1. Stop cutting weight!
The number one reason for burnout in the sport of wrestling is that wrestler’s are sick of cutting weight. We have worked with so many wrestlers who were ready to quit simply because they felt they needed to make a certain weight class or because they were sick of cutting weight. Most Rec wrestlers should not be cutting more than 2 lbs. It may not seem like a big deal now but you could rest assure it will be once they are in high school or college.
2. Realize that winning doesn’t make you a better wrestler. Improving makes you a better wrestler.
Too much emphasis is placed on winning and records in American wrestling. Many wrestlers and parents judge improvement based on number of wins, winning percentage or what they placed in a tournament. I would rather my wrestler lose more matches and place lower in different tournaments if he/she improved more and enjoyed competing. We see this a lot with our college wrestlers. They come in to college with the expectation that they need to wrestle the lowest weight possible to be successful. Then the whole season they focus on weight management rather than on improvement. Maybe they crack the lineup and have a few more wins but this actually hurts them tremendously for the rest of their career. The following year they are not nearly as good as they would have been had they focused each day on getting better. You always need to keep your end goal in mind. You may be helping yourself today but killing your performance down the line. Cutting weight and winning doesn’t make you a better wrestler, getting better each day does.
3. Develop skills instead of learning a million moves.
I believe too much time is spent learning new technique at the rec level. Technique is essential don’t get me wrong. But technique alone won’t be enough at higher levels. You need to have physical and mental skills to be successful in HS, college and beyond. Wrestlers should spend more time improving different skills- footwork, body awareness, flexibility, active hips, etc. Then there are the mental skills which often go completely under the radar- dealing with pressure, bouncing back from losses and setbacks, confidence, mental toughness, etc. Focus on these skills and the rest will become much easier.
4. Depth over Breadth any day of the week.
Again wrestlers now learn so much technique at such a young age. Now look at the best wrestlers in the country and the world. Do they hit dozens of flashy moves each match? No. The best wrestlers are usually just a little better at executing the basics then other wrestlers. They are more fundamentally sound and have great positioning. Jordan Burroughs will take you down with a double leg. David Taylor and Cael Sanderson will take you down with an ankle pick. Logan Stieber will hit a sweep single on you. No surprises not a ton of flash. You are much better off getting REALLY good at one or two moves/positions then learning 100 moves in each position. Depth over Breadth all day every day!
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