Repetition brings about perfection. This is why you may see a successful wrestler drill a perfect double leg thousands of times… so he can perfect it. When the time comes in a match he will hopefully execute it. In the same way we perfect a double leg, we must also perfect how we mentally approach every match. It is important to approach every match the same, regardless of who it is. It is important to do this so that by the end of the year, when the matches count for qualifying and placing, you will hopefully step onto the mat with the best possible mental attitude.
Here are four things that I think every wrestler should be thinking about before every match.
- You have to believe you belong. What I mean by this is that you have to believe you are capable of competing with any opponent. Unfortunately many wrestlers train extra, work hard, stay committed, and then the second they get out on the mat with someone who is supposedly “really good” they don’t think they belong. They don’t believe they are capable of competing with someone “really good”. I have never understood why someone would train as hard as they can and make the necessary sacrifices only to concede to someone before even wrestling them , based on the idea that their opponent is “really good”. You can get the same result by not training hard or making sacrifices, so if you are going to put in the time to work hard and be committed at least go into the match with the attitude that you belong on the mat with anyone.
- Expect to Execute. Step on the mat with confidence and the expectation that you will execute your techniques on your opponent. Don’t wrestle the person, wrestle the body and trust that you can execute on any body.
- Trust your Training. You have to believe in the hard work you have put in. You have to believe in your conditioning. Never be afraid of getting tired. Everyone gets tired in every match, but if you have trained properly you should have the confidence that you can always push through and push harder than your opponent.
- Believe you can win. It is one thing to believe you belong on the mat and can compete. It is another to believe that you can win. The best wrestlers are able to step on the mat every match with the expectation that they can beat their opponent. Regardless of who they are wrestling the expectation is the same. In order to have this attitude one must have total confidence in his execution of techniques and total trust in his training.
Having these attitudes and expectations entering into a match doesn’t come over night. That is why it is so important to be mindful of it and practice it in every match. Just like drilling a double leg, if you do it enough times the mind and body gets used to it and it eventually becomes second nature.