April 4, 2010 by David Gillaspie
Do you record wins and losses? Which ones hold the most meaning, guys you put away, or the ones who got over on you.
Instead of wins and losses, how about recording the most unusual matches? The win where you felt you had no chance; the loss that came out of the blue.
Or skip those and record one match: the one that made you believe you could compete better than you thought you could, win or lose.
Every athlete has one game, one moment, when they know no one else could do what they did. In most sports that means depending on a teammate. In wrestling it’s you. You can share credit, but it’s after the fact.
When you step out, wrestle, and step back, two guys know what happened. One guy wants to remember more than the other. No teammate lost the ball that you picked up and scored. No one missed a shot that you put back to win the game.
You won. That’s it. Rack it.
But then what?
You know the answer: Get ready to do it again.
Snap your chin strap and walk out. Will it matter to you if you win or lose? Will it matter to our opponent? You can only answer one of those questions.
If you’ve done the training, it matters. If you’ve done the conditioning, it matters. If you’ve done the drills, it matters. The other guy has his own questions, you’ll never hear them.
“Did I train enough, condition enough, drill enough?”
If he’s asking, then the question is usually no. But it won’t matter because you don’t know.
Say you hear your name called at a tournament and it’s ten at night. Something went wrong with the brackets and the matches run late.
You have your excuse handed to you. It’s late, you were asleep, and you wrestled like a zombie. Just to be sure, it’s just as late for the other guy. He has his excuse too, so you’re even.
Who is going to win this match?
The one who wants it most. If you believe in your preparation, you’re good to go at the drop of a hat. If your state of mind is right, you can wrestle anywhere.
Is you preparation correct? Is your mind right? Win or lose, you’re as good as you’re going to get on that night.
The fear of losing is real. Lose enough and the fear tightens its grip. Lose in matches you know you could win and you feel the tightness around your neck. You feel the choke and want to tap out before the whistle.
Make an appointment with a sports psychologist and figure it out, except they don’t usually take new clients during a tournament. You still need to figure it out before your next match.
See if this helps: wrestle the way you know best and the wins and losses take care of themselves. Compete with the tools available, the preparation, the conditioning, the drills. Fear isn’t part of the deal. That’s for you to choose or ignore.
Will a loss ruin you? Will a win make you King of the World? Neither. Wrestle the best way you know how and transcend wins and losses. Wrestle with heart and you’ll take your game to a whole new level.
Wrestle beyond just looking good and surviving. Wrestle like you know a loss will fade in memory, but the thrill of a chance to win will last forever.
Do you understand that part? A chance to win is based on expectation, the thrill of the unknown. Expect to do well, expect to win, then expect to do it again and again and again.
Just be ready to raise your arm after the last whistle. Can you see that?