You have a choice each moment on the mat, in school and in life. Are you going to be the Predator or the Prey?
Think about the Animal Kingdom. There are Predator animals and their Prey. In college at the University of Pennsylvania I took a class in Animal Behavior. We learned that animals generally considered Prey had evolved to have eyes on the sides of their head or further apart than predators. This is to improve peripheral vision so that they can see everything that is going on around them. It is a way to protect themselves.
Predator animals have eyes much closer together. They don't need to be as concerned with the world around them. They need to have tunnel vision to attack their prey.
I use this as an analogy for wrestling and life. We have a choice. Be a Predator wrestler or a Prey wrestler?
The Prey is concerned with everything around them. What weight is this guy wrestling? What are my friends going to say if I lose? What do I look like when I am out there? What am I ranked or seeded? Who will I wrestle if I win or lose?
The Prey is worried about all of these external factors. Things they have no control over, things that won't help them and most importantly things that don't matter.
A Predator wrestler doesn't care to look around at these external factors. He/She makes decisions based on what they believe is best regardless of others. They focus on the things they can control. They put forth a full effort and are aggressive regardless of rankings, seeds, score and outcome. The predator wrestler doesn't look ahead, doesn't look around, doesn't look back. They focus solely on the task at hand. The wrestler in front of them.
This postseason you have the same choice. Predator or Prey. Are you going to look around at what other people are doing? Fans? The crowd? Other wrestlers in your weight class? Predictions/Seeds/Rankings? That is a Prey mentality.
Be the wrestler who acts like a Predator. Focus on what you have to do to be successful. Tune out your opponents results, ranking, predictions and all the hype. Use tunnel vision, stop caring about what is going on around you and focus all your energy on wrestling aggressively from start to finish.
1. Throw out the word Perfection. Good enough is good enough. There is no perfect match or perfect opportunity for a takedown or turn. When it looks good go for it! If you wait for the "perfect opportunity" you are going to miss a ton of scoring opportunities and leave things to chance. Gene completed his thesis on Perfectionism and Anxiety. The research indicated that the more perfectionistic wrestlers were the more anxious they were before a match. Perfect doesn't exist, Pull the Trigger every match!
2. Recharge your battery during the day and in between rounds. Think of your cell phone. You wake up after a full charge at 100%. As the day moves along your battery starts to lose juice if it isn't charged. A human is no different. We have limited energy. When you think about wrestling the entire day, talk about it, worry about the outcome, think about your opponent, etc. you wear out your battery faster than any physical training. You need to create a plan to recharge your battery during the week and in between rounds at a tournament.
3. Develop clarity in your technique and common positions. Know exactly what you want to do when the whistle blows. Where are you putting your hands? What is your go to takedown? What positions do you want to be in? What positions do you want to avoid? Have a plan. We want to be able to Flow out there but having a plan will help us impose our will from start to finish. Hone in on your strengths and find ways to get there during your matches.
If you want to be successful in this sport you have to have a blatant disregard for rankings. Does the higher ranked wrestler get spotted a few points? Do they get to start with a leg? Do they get a gun and you get a knife?
Make sure you wrestle the opponent and not their ranking. No one can bring their medals on the mat with them. You gotta go out and prove it every day. No one wears an S on their chest. And even if he does find his Kryptonite. Everyone is vulnerable everyone is capable of being beat. Stop giving a darn who you wrestle or what they are ranked. Wrestle aggressively and focus on the two things you can always control: Effort & Attitude.
Mindset Tip- Write down 100 times "I don't give a darn who I wrestle"
As we move into the postseason wrestling becomes more and more mental. Two of the most common mindset issues are beginning to surface to more and more. They were likely there all along but many people did/do nothing about it.
(1) Wrestlers not REALLY believing they will accomplish their goals.
Its easy to tell someone in April that they are going to win the state or national tournament next year. But as we approach March it is clear that many wrestlers never deep down believed that they would. Confidence is no quick fix. If you don't work on building confidence you will not build the confidence you need for March. Hard work isn't going to cut it. Everyone works hard at a certain level. There has to be other solutions. Do the mindset exercises and internalize that not only are you capable of winning but you will Win.
(2) Wrestlers NOT dealing well with Pressure. Again in April its easy to say that you are going to work so hard that it won't matter next year. As we approach March wrestlers are starting to realize that is does matter. Wrestlers are letting the pressure drain their emotional battery. They aren't even stepping on the mat near 100%. Its sad to see. Many wrestlers do NOT have the right perspective going into the postseason. Put the pressure on your opponents not on yourself!
I said it before. The best time to start mindset training was a year ago. The next best time is now.
Mindset Tip- Write down a list of your best matches and practices. Every day make a list of the things you did well. Confidence is all about what we focus on.
MISS A MINDSET MONDAY CALL?