Maybe you suffered an injury this season that kept you inactive for a while, maybe you lost to several opponents that you know you are better than. None of that matters at this point! In fact, the only thing that matters and will directly effect your postseason success is the way that you interpret these events (injuries, losses, illness, etc.).

Lets take two wrestlers who suffered similar losses to opponents they “should have” beat. One wrestler interprets this loss as a sign that they are not improving and that they are in a “funk”. The other wrestler views this loss as the best thing that could happen to them. They learn a technical lesson from the match, they use it as motivation, it helps them focus, and so on. Zahid Valencia is a good example of this. After he lost a match early last season to Mark Hall, he used that as fuel and it was probably the best thing that could have happened to him. Zahid came back to end his season by beating Hall for an NCAA title.

Let’s look at two wrestlers who were sidelined with injuries for a few weeks/months during the season. One wrestler interprets this injury as huge setback. “I lost too much time, my shoulder is holding me back, I will never be healthy again” and so on. Maybe they self handicap and use this as an excuse for the rest of the season. Another wrestler looks at the injury and “time off” as the best thing that could of happened to them. They say things like, “I really benefited from the time off, that was a well needed break, I got to fully recover and grow stronger, this injury allowed me to step back and add perspective to my career, I’m a better wrestler because of the injury.”

Whether the loss or the injury ACTUALLY is the best thing for you and your career is irrelevant. All that REALLY matters is how you interpret the situation. There’s a common saying “Perception is 90% of Reality.” Without a doubt this applies to wrestling as well. The way you perceive an event is 90% of reality.

If you believe a loss or an injury made you better or stronger, then it probably did or will. Conversely, if you think a loss or an injury is going to hold you back or hurt your performance, than it probably will. Injuries, losses, and other “setbacks” are only negatives if you view them as such.

At this point in the season, you need to believe that everything that happened to you throughout the season and your career is the BEST thing that could have happened to you. Any injury or loss or sickness, is part of your unique training that will only make you stronger!

Mindset Tip for wrestlers struggling with confidence from previous losses or injuries: Make a long list of other wrestlers who suffered losses and injuries during the season, who came back stronger and won district, state, or national titles. Do some research if you have to, but you’ll find that you aren’t the only one in this situation. Many others have comeback successfully, why not you? Start interpreting “setbacks” as your own unique story and training that is making you stronger!