It’s that time of year again. The high school wrestling season upon us, which means it’s your chance to improve on your performance from last year and perhaps become a champion. But if you’re going to do this, you’ll need all the help you can get from your coach, the people you train with, and your knowledge. So let’s try to help by giving you a few tips for the new season.
It’s always a good idea to hone your existing skills, becoming faster, stronger, and using better technique. But wrestling is as much about beating your opponent mentally as it is about pure brute strength, and this is hard to do if they know your every move.
Some people train by watching old footage or their competitors in action. If you’ve been busting the same moves for the past few years, even if you’ve nailed them, it might be time to shake things up, as predictability on the mat can be your downfall - and your competitor’s edge.
Adding new moves to your catalogue gives you a much better chance of winning. You’re more versatile, more skilled, and your opponent won’t see it coming. Once you’ve got the moves down, then you can move on to bigger challenges.
As athletes, we often think of power in terms of muscle strength. But a huge part of the strength you need to take down your opponent lies in your mind. It’s a powerful tool for wrestlers and you should use it to your advantage. Before matches, try to think about how great you’ve been doing in training, or visualise yourself performing your favourite move and winning the match. Staying positive means you can prepare yourself for your best performance, staying in control of your thoughts.
Also, researchers have found that mental visualisation training in sports can have the same effects as actually participating in the sport. For example, one study found people who went to the gym increased muscle by 30% while those who didn’t go to the gym, but visualised training, increased muscle strength by (13.5%), just by thinking about it.
After the summer, it’s hard to get out of the habit of treating ourselves and kicking back. But, as an athlete, it’s up to you to make sure you keep your body in the right condition to train and compete. This means eating the right foods - with plenty of fruit and veg - making sure you get enough sleep, and taking some time to de-stress after a long day at school. Doing this will make sure your body is in the best condition to take you to the top.
Even if you’re new to wrestling, these tips can help you get off to a flying start in the sport. Look after your mind and body, and take risks with your new moves. Your opponent will never see you coming! But never take risks with your safety. Always remember to protect yourself on the mat.
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