You can learn so much from watching athlete interviews after they compete. Rutgers 133lber and Big Ten Champ Nick Suriano has a pretty solid mindset, but he knows it isn’t perfect. The best athletes aren’t afraid to take a hard look in the mirror at themselves to find the areas they need to improve on to reach their goals. The best athletes learn from wins and losses and are always looking to grow.


Many of the comments Suriano made during his interviews with Flowrestling after his semifinals and finals matches at the BIG10 Championship jumped out at me, because they included some of the ideas and principles that we teach at Wrestling Mindset. Here are a few of his ideas and comments that show his strongest “mental muscles”:


  • In about nine minutes of total interview time Suriano said he was grateful, blessed or thanked God, about seven times. He was grateful to be healthy and grateful to be there competing. The first mindset principle of Wrestling Mindset is “I am thankful for the opportunity to wrestle.” The Rutgers 133lber had a great perspective, that it was a privilege not a right to have been able to compete at BIG10s.  


  • Another theme in Suriano’s mindset is that he looks at everyone that steps on the mat across from him as a worthy opponent and doesn’t give them too much or too little respect. Here are a few of his comments to that effect: “These are all competitors.” “You cannot overlook anybody.” “You can’t sleep on anybody.”


  • He also realized importance of consistently looking to score (even though he didn’t do it the whole tournament). He said he wasn’t happy with his performance in the finals even though he won because he could’ve done more with his hand-fighting and could’ve scored more points. “I was looking to win, that was my problem.” “Holding off to win was my problem.” You can get yourself in trouble by wrestling to win instead of wrestling to dominate. Wrestlers at every level blow leads in the final seconds of matches frequently because they just try to hang on. Suriano was blessed that he wasn’t one of them last weekend.


  • By commenting several times on his lack of aggressiveness, Suriano showed that he isn’t afraid to critique himself and look at his weaknesses. The best competitors always look to grow and always evaluate their performances.


  • One more Suriano quote from his interview after the finals shows one of the strong points of his mindset: “Don’t ever quit no matter how many people are counting you out, it could be your own family, your own friends…”  He has had a lot of ups and downs in his college wrestling career, but Suriano continues to move forward, ignoring those who doubt him.

I am grateful to have seen Suriano’s interviews from BIG10s, it’s always cool to be able to get inside the minds of elite athletes and see where they are strong and where they can still grow. Many parts of Nick Suriano’s mental game are strong and some are not, but he knows it. If he does something to make a change and work on those weaker areas in his mind his success will only increase.