Lou Holtz once said, "You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose." Somewhere in between the truth lies.
I believe that the "a wins a win" mentality (although usually mentioned to to lift a wrestler's spirit) is perhaps the most harmful phrase for a wrestler's growth mindset and development.
Below are 5 reasons why the "a wins a win" mentality is hurting your performance:
1. If a win is a win then a loss is a loss. Ever wrestle a really good match but still lose? All losses are NOT equal. Neither are all wins.
2. Wrestler's with this mentality tend to get more nervous and tense. Nearly all of our wrestlers have reported feeling more loose and relaxed when focusing on factors within their control (effort and attitude). An outcome centered approach shifts the focus from the moment to the future. Focusing on your effort and attitude will keep you in the present moment, which is infinitely more beneficial.
3. When you win you often fail to learn important lessons (technically, tactically, mentally, etc) that you may have otherwise learned. When you place your focus on your effort & attitude instead of wins and losses, wrestlers tend to learn lessons from EACH match rather than just losses.
4. Complacency with a win prevents optimal performance. Wrestler's who focus only on winning have little incentive to blow an opponent away. I have seen it too often where a dominant wrestler shuts it down in the second or third period because they have a big enough lead to win the match. I encourage wrestlers to reframe their idea of success: From winning to competing each match with an all out effort and positive attitude despite circumstances. That is how you will get the most out of yourself.
5. Wrestlers will not seek better competition. If too much emphasis is placed on winning the incentive to wrestle, nonetheless go after better competition is minimal. Wrestlers looking to preserve their records or seeds infrequently seek the best challenge possible. I want my athletes to forget about their records, their seeds, and to go after the challenge every chance they get. Win lose or draw this will prepare them better for the future.
I can go on and on. Let's stop saying and most importantly stop believing that a win is a win.
Wrestlers who are able to look beyond wins and losses, and towards growth and improvement WILL become tomorrow's champions.
Stop over complicating things. Stop making excuses. Success (although not easy) is simple. Here are the 3 steps that will guarantee lead to greater success. No shocker that these are the 3 pillars of Wrestling Mindset:
1. Intensity- Whether you are running, lifting, wrestling, or even stretching your intensity should always be through the roof. This simply means doing whatever you are doing at the highest level possible. Everyone is at a different level, but you should always be pushing to your personal threshold. This means no holding back and certainly no going through the motions.
2. Consistency- I tell everyone that before we start talking about championships we better start talking about consistency. I define consistency as prioritizing your action plan EACH DAY. Dabblers work hard for a short period of time, then stop then start again when they feel like it. Dabblers never reach the pinnacle in their sport or career. Consistency entails training at an intense level day in and day out even when you don't feel like it. Correction, especially when you don't feel like it. True masters/elite champions avoid these peaks and valleys. They find ways to workout even when they don't feel like or don't have optimal conditions.
3. Constant Improvement- Put simply, you don't let a day in your life go by where you don't improve in some way: physically, technically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, nutritionally, and on and on. I learned at a young age from my dad that the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. There is always something you can be doing to get better. When you can't train any harder find out new ways to train smarter. And when you found the most efficient ways of doing something do them more intensely.
There you have it: Intensity, Consistency & Constant Improvement. Take that philosophy into wrestling, school, business, and your personal relationships and you will become unstoppable and even more importantly a much better you.
On the surface yesterday's Toughness Tuesday challenge along with last week's had nothing to do with wrestling. Yesterday's challenge was to go out and meet as many strangers as possible and to record their names. Last week, the challenge was to take a 5 minute shower as cold as possible.
I wrongly assumed that everyone would see the parallels between these non-wrestling challenges and wrestling until my mom asked me why the heck we were having people take a freezing cold shower and meet strangers.
So how exactly does initiating a conversation with a stranger or taking a cold shower make you a better wrestler?
We are in the business of helping people get comfortable being uncomfortable.
It is uncomfortable to push through a wrestling match when you are dead tired. It is uncomfortable wrestling off a teammate that is your best friend. It is uncomfortable trying to sleep when you are cutting weight before a championship competition.
The same goes with each of our Toughness Tuesday challenges. It is uncomfortable taking a freezing cold shower, starting a conversation with a stranger, or holding a 5 minute plank.
The bottom line is that you need to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Adversity will strike in matches, in your training and in life. The best wrestlers and athletes have learned to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
Every Toughness Tuesday is just another opportunity to build Mental Toughness & Confidence in the way you train and live. Do it consistently and you will start becoming more comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
Is cutting weight going to help or hurt you?
Fortunately, there have been many studies done to answer your question. We have all heard teammates, coaches, parents, and friends glorify how low their percentage of body fat was during wrestling season. Few people challenge these people and ask if this was the optimal move for them. Could've they done better with a higher percentage of body fat. As always, we will default to looking at the very best wrestlers in the world.
Here is the average percentage of body fat for each of the studies:
*2010 World/European championship, 92 participants- 10.3% for lightweights, 11% for middleweights
*1997 US World Team, 10 participants: 7.6%, 6.5% excluding the heavyweight
*2011 Elite Junior Iranians, 70 participants- 10.6%
*Exercise Physiology Textbook Studies: 8.4%
*International Journal of Wrestling Science Recommendation: 7-9%
These are just some facts based on recent studies.
At the end of the day, if you believe a certain weight class is best for you then it is the best weight class for you. Your perception is your reality. Once you make a choice you need to treat it and honestly believe that it is the best thing possible for you. If you cannot do this with your weight class, it is time to reconsider.
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