This weekend I attended the Maryland Coaches Convention. During my presentation I was asked for some ways to help wrestlers in dealing with losses or setbacks.
As a person who makes many mistakes, I have become very effective at recovering. Here is my mental edge:
(1) Remember God has a plan for you that is bigger than this situation. (Minimize the situation by keeping perspective).
(2) Do not let one mistake or loss cause you to make others. This is not the time to sulk, or hang your head, or begin to rush. This is the time to focus. (Very important this one, as most people fail here)
(3)Stay in the present moment.
(4) Remember your focus is guided by the questions you ask yourself. So stop looking back.
(5) Refrain from "what if" and "why" questions.
(6) Ask yourself "how can I benefit from this situation" or better yet, "what can I do to make this situation work in my favor."
Again, this is what has worked for me. Do this and you can bounce back from all mistakes and even end up benefiting because you made them.
1. He is Fanatical about Wrestling and Training. Before he stepped onto the mat for a clinic (A CLINIC NOT A MATCH), he warmed up hard for at least 30 minutes. He had sweats on and hit a full body warm up- pushups, lunges, squats, situps, supermans (lower back), and much more. He was pouring with sweat through his sweats.
2. If you haven't figured it out already the guy is INTENSE. His drilling was done at a very high pace. He talked about the importance of a good partner during what he calls COMBATIVE DRILLING. This is when the partner really makes you work for a takedown or particular position.
3. Not only is Cary Kolat a great technician, but a very detail oriented Coach/Wrestler. He went through a ton of finishes from single legs and High C's. There were so many little details that most people overlook that will make or break your Takedowns against a good opponent. He also talked about what we call Clarity in our Program- knowing your go to finishes in each position.
4. Coach Kolat is extremely organized. When he competed he said he always had workout partners lined up the day before, his workout times planned out, and his focus for each workout written out or in his head. Like John Smith says, "Wrestling Can't be routine." To Jump Levels you have to come in with a plan or a specific area of focus. This will help you improve each day.
5. We talked about Cary being Fanatical, and our 3rd Pillar for our Z-Fanatical Fitness Program is Constant Improvement. Cary and his team at North Carolina call this the 365 approach, which is essentially the same thing. This means not letting a day go by when you don't improve in some way- Mentally, Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually, Nutritionally, etc. When you compete it isn't Person vs Person, rather Lifestyle vs Lifestyle. Tom Brands preaches a similar concept to his Iowa team. Coach Kolat said strive to make little improvements daily. If you pick up one intricacy from a Single Finish today, you Improved Today! At North Carolina they focus on Constant Improvement rather than Winning and Losing. Of course the goal is always to Win, but now they praise their kids for little incremental improvement and not only Wins. So if a kid got teched last week to a wrestler, and now loses by 10 they will Focus on his Improvement rather than the Loss. From a Mindset perspective we could not agree more. Focus on what you can Control- Effort, Attitude, and Execution. Strive to Improve Everyday and the Wins will follow. It will reduce pressure, build self esteem, and ultimately lead to more Wins. Cary Kolat and North Carolina are doing its time for YOU to start making daily Improvements!
1. Never assume a certain level of Fitness/Strength. Zach talked about his experience working with Top HS, college, and World Class Wrestlers. You may assume they would all have a great foundation of Strength Training, but he has found that not to be the case. One benchmark Zach uses before focusing on weight training-Can you/your wrestler do 40 perfect pushups and at least 20 with a plate on his back? If not, forget about Power Cleans, you need to get stronger and focus on the basics first.
2. Don't focus on Complex lifts. Sometimes Simple is better! Remember simple is very different than easy. Especially at a Youth level, old school strength and conditioning trumps complexity. Push ups, sit ups, Rope climb, bodyweight squats/lunges. You will get Stronger this way and it is much safer.
3. Train Optimally, rather than Maximally or Minimally. There are very few Monsters (i.e. Brands Bros, Gable, Cary Kolat, etc.) who thrive on consistent grueling workouts. Remember that there is no substitute for Wrestling, Strength & Conditioning is a supplement. Wrestlers can benefit from lifting/strength training only 2 or 3 days a week. In fact, each workout program we received when I was a college wrestler at UPenn was a 2-3-day program preseason and in season, 4 days max in off-season. Wrestlers work harder than most athletes during each workout so can Jump Levels in 2-3 days per week.
4. Cater to specific athletes on the team. There are those Monsters I talked about before who get their Confidence from outworking their opponent. Zach recommends-Don't make them miss workouts. Allow these Fanatics to hit the gym more frequently than others. I saw this firsthand with my brother Greg, who is one of those monsters whose Confidence came from a relentless training regimen. When he was told to pull back his training, it hurt his confidence, and ultimately his wrestling performance suffered until he upped the Intensity.
