Wrestling is a tough sport. But there are ways to get better at it. Here are a few.
Come to Practice with a Purpose
Too often wrestlers go to practice with no thoughts on what they can improve on. This is a terrible waste of time unless your completely new to the sport. You should go to each and every practice with a goal in mind, such as learn a new move on top, perfect your neutral stance, or increase your stamina. These should be your short term goal.
I would keep a notebook to write these goals down everyday. On the first page you should write a long term goal related to wrestling. It may seem useless as you do it, but when your old, fat, and gray, and you look at all the work you did, you’ll be proud to say, “I did all this!” You can also keep track of your weight in this book. I also suggest after every match, you write the outcome of it, what you did well and what you need to work on.
Eat Smart and Stay Healthy
Stay away from sweets and saturated fats! You should have a written schedule for foods. If you need to watch your weight, I recommend you eat 3 egg whites for breakfast, a turkey sandwich without cheese for lunch, and depending on how much over you are, a piece of chicken, and vegetables. Do whatever you can to avoid cutting weight on the day of a wrestling event, you do not want to be exhausted before you step on the mat. Try to be within a pound of the weight your wrestling at the night before.
If you’re not watching your weight, then I recommend you eat egg whites on whole wheat toast, oatmeal, or pancakes. For lunch you should have some pasta, a turkey/chicken sandwich, a protein bar, like a cliff bar. I recommend you stay away from power bars because there loaded with sugar, and if you feel a need to have a power bar, have it 30 minutes prior to a match. If you have a big tournament coming up, load up on carbs the day before, eat things such as pasta for dinner. During a tournament, I recommend you stay away from carbs, because they can have a sleepy effect on you, which is why you may find yourself yawning and relaxed during a tournament. Proteins are your friend during tournaments. If you feel a sickness coming up, take an airborne, and relax. Water is your best friend as a wrestler. Most people walk around dehydrated, and its the worse thing to be as a wrestler. Water can flush sickness out of your body, and it keeps you healthy. If you follow these steps, you improve your chances fighting off sickness, and staying as fit as possible.
The weight room is such an underused resource by wrestlers, especially during the season. As the season goes on, wrestlers lose about 15% of there strength out of fatigue. But if you lift during the season, you can gain 5% more strength. That means a 20% swing in your favor, so if you lost to someone at the beginning of a season because they were stronger, you can increase your chances of winning now because your stronger!
Physical and Mental Preparation
You should always give yourself at least half an hour to warm up. Get up and running, make sure you break a sweat before your match, and do your stretches! The last thing you want is an injury because you didn’t stretch, and you don’t want to get loose during the match, you came to wrestle during the match, not warm-up! You should also give yourself 5 minutes to go into your own world. You should fill your mind with positive thoughts. Repeat to yourself the following. I am unbeatable. I am a winner. I am a champion. Envision a wrestler you want to be like performing at top notch intensity, and imagine yourself doing the same. Your mind tells you that your tired, so if you break a few mental barriers, you can perform at a higher intensity. remember, the mind tires before the body.
Before, During, and After the Match
Before your match, I recommend you use a skin protectant, such as Kenshield, to protect yourself to anything your opponent might be carrying. These days, you can never be too careful, with staph and merca going around. I know plenty of wrestling programs that got shut down because the team didn’t take care of there skin. During your match you should have at least two water bottles close-by. You should also look at your coach whenever you aren’t wrestling. After your match, you should wipe your skin off with an anti-bacterial wipes. If possible, you should also take a shower, and use a soap like Selsun Blue.
Wrestling is one of the few sports that don’t end when you get off the mat, it takes dedication, hard work, and persistence to become a champion in this great sport. And remember, if you don’t win at first, it doesn’t matter. In wrestling, it’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish.