Five finals matches went into overtime and 12 out of 14 matches were decided by three or less points. The margin for error was so small in almost every finals match and in so many other matches down in Atlantic City. What was the determining factor in each match? Was it strength, speed, technique, confidence, conditioning, nutrition, awareness, luck or another factor?

It is difficult to determine exactly what made the difference in each match, but it certainly wasn’t much. This is the reason we preach a holistic approach to wrestling. You really need to be the total package and do all the little things right all the time to give yourself a fighting chance. Maybe other people can get away with doing things right only 90% percent of the time. Most people however cannot.

Nowadays it isn’t enough to simply outwork your opponent in the wrestling room. Almost everyone wrestles year round and works hard in the wrestling room. What else are you doing to create that slight edge and to win those close matches? If you think things like partying, drinking, smoking, and dipping in the off season are not going to affect you in these close matches you are a fool.

When we compete and wrestle it isn’t simply you versus your opponent. It is your lifestyle versus his/her lifestyle. Now I am not saying that the “better” man always wins. BUT at some point in your career you will be in a close match. Maybe in the state finals, maybe in the medal round, maybe to qualify for the districts or regions. Chances are you are one or two points better if you cover all bases throughout the year. It may just make the difference.

3 different teams representing 4 state finalists used our Season Mindset Program this year. All four of the finalists won, and all 3 of these teams won their state sectionals. I am not here to say that our program is the reason they won. I will tell you that these teams/wrestlers leave no stone unturned in their quest to be the best. Something has to separate these wrestlers in these close matches whether it is Strength & Conditioning, Mindset training, Nutrition, or some other factor.

It hurts to watch people fall short of their goals when they work so hard. I’ve been there and my brothers have been there. It is frustrating and even heartbreaking to lose or fall short of a goal. BUT what is even more frustrating and sad is losing because you did not perform at your potential or because you didn’t live the lifestyle that would have gave you the BEST chance to win.

Cover all bases this year. Join a wrestling club, sign up for wrestling specific strength training, work with a Mindset coach, get a nutritionist, stop drinking/smoking, get away from people who are holding you back. The margin for error is so small. Get that slight edge this off season. Live right. Make sure your lifestyle gives you the right to win. Improve your habits each day and those close battles will be yours.