1. Becoming too much of a fan, instead of a competitor. Stop reading the papers and forums. Throw away any rankings or predictions you see. When you compete in a tournament- stop watching too much wrestling. It usually makes wrestlers more nervous, less focused, and more aware of the crowd and other external factors. Instead focus on your own performance. You are 0-0 now. Ranking and predictions mean nothing.

2. Focusing too much on winning. This adds pressure and does little to help you. Focus on scoring points and winning each position. The result will take care of itself.

3. Blaming the referee. Bad calls happen, mistakes are made and if you are in NJ you are going to get hit with stalls on top in the third period. You cannot control the ref, but you CAN control how you react to them. If you thought you had a TD, stop complaining and get another one. If you got hit with a stall on top, be creative and find a way to score back points or get another TD. Remember, “Sometimes you have to win the match two or three times”-Zeke Jones. Control the things you CAN control, your EFFORT and ATTITUDE.

4. Wrestling like you have something to defend aka wrestling not to lose. Maybe you won a district, state, or national title last season. Go after it again with the same fearlessness. Don’t let last year’s title slow you down. Take chances and pull the trigger again.

5. Not controlling everything you can control. Better Nutrition and Sleep Habits lead to less weight cutting, more energy, and a better mood. A good prematch routine helps you compete more confidently, relaxed, and focused. Don’t leave these aspects to chance. These little things win the close matches.

6. Giving any opponent too much respect. Anyone following HS or college wrestling this season should have learned that they ALL can be beat. Go after each opponent with the same intensity, regardless of his name. No one is invincible, everyone has a breaking point, ALL are vulnerable. Expect to win, believe in yourself even if no one else does. “Upsets” start in the Mind of the “underdog”. See it, believe it, achieve it.

6.5 Smoking, drugs, alcohol, dipping, etc. I wish I didn’t even have to mention this one, but unfortunately I see it all too much. In terms of performance, smoking and dipping increases heart rate and constricts blood vessels (obviously poor for endurance) and alcohol decreases testosterone. You are a fool if you think these things are going to get you closer to your postseason goals.