Every champion is created in the practice room. How? Through the practice of every aspect of wrestling: preparation, technique, cardio, competition, strength, game planning, mindset, diet, weight cutting and visualization. Will your coach cover all of this? Most likely not so don’t shortchange your homework. Here are some pro tips on getting there:
Remember when we compete we generally perform at the same level train.
• Try new moves and push yourself though your perceived limitations. Give 100% at practice. It’s a great place to try new things without fear of losing. There are numerous stories about studs at their local club (see Spencer Lee’s story about Jason Nolf on my YouTube page) staying out on the mat for 30 or more minutes of take downs against fresh partners, pushing through exhaustion, physical and mental, trying new things to get to the next level.
• One of the most important skills in the practice room that gets over looked is learning how to lose. Learn how to lose and bounce back quickly and you have a mental advantage over kids that don’t have that skill set. Being able to bounce back and fight for 3rd place after your goals of being a champion are crushed is the essence of this. Resilience is what separates good from great at every age group and every level. It’s not just youth wrestlers who have tantrums and flame out.
• Get your cardio right. Poor conditioning is the biggest force to make a wrestler question his goals during a tough match. Throwing away a season or lifetime of goals is much harder when your brain isn’t being influenced by weak cardio. More ways to feed your mindset and Champions Mindset. The bottom line: have a plan, trust your coach and give your all during practice time.
• If you’re doing this and your results aren’t what you want get a new coach. Guys change clubs and schools all the time. You need the right fit to have the trust necessary to be your best.
• Know what your areas of strength and game plan around your strengths. Be aggressive with your game plan. Work out the details in practice. Wrestle with challenging teammates in practice and work on getting to your set up points, takedowns, breakdowns, turns and escapes and reversals. Use this experience to build your game plan. Being able to adjust your game plan while competing is critical. If you get seriously ridden before it’s your choice of position reconsider taking bottom. This can be a tough thing for an alpha male to do but it can mean the difference in winning and losing. Doubt doesn’t equal disbelief but go down that road long enough and you arrive at that destination. The opposite can be true, conceding an area of competence to an opponent might mean you’re smarter than your opponent. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
• Push the pace of your plan in practice and in visualization; see yourself breaking the spirit of your opponent. Visualize your successful match in your mind. Also see yourself overcoming mistakes and obstacles.
• Healthy diet, weight cut, post weigh in recovery, warm up and rhythm of a tournament day all need to be stress free and help you deliver a best performance. Your warm-up should make you feel good. Go through your match plan in your mind and body. Warm up for a single match should be longer and more thorough than a tournament. The thing that most kids don’t know is that conserving energy in your warm-up gets you a lower energy match. Your mind needs to be warmed up for competition. So does your blood chemistry. Just getting your heart rate isn’t enough. There is overwhelming evidence that blood chemistry and mental preparation for competition are linked.
Kyle Snyder has a very strong belief in himself.
Picture this: You’re 1 or 2 matches out from your match. Your warm up’s over and you’re waiting. This can be the most stressful time just before the match. Pressure seeps into your psyche, distractions of workout partners’ matches interrupt your attention and your opponent might be standing very close to you. I’ll take them one at a time.
1. The best way to deal with creeping anxiety just before the match is to keep physically moving, stay loose and fluid.
2. Keep visualizing your game plan. You’re as ready as you can be let the positive vibrations flow. If you want, listen to your favorite music.
3. You should be up but relaxed. Don’t get caught up in your buddy’s match, especially if it’s close. That kind of stress can negatively affect your blood chemistry. I know that lots of kids do it but that isn’t a reason to.
4. Talk about you matches after the fact. Some guys like to stare down their opponent. Don’t waste your energy. If you’re facing a quality confident opponent that shit don’t work. Even Mr. stare down Tony Ramos has dropped that act at the senior level. Save your mental energy for the mat.
The scariest wrestlers are the ones that have a great warm up, feel good, look good are confident and relaxed and can’t wait to step on the mat and get it on. The best in the world, country, state or league win these titles by being great practice wrestlers.