I got a chance to watch a lot of wrestling this weekend between the Beast of the East and Grapple at the Garden. Several of our teams and wrestlers competed in each and it was great to see them get after it.
Two themes that my brother and I have been talking a lot about the last few weeks were evident at both competitions:
1. Too many wrestlers are afraid to lose or make mistakes. They are wrestling not to lose rather than competing to win. It sounds similar but it is very different. When you wrestle not to lose you see a lot of conservative wrestling, few risks, hesitation and bluntly scared wrestlers. This is a mindset issue and needs to be addressed. One thing the greatest warriors of all time (Spartans, Samurai, Navy Seals, Aztecs, etc) have in common is that they were not afraid to die in battle. Thankfully in wrestling we don’t have to worry about dying a painful death, however, we must learn the approach of these warriors and throw out the fear of losing. Immediately you become a more fierce competitor when you throw out the fear of losing and making mistakes. When you wrestle to win you get after it, take chances, and are willing to throw the kitchen sink at your opponent. This is a much more dangerous and dreadful opponent. Wrestle to win regardless of your opponent!
2. Wrestlers need to develop more Clarity in their technique. You shake hands and the whistle blows. Where are you putting your hands? What is your dominant tie up and your “Go To” shot? Wrestlers spend so much time drilling and learning technique from coaches, videos, camps, teammates, etc. Unfortunately so much time goes wasted drilling things we never have or never will use. I made this mistake most of my career. Think of some of the best wrestlers- John Smith, Jordan Burroughs, Cael Sanderson, David Taylor, Ed Ruth, Logan Stieber. These guys are scoring most of their takedowns with the same one or two moves. The same goes with top and bottom. Stop drilling moves you will never use! This is a waste of time and slows you down in matches. Many wrestlers this weekend were moving around aimlessly and reacting instead of imposing their will. A big problem a lot of our wrestlers have is that they are thinking too much once the whistle blows. Most times its because they are unsure of their dominant tie up or takedown. The same thing goes for top and bottom. Develop clarity in the common positions of wrestling (i.e. first move on top/bottom, mat return, leg defense). You will be much more efficient with your time, think less on the mat, appear much faster, and score more points.