Competition can be a great thing but beware during preseason runs and conditioning. The number one focus needs to be improving your own conditioning as best as possible. Many times wrestlers focus on beating the guy next to him or “looking” like you are in good shape.

Lets say you are running sprints next to a group of wrestlers who you are faster than or able to outrun easily. Many wrestlers tend to do just enough work to win each run or sprint. They save energy so they can win the next or the rest of the sprints. On the surface it may look like this wrestler is doing everything right because he is winning each sprint or run. The goal however is NOT to win each sprint/run. The goal is to improve conditioning as much as possible. This can only be done by empyting the tank on each sprint.

Focus on giving an 100% effort each run and sprint regardless of what place you finish or what anyone says to you afterwards. Sometimes this may mean losing later sprints or looking spent and even throwing up. If this is what gets you in better shape, this is what you need to be doing.

This takes a lot of Mental Toughness. Its difficult to exhaust yourself. It may be embarrassing to throw up or gas out after a few hard sprints in front of your teammates and coaches. None of that matters though. The only thing that matters is that you max out your effort each workout. Its going to look ugly sometimes but it will put you in the best possible position to improve.

My high school coach Steve Giordano understood this well and communicated it regularly during our conditioning workouts. He would encourage the wrestlers leading the sprints, “Blow them away!” he used to say. In other words, real champions compete against themselves.

Don’t let anyone or anything slow you down this preseason. Leave your pride at the door. Forget about how this looks to anyone else. Focus solely on giving a full effort everytime you step to the line.