5. Strength, Mindset, and Wrestling are all positively correlated. Zach believes there is a strong tie between all 3 and I agree wholeheartedly. When you get Stronger, you are more confident (thus a better Mindset). When you are more confident your performance in Wrestling increases. I saw this first hand when I competed. I was long and lanky in HS, and got much better my first year in college. When coaches/friends asked what was the biggest difference, I told them I got a lot Stronger. Therefore, my confidence grew when I wrestled. It was easier to Finish takedowns, get out on bottom, handfight, break opponents down, mat return, defense Improved and on and on. Zach is right on with this one- Strength, Mindset, & Wrestling go hand and hand. Like my dad always told me, "A stronger wrestler is a better Wrestler" - all else equal you could hardly argue that.
I am convinced that the greatest asset of Jordan Burroughs is his Mindset shaped by his Faith in God. Jordan wrestles in the moment, he is poised throughout his matches, he believes he will accomplish his goals, yet he is not afraid of losing. I believe that Faith gives you a true purpose in wrestling far beyond winning- to glorify God through your training & success and to bring yourself and others closer to Him.
Faith will also take away much of the pressure of winning and losing. Jordan Burroughs says in his recent interview (http://player.vimeo.com/video/74689603), “If I do lose, it’s just God’s sovereign plan for me to not win that match…That takes away all the pressure for me and adds a sense of peacefulness and I could go out there and compete at a high level without the fear of winning or losing.”
If you believe in God’s plan there is no reason to worry about winning or losing. This isn’t to say you embrace losing and don’t always strive to improve. Rather we should strive to train, compete, and live in a way that we are glorifying God- and this is nothing short of your best effort.
The movie Chariots of Fire depicts this theme as well (based on a true story). If you haven’t seen it go and rent it tonight. Olympic Champion Eric Liddell trains, competes, and lives for the Lord. He uses his gifts as a runner to glorify God and brings other to Him. Eric Liddell, like Jordan Burroughs, finds peace in his sport because of his Faith. They keep an ultimate perspective, not focused on winning or losing, but on showing God’s great power through the way they compete. Faith, Mindset, & Wrestling go hand in hand. Wrestle with Faith, Wrestle for the Lord!
5 of my favorite & most effective tips to make you feel unstoppable before you wrestle
1.Drill hard with a partner for 30 seconds about 2 minutes before you step on the mat.
2.Do 2 minutes of deep breathing in a quiet room when you’re on double deck.
3.Warm-up with music that gives you a good feeling not music that gets you too amped.
4.Have a detailed and specific pre-match routine that includes elements of the above items
5.Practice your pre-match routine 3 days a week to develop empowering pre-match thoughts & emotions.
ANXIETY AND PERFECTIONISM IN HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLERS
Master’s Thesis, Springfield College, MA, USA firstname.lastname@example.org
Levels of anxiety can influence athletes in performance settings. Cognitive anxiety is the internal response of an individual to increased anxiety characterized by worry, negative self-evaluation, and negative expectations about performance. Cognitive anxiety has been shown to be related to the performance of an athlete. Perfectionism is a tendency characterized by perfectionistic personality traits and cognitive preoccupation with perfectionistic outcomes. Anxiety and perfectionism are positively correlated with one another and are associated with diminished performances. The study was designed to explore the relationship between perfectionism and anxiety, in high school wrestlers (N = 120). The subjects were 120 high school wrestlers participating in a summer wrestling tournament. Anxiety was measured by the CSAI-2R. (from: Cox, R. H., Martens, M. P., & Russell. (2003). Measuring anxiety in athletics: the revised competitive state anxiety inventory-2) Subscales of Anxiety on the CSAI-2R include State Cognitive Anxiety, State Somatic Anxiety, and State Self-Confidence. The Frost Multi-Dimensional Perfectionism Scale (FMPS; Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990) delineates perfectionism into six different subscales in which one can strive for perfection: Personal Standards, Organization, Concern Over Mistakes, Doubts About Actions, Parental Criticism, and Parental Expectations. Wrestlers completed the instruments one hour prior to competition in a tournament. Significant (p < .05) positive linear relationships were found between correlations of State Somatic Anxiety and Concern Over Mistakes (r = .32), Parental Criticism (r = .22), and Doubts About Actions (r = .29). State Cognitive Anxiety was positively related with Concern Over Mistakes, Doubt About Actions, Parental Criticism, Parental Expectations, and Personal Standards. State Self-Confidence was positively related with Personal Standards and Organization. The relationship between State Cognitive Anxiety and Concern Over Mistakes was particularly strong as over 25% of the variance was accounted for exclusively by the two variables.
Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficients for subscales on Anxiety with the subscales of Perfectionism.
Variables r r² p
State Somatic Anxiety
Concern Over Mistakes .32 .10 < .00
Personal Standards .13 .02 > .05
Parental Expectations .18 .03 > .05
Parental Criticism .22 .05 < .05
Doubts About Actions .29 .08 < .05
Organization .10 .01 >.05
State Cognitive Anxiety
Concern Over Mistakes .53 .28 < .05
Personal Standards .23 .05 < .05
Parental Expectations .34 .12 < .05
Parental Criticism .40 .16 <.05
Doubts About Actions .42 .18 < .05
Organization .05 .00 >.05
Concern Over Mistakes -.06 .00 > .05
Personal Standards .33 .11 < .05
Parental Expectations .12 .01 > .05
Parental Criticism -.05 .00 > .05
Doubts About Actions -.05 .00 > .05
Organization .20 .04 < .05
1. Constantly evolve. You can never rest on your laurels or assume you know everything. Wrestling cannot assume it is safe because it’s the oldest sport. Same thing goes for you, always seek the next level in technique and competition. Get better everyday!
2. Don’t ignore your weaknesses. Wrestling must focus on promotion, inclusion, and community. The more we support these efforts, the better the sport will be. What are your weaknesses? When, where, and how exactly will you put in the work to improve them?
3. Strive to always turn a bad situation into a positive. What started as an outcry, united the world in a common pursuit. Many terrible rules improved because the possibility of elimination. When you lose or make a mistake, how exactly do you bounce back? Have a plan how you will let mistakes go, accept the loss, and work on improving this moment.
4. Get involved in the wrestling community. Wrestling is an individual sport, so we often keep to ourselves. During these trying times, the best wrestlers and organizations in the world reached out to one another for support. In your wrestling career, don’t leave this to your parents and coaches. Actively seek out competition, coaches, information, videos, workout partners etc.
5. Never Quit on yourself and your dream. Wrestling’s back was against the wall. It was an uphill battle. And you know, it’s funny that my non-wrestling friends all thought the sport was going to be cut, while my wrestling friends and those in the community remained overwhelmingly positive about our chances. Top wrestlers remain optimistic even when normal people become overwhelmed and quit. Never give up on your dream. Don’t think like average people. Think like a real wrestler.
(1) Turn your phone on airplane mode. You don't need texts when you're warming up
(2) Choose songs that put you in you're OPTIMAL mindset
(3) Don't use songs that get you too fired up that will make you waste energy
(4) Don't be afraid to throw in easier songs to help you relax
(5) Include fun songs to make you smile, laugh, and remind you to have fun
The past few weeks, I spoke of fueling yourself with optimal fuel. Obviously, you must fuel with proper Exercise and Nutrition, but also Mindset. Your Mindset fuel is your WHY. WHY you want the goal that you set. Your WHY powers all the decisions you make and actions you take. Z-Fanatical endorses 3 Pillars of Fitness. 3 philosophies to live by. 3 WHYs- Intensity, Consistency, and Constant Improvement. Today is the Pillar #2- Consistency. By the way each of the 3 pillars is equally important. In no way do these numbers reflect a rank order. Just as each column of the White House or ancient Greek Temple must be the same size to balance the roof, so too are the pillars to balance Fanaticism.
I define consistency as- prioritizing your action plan each day. A priority is like sky diving and making sure you pull the pin to release the parachute. You would not forget to do that or make some excuse to procrastinate until tomorrow, or the New Years (Hint- start today). You make sure you pull the pin. My former wrestling coach John Sacchi once told our team, “If you don’t have discipline, you don’t have a damn thing in this world.”
Notre Dame’s football coach was asked in the beginning of ;ast season what he felt his chances were for bringing the Fighting Irish to a National Championship game. He told them, we need to first talk about having a consistent team before talking about a national championship team. Discipline and consistency both have to do with having the same high level of expectation and performance day in and day out. Dabblers work really hard for a short period of time then stop, than pick it up again. True Masters avoid these peaks and valleys (or at least minimize their effect) by taking consistent action. Life circumstances do come up and can derail you from your action plan. But this should not happen more than 20% of the time.
If you are not consistent with your action plan at least 80% of the time, these are not extenuating circumstances. They are your lack of to planning ahead. If you get nothing else form today’s lesson, (1) Write down a specific Exercise, Nutrition, and Mindset Plan. Actually put the pen to paper and write it out. DO NOT TAKE THIS STEP LIGHTLY. Reputable psychological professionals will all tell you the same thing- writing things down increase your chances of compliance. Aren’t you reading this to increase your chances of success. Be sure to go all the way with it and write it down. Mindset breeds consistency.
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