“I’ve always known I could do it. I was put in so many situations where I was about to lose, and wasn’t going to make the team, and then I fought through it. I toughed it out and ended up winning a spot [on the Olympic team].” –Andy Hrovat, Olympic freestyle wrestler and three-time NCAA All-American from the University of Michigan
You may be strong and have all the skills, but if you want to be among the elite, you need to toughen up mentally so you can stay focused and remove doubt. Wrestling is a mental game, and when you have supreme confidence, the sky’s the limit.
“The best guys in the state, conference or nation are some of the more mentally tough wrestlers,” says U.S. National Freestyle coach Kevin Jackson. “The reason why they are mentally tougher is because they are doing more things physically than their opponents. They are putting more time into winning than their opponents. That confidence makes them better competitors and makes them mentally tougher, and thus harder to beat.”
Jackson believes visualization exercises build mental toughness. If you are able to see yourself winning a state title or an Olympic medal, it becomes intuitive and your mind gets trained to produce that result.
After Practice Visualization Technique
• Build up your concentration level
• Visualize your wrestling technique and the feeling of success
• Stay focused for 4-6 minutes, equal to the length of a match
Coaching Point: The longer you stay focused, the better off you’ll be.
Before Bed Visualization Technique
• Visualize and lock in on wrestling
• Envision winning; what you see in your mind subconsciously will stick with you
• Reflect for 15-20 minutes
Coaching Point: Visualize your technique, and it’ll be easier to do when you have to do it physically.