1. Wrestle because YOU want to. Your happiness and well being trumps success. If wrestling is not in your heart than do something else. Don't do it for other people.
2. Focus on the process not the outcome. If you keep improving each day, wins and titles will take care of themselves. If you focus only on winning matches, you will likely wrestle more cautiously and conservative. Focus on the process of winning.
3. Don't worry about what other people think. Focus on yourself and the lifestyle you want to lead to be a champion. Many people get caught up in "people pleasing" and trying to impress family, freinds, coaches and teammates. Focusing on others adds pressure and is a distraction.
4. Treat all competitions the same. Don't make any match special. Live wrestling is live wrestling. Stay out of the "fan mentality" and the "hype"- rankings, predictions, forums, track wrestling, social media, etc. They have nothing to do with competing and they add pressure and don't help you win matches.
5. Control the things you can control, forget about the things you cannot control. Things you can control:
EFFORT- 100% all the time winning or losing.
ATTITUDE- positive and composed regardless of circumstances.
EXECUTION- Be aggressive. Err on the side of being gutsy!
6. Forgive yourself quickly. Learn the lesson and move forward. Mistakes are a big part of improving so accept them and even embrace them. The most successful people have failed a lot. Spend at least 90% of your time on the solution (how to improve) and no more than 10% on the problem (why?).
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times- Bruce Lee
In the age of technology, wrestlers have so many advantages. It is easier to follow college and world wrestling, learn technique, and watch wrestlers from around the globe.
It is important though that we make proper use of this information. More isn't always better. We tell our wrestlers all the time, we would rather them have 1 or 2 really good shots and turns then to have 5 or 6 decent shots/turns.
A jack of all trades is often a master in none. When you look at the best wrestlers in America they tend to follow this rule. They are masters of a couple shots/turns. They have good clarity which breeds confidence which leads to more success.
Good examples of this would be Kyle Snyder, Cael Sanderson, Jordan Burroughs, James Green, David Taylor, John Smith, etc. We may be able to predict the takedowns these wrestlers use, but good luck stopping them.
Make sure you and your wrestlers don't get caught up trying to learn and develop every move you see on YouTube or Flowrestling. Master 1 or 2 moves from each position and you will be in great shape.
Remember depth over breadth any day in wrestling!
Competition can be a great thing but beware during preseason runs and conditioning. The number one focus needs to be improving your own conditioning as best as possible. Many times wrestlers focus on beating the guy next to him or "looking" like you are in good shape.
Lets say you are running sprints next to a group of wrestlers who you are faster than or able to outrun easily. Many wrestlers tend to do just enough work to win each run or sprint. They save energy so they can win the next or the rest of the sprints. On the surface it may look like this wrestler is doing everything right because he is winning each sprint or run. The goal however is NOT to win each sprint/run. The goal is to improve conditioning as much as possible. This can only be done by empyting the tank on each sprint.
Focus on giving an 100% effort each run and sprint regardless of what place you finish or what anyone says to you afterwards. Sometimes this may mean losing later sprints or looking spent and even throwing up. If this is what gets you in better shape, this is what you need to be doing.
This takes a lot of Mental Toughness. Its difficult to exhaust yourself. It may be embarrassing to throw up or gas out after a few hard sprints in front of your teammates and coaches. None of that matters though. The only thing that matters is that you max out your effort each workout. Its going to look ugly sometimes but it will put you in the best possible position to improve.
My high school coach Steve Giordano understood this well and communicated it regularly during our conditioning workouts. He would encourage the wrestlers leading the sprints, "Blow them away!" he used to say. In other words, real champions compete against themselves.
Don't let anyone or anything slow you down this preseason. Leave your pride at the door. Forget about how this looks to anyone else. Focus solely on giving a full effort everytime you step to the line.
JUMP LEVELS THIS PRESEASON!
1. Our medalists have a high attack rate. They are taking chances, creating scoring opportunities, and looking to score the entire match. Case in point: Jordan Burroughs up by 8 points with 30 seconds left to go in the World finals. Rather than wrestling in Defense mode, Jordan Burroughs stays on the gas and seals it with a final takedown and tech fall. Kyle Snyder, James Green, Adeline Gray and Helen Maroulis each put up big points in almost every match. Adeline Gray outscored her opponents 47-4! None of these wrestlers were looking to eek out one point wins.
Lesson: If you are successful with your high powered offense, don't change it up late in the match because you have a lead.
2. Our medalists have superb footwork. I believe footwork to be an underappreciated and undertrained skill in wrestling. While it isn't always the most fun skill to train it is one of the most important things in wrestling. It creates offense, counter offense, and scoring opportunities late in the match. Kyle Snyder has phenomenal footwork. Especially for a guy his size. Helen Maroulis was incredibly smooth with her footwork and it led to her outscoring her opponents 34-0. James Green and Jordan Burroughs can flat out move.
Lesson: Spend time each practice and each day doing stance and motionand/or footwork drills.
3. Our medalists had fun! Some may think that they had fun because they were winning. They say that they had fun because they love to compete. Jordan Burroughs and Kyle Snyder were smiling BEFORE their finals matches. Again I recommend, don't just watch the matches. Listen to their interviews as well. Jordan Burroughs said that he never smiled so much during a competition.
Lesson: The best wrestlers enjoy competing. In fact, enjoyment is a requirement of the Flow state so if you want be in the Zone during matches you have to enjoy or find ways to make it more enjoyable. Smiling is always a good start.
4. Faith is a factor. I heard Burroughs, Snyder and Maroulis talk about their faith and trusting in God's plan after their matches. This gives them a sense of peace and confidence when they compete. A lot of the top wrestlers believe and trust in a higher purpose. I don't think its a coincidence.
Lesson: Know what you believe in. Keep things in perspective.
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