As wrestling season enters its final weeks for most competitors it’s important to keep the focus on the competition and not get distracted by everything else around you. Wrestling season can be grueling, spread out over 4+ months with multiple holidays, weather changes and school breaks that can knock someone out of a training routine. As seasons start to come to an end, it can be easy for a wrestler to start looking ahead to springtime, the next sport, or “next season”. After all the work that has been put in for success for this season, don’t lose focus now!
1. Focus on what you can control.
When wrestlers into the championship series of conference, district and state competitions the arenas fill with more fans than usual and the pressure from the outside can crush even the best wrestler. By staying focused on the things a wrestler can control; weight, conditioning, training, warm-up, staying away from activities that would keep them off the mat, working with their coach on a game plan, a wrestler can keep focus on the task at hand both during competition and the days and weeks leading up to it.
2. Stay away from Fan Mentality.
There is a host of things that can pull focus off of finishing strong at this point in the season. “Bracketology” begins to happen and wrestlers and their entourage begin a mass studying of names, records, and who beat who comparisons. In my opinion, this only pulls the focus away from things that can be controlled by a wrestler. Although you want to be smart and possibly know a few tendencies of your opponent, in the end, that person will have two shoes, a singlet, and headgear just like you! Records at this point don’t matter. Every year people with great records don’t even qualify for the biggest tournaments, and people with below .500 records turn it on and walk away with medals. Distancing a wrestler from the message boards, the bracket talkers, and ranking board experts helps wrestlers focus on themselves and what they can do for success.
3. Stay focused on your Purpose and find time to give yourself Mental Breaks.
As I think about state and district competitions as both a competitor, a coach and an observer as a table worker and fan it is easy to let the mind wander during the event and forget why you are there. As you wrestle one match in a day, or have 3-4 hours to wait before the next big one it’s easy to think about what flavor of dippin’ dots you are going to get when it’s all over, about that cute person of the opposite sex you talked to, about the fishing you can’t wait to start doing when the weather warms up and the list goes on. Sometimes these can be a welcomed mental break but don’t forget the purpose of your presence at the tournament. “Get Horizontal” is a term I heard used once for wrestlers to get away from the tournament mentally but also not get distracted by the things going on in the arena.
4. Trust in your preparation
During these final matches wrestlers should focus on putting themselves in a good place mentally by training on their strengths, being confident in that they are capable of competing with anyone, eating well even if they are watching their weight, getting good sleep, taking care of injuries, and working with their coach on a game plan for success on the mat. With a proper mental focus at this point in the year, it is possible to edge opponents who have lost focus and are simply trying to survive the season. Trust in your preparation and stick with your tried and true pre match routine.
Don’t lose focus now, all of that off-season work, conditioning over the last few months, early morning workouts and extra drilling is about to pay off. Control what you can control and finish strong!