-house contests...They can happen without notice, and most often, that’s the case...If someone refuses to engage in a spontaneous contest, we will throw challenges at him when he least expects it. If someone regularly backs out, we boot him out of the club. We know by experience that if a lifter will not take a challenge in friendly surroundings, he will fall apart in a real meet."
-Louie Simmons (legendary strength coach at Westside Barbell)
Challenge a partner to a best 2 out of 3 in takedowns after practice. Set up competitive situations with coaches and teammates on the mat- 30 second double overtime ride out scenario. Accept all challenges issued to you on the mat. If you can't respond to a challenge in the practice room, you will almost surely crumble in competition. Learn through practice (repeated exposure) how to turn it on into a competitive mindset. Your attitude to competition should be- no big deal, Let's Go!
Chris Weidman (wrestler) took the Middleweight Championship of the world from Anderson Silva because Silva failed to keep his intensity level high. Will eventually beats skill (when skill begins to lack will).
Now you may know the contents of this Mindset Monday before you read further. But before you click off, ask yourself, “How well do I apply this lesson?” Do you approach every match the same way? Is your intensity level the same in the Saturday morning matches, off-season bouts, wrestle-offs, etc. as your intensity level if you were in the State or National finals? No? Why would your intensity level ever change?
Your effort, attitude, body language, positivity, calmness- No one watching you (not that we care what anyone else thinks) should ever be able to tell if you are wrestling someone “good” or “bad,” whether you are the favorite or underdog. Every time you wrestle is an opportunity to train a consistent mindset. The wrestler who fluctuates in mindset eventually gets knocked out, like Anderson Silva. On the flip side, if you control your mind, day in and day out, you have a chance to pull off one of the greatest upsets of all time!
Mental Toughness is plain and simple- never giving up no matter what.
In my Personality Psychology class, we learned that Character is revealed during difficult times, not easy times. This may make intuitive sense to many people, but there is also a good amount of scientific research to support this idea.
You just can’t ever give up on yourself. The world will provide plenty of surprises, adversity, and difficult circumstances.
Life may knock you around, but no one can make you quit. Quitting is an intimate personal decision. Many people blame quitting on circumstances, but when it comes right down to it, it is a choice, and it is your choice.
I have a survival in the wilderness book that gives great useful information on what to do in the event of being stranded on an island, at sea, in a cave, etc. etc. They have a “Pyramid of Success in Survival” and as you would imagine, the foundation of the pyramid is the “Will to Live.”
I like to start Mental Mastery with the topic of Rationality and Unconditionally accepting yourself. Many people wonder why I do not start with Confidence or Goal Setting. It is because one day you will lose, adversity will strike, circumstances will get worse, and you will need the skills to persevere. All the Mental Skills and Physical skills are meaningless if you do not have a strong will to persist no matter what.
This probably sounds like my most preachy post. It may sound like something from a motivational speech, but this lesson is well worth revisiting.
*Read biographies of successful people. They didn’t have it easy all the time.
*Have a reason to succeed which is larger than life. Make your mission spiritual, however you may personally define spiritual.
*Write your reasons to succeed down. Read them daily.
*And finally, take some time to watch Ants. Put your foot down in their path. Watch them. They will go around it, under it, over it; they may even try to go through it. The bottom line is that nothing derails them. Have you ever seen a bug in a pool as it struggles for survival. It never lays there and gives up. There is no quit in an Ant and if you want to be successful, there can be no quit in YOU either!
Everyone gets knocked down, common people stay down, great people get up.
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