The biggest Mindset mistake I saw this weekend while attending the Beast of the East was that guys were shutting down their Offense way too early.
The wrestlers who I watched make this mistake were not out of shape, they were controlling the pace of the match; however with one or two point leads going into the third period they shut down their Offense. Not surprisingly they were taken down or hit with stalling and lost. This is not a physical or technical problem, it is completely Mindset related.
In a 6 minute match, 4 minutes in is way too early to switch to Defense mode. With 1/3 of the match left, it is simply unacceptable to stop focusing on scoring points. This goes back to one of our Top 10 Biggest Mental Mistakes- Wrestling not to Lose. It is imperative to Focus on Scoring Points/Winning Positions rather than winning the match.
The wrestlers who focused on scoring more points, regardless of the score were the most successful. Nick Suriano and Johnny Sebastian of Bergen Catholic were on the constant attack scoring double digit points in most matches. David Taylor, St. John, Tony Ramos, and most of the Penn State team kept scoring points in the third period despite holding leads. This is the Mindset you need to be the very best and ultimately WIN. At some point wrestling NOT to Lose will cost you.
I am not a big statistics person. but we conducted the study on points needed to win, in order to get our wrestlers to Focus on scoring points instead of wins and losses. Score 2 points you have 58% chance of winning. If you score 5 points you have an 80% chance of winning. Put up 10 points and you have a 97% chance to win. Much better odds!
When you focus just on the win, you become complacent and stop scoring points later in the match once you hold a lead. This is a recipe for disaster. When you focus on scoring points and winning positions, the wins will come.
Tips for Wrestlers-
1. Keep scoring points in the 3rd period if you have a lead, always focus on your offense.
2. Don’t leave it in the hands of the ref or your opponent.
3. Impose YOUR will on your opponent. Your Offense!
Tip for Coaches-
1. Recognize/applaud wrestlers who continue their offensive attacks after gaining leads.
2. Don’t make it ALL about the Win. If a wrestler Wins a match but holds onto a lead for a considerable time, let them know that they wrestled NOT to lose and this is unacceptable.
3. Ditch the “A win is a win” Mentality. It will hurt them more than it helps them.