When it comes to making tough decisions, one must overcome fear to do so. For some, preparation overcomes any doubt, for others, not so much. Having to make a tough decision can lead to hesitation, which could lead to negative results. Think of the wrestler that say’s he’s AFRAID to take a shot.
Is he really afraid of “taking the shot” or the outcome he deals with AFTER he decides to shoot…?
More often than not, it’s the outcome… LOSING!
Getting stretched out, getting countered, getting scored on, etc. That’s what he’s afraid of.
How to overcome this FEAR…?
Start with drilling with proper form, using basic setups with a high percentage shot (single / high crotch / double) adding at least 2-3 finishes. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition… Keeping everything simple. Doing the common basics of wrestling, UN-COMMONLY well. Over and over again.
Visualizing a positive outcome from every position. Picturing in your mind your first take-down. Seeing the ref motion “TWO”, or even counting back points. Visualizing your hand getting raised… That sort of thing.
Having a supporting cast (parents, coaches, teammates, etc.) that believe in your abilities and helps with positive reinforcements that encourages success is a must.
In the practice room, intensity is usually high. Prepare for progress first, not perfection. Perfection may not be necessary when it comes to getting your hand raised. Having confidence in your positions is what it takes.
What about the wrestler that’s afraid of WINNING… Is that even possible?
Yes… We’ve all seen it happen. Little Johnny is taking it to the returning State Champ. Wrestling lights out… Johnny’s up 8-5 heading into the 3rd period… then proceeds to give up an escape, then a take-down, then 3 near-fall and loses 11-8!
I’m guessing all wrestlers can speak from experience on this one. We’ve all been there.
Being afraid of WINNING might be the toughest FEAR to overcome. But it will happen by continuing to work on doing the common basics of wrestling, UN-COMMONLY well. Ultimately building an un-breakable BELIEF system that is no longer self-destructible.
I remember my ground-breaking moment that pushed me past all the feelings that haunted me in the past. It was my sophomore year during a dual match against Claymont. I was competing in the 112 lb weight class and had one of Claymont’s best. Chuck Grandison, the returning Division II State Runner-up. Just 4 weeks earlier, I lost to the Division I State Champion Mike Elsass from North Canton 9-7. I was up 7-6 going into the 3rd and couldn’t believe it… within seconds, I lost control on top, gave up an escape point and a take down and lost by 2. The feeling of losing that match wasn’t gone at this point. I remember it still today. Against Claymont, I had convinced myself, it wasn’t going to happen again. We shook hands, I scored first, then scored again with 2 back points. Got away in the second period and scored again. Heading into the 3rd winning 7-2, Chuck chose down. A very similar position I was in against the best in the state. This time, instead of losing control on top, I stayed focused and took care of business. I set up a nice cradle, secured it and was able to finish the match majoring the State Runner Up 10-2. After that match, I started believing in myself even more. I started to think I was pretty good. All the work, the extra training and support around me was starting to show up in big matches.
Remember, Belief will always come before results… even in the dictionary.
There is one more FEAR that shows up every now and then. It’s not an easy fix either. In college, I faced this one head on. Fortunately for me, I had a coach that recognized it and helped me conquer the fear of getting tired.
I’ve admitted it to many, as humbling as it was for me to do. The problem was, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. I trained hard, I crushed workouts in gym, I did extra stadium runs at the horseshoe, extra sprints at the field house, extra practice sessions with Coach Jordan and Coach Chertow, yet I was literally exhausted at the end of the first period during my matches.
After a year of guessing and struggling, with the help of Coach Hellickson, we determined the culprit. Until it was noticed by Coach Hellickson, I tried to pace myself, control ties, and stay out of positions I wasn’t that confident in. This worked against guys I should beat, but not against the best in the country. Instead of doing what I was good at, my conditioning wouldn’t allow me to finish shots, turns, escapes, counters, etc. without a ton of un-necessary work. This led to me being a little afraid of getting tired too fast.
The CULPRIT wasn’t my training. It was my nutrition. I wasn’t properly fueling myself with good food, which destroyed my conditioning and confidence. Once I committed to eating better, things changed fast. I didn’t have to lose 8-10 lbs per week, instead I was able to keep it in the 4-6 lbs range. By doing so, I not only competed better, I can say it helped me earn a 3rd place spot on the podium at the University Nationals earning All-America Honors.
The FEAR of: WINNING, LOSING and GETTING TIRED are all real. They will eventually show themselves after just a few short years of experience.
These big 3 are usually the culprit that keeps wrestlers from competing their best in big matches.
With the right tools, they are all possible to over come.
Knowing about them in advance should help!
Train Hard, Eat Well and Believe in Yourself… REPEAT!