This weekend's dual between Iowa and Minnesota along with Super Bowl 51 clearly proved that there is no lead large enough to justify pumping the brakes on your offense, regardless of the sport.
#1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) was trailing 8-2 going into the third period against the #6 wrestler. With a win seemingly out of reach, Gilman not only put up 8 points in the first 57 seconds of the third period, but pinned his opponent in dominant fashion. A few hours later, the Patriots were down by 25 and responded with 31 unanswered points to beat the Falcons in overtime during Super Bowl 51.
Without taking anything away from the Patriots or Gilman's efforts or talent, we must ask - did they simply mount amazing comebacks or did their opponents also pay the price for competing "not to lose" when they had a big lead?
Let's think about the animal kingdom for a second. When a predator animal (lions, tigers, bears) sinks its teeth into its prey, does it slow down and cause just enough damage to get the job done, or does it tear their prey to pieces? In battle, could you imagine great warriors like the Spartans or the Vikings slowing down their attack on the enemy just because they were winning? Absolutely not! Predator animals, just like warriors, will always go for the kill and never stop until the job is done! As athletes, and especially as wrestlers, we have to give 100% effort for the entire time we're on the mat, no matter how big of a lead we have. We must always be a predator on the mat, looking to score from the first whistle to the last.
Rather than pumping the brakes or competing not to lose, Gilman and the Patriots put their foot on the gas.
When Brady was asked how they pulled it off, he attributed it to his team's, "mental toughness," and focusing on "one play at a time." Gilman, like Brady, didn't try to force anything that wasn't there. They stayed relaxed under the pressure of being down big and relentless in their effort to score the next point, which amounted to 39 unanswered points between them.
How can we avoid falling into the trap of slowing down wrestling not to lose when we have a lead? Simple. Don't stop scoring and put YOUR foot on the gas until the match is over or you break your opponent. The best way to hold a lead is to build on it, one score at a time.
"If there's time on the clock, there is time to score"
- Damion Hahn
(Article written by Coach Mike Moor)
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