1. Replace the word “Defense” with the words “Counter Offense”.
When our opponent attack’s us the majority of wrestlers automatically think defense. The best wrestlers in the world think counter offense. The problem with the word defense is that it automatically puts us in a non-aggressive and hesitant mental state of mind which results in not scoring points. This was very evident in Gilman’s match against his opponent from Japan. Gilman was in on several shots but his opponent scored points. The legendary coach Dan Gable coined the phrase that best fits this scenario. “We shoot, we score and they shoot we score”. John Smith also referred to this several times during his commentary as “counter attacks”.
2. Don’t allow the official the opportunity to decide the outcome of the match.
This was very evident throughout the course of the entire event with the crazy antics the wrestlers from other countries consistently rely on. One great example was in Kendrick Maple’s loss to the Japan opponent when it appeared to be very clear that Maple scored the takedown before time expired. However, the call was challenged and reversed which ultimately resulted in a loss for Maple. John Smith referred to this several times as making sure you are always creating a sense of urgency by looking to attack and score points at all times no matter what the score is or how much time is on the clock. If your focus entering the match is to score as many points as possible it won’t matter if the official makes one bad call that doesn’t go in your favor.
3. Simplify your focus on factors that are only under your control.
This reinstates the Predator Mindset that we refer to continuously within the Wrestling Mindset Program. The factors that are always under your control are your attitude, effort and aggressiveness. David Taylor mentioned this in his post-match interviews several times. Taylor stated that he was only focusing on his attitude and effort before and during his matches. Continue to focus on the performance factors that are directly under your control instead of worrying about the outcome or various elements outside of your control and the results will take care of themselves. This concept also reinstates Wrestling Mindset Principle #2, which is “I am aggressive and relentless”.
4. Always be thankful for the opportunity to wrestle.
Kyle Snyder and several other successful wrestlers speak about this all of the time. The opportunity to compete in the great sport of wrestling is often over looked. It doesn’t matter if you’re a youth wrestling competing in a local tournament or an Olympic level wrestler competing in the World Cup. This also reinstates Wrestling Mindset Principle #1 which is “I am thankful for the opportunity to wrestle” which we have all of the teams we work with recite before and after each team workshop. Wrestlers don’t have to look too far in today’s world to find individuals that would love to trade places with them.
5. Have a game plan to score early and often.
Many wrestlers wait until the end of the period or until they are losing to attack. Zeke Jones, USA Men’s Freestyle Coach and Arizona State Head Coach conducted a study based on the wrestler who scores first in the match in relation to the outcome. His results showed that 85% of matches won were by the wrestler who scored first in the match. Burroughs, Taylor and Snyder were great examples of wrestlers who put this exact game plan into action during the World Cup by aggressively looking to score points no matter what the score was or how much time was left in the period or match.
Wrestling Mindset is designed to build life champions. On the mat, in the classroom and in life. It is the number 1 program in the world for wrestlers, systematically designed to improve performance, confidence and mental toughness on and off the mat.
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