November marks the beginning of the wrestling season for most high schools and colleges across the United States. It’s here. This is why we workout and train like madmen. This is why we buy that new pair of wrestling shoes. All of the time spent lifting weights, running sprints, and refining technique has led to this.
If you’ve wrestled in the past, you know what it feels like to approach this first round of matches. If you’re new to the mats, you may not know what to expect. You may be worried that you will disappoint yourself and your teammates. You may be afraid of the pressure of one-on-one matches. These feelings are understandable, but there are ways to help you prepare for your first foray onto the mats.
Focus on the Technique
Hopefully, you spent your offseason getting into proper shape. As you head toward your first match, your focus shouldn’t be on your fitness. This is when you should be refining your technique. Make sure that you get together with your coaches to work on all of your takedowns, holds, and escapes.
You should also be asking your coaches about your upcoming opponents. You may not be familiar with them, but your coaches may be from past experience. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of these wrestlers. You will enter the match more confident if you feel prepared to meet your foe.
Proper mental preparation will help you thrive in your first match. It is important to put yourself in the correct frame of mind to compete at your highest possible level.
Forget Wins and Losses: This is your first match. You may be going up against a much more experienced opponent. Your focus shouldn’t be on the wins column. You should be focusing on your own personal goals and how well you acquit yourself in the competition. As you gain experience, you will focus more on winning matches.
Remain Positive: Don’t get too caught up in fear and nerves. Don’t think about injuries or losses. Always ease your mind with positive thoughts. Try to visualize yourself in the match performing the techniques you have practiced. Picture yourself putting forth an effort you will be proud of.
Use Your Adrenaline: As the match approaches, you will find yourself more and more excited. This is adrenaline entering your system, and it can be a good thing. Adrenaline will help give you strength and energy during a match, but you must remain the master of your own senses. Stay focused on the business at hand. Try to channel your adrenaline into training harder leading up to the match and a better performance in it.
Most importantly, enjoy your first match and enjoy the wrestling season. For many of us wrestling nuts, these seasons are among the best times of our lives.