March WIN Article #109 An Honest Wrestler


An Honest Wrestler
By Ben Peterson #109

What are honest thoughts for a wrestler? What are honest thoughts for us as we prepare for any significant event like a test, musical performance, play, and our graduation and yes for a wrestling match?
While preparing for a special event, some people work to get in an intense emotionally psyched-up mindset. Others seek to get in a rage of anger, at least for sports. That is not going to work in many other events and it brings concerns in wrestling, if you ask me. The more adrenalin and emotion they can manufacture the better, so they think. While it is good to be alert and wide awake, emotional highs alone are not going to make the event successful. If we are not prepared, high emotion is not likely to bring us great success. And it may bring unnecessary fatigue.
Others get real calm, serious and even unapproachable. They may become closed to encouragement and coaching from others. They are in “the zone”.
Extremes of either of these first two tactics can be harmful and often misleading.
I urge all athletes to work to be focused, intensely alert and fully awake. We may want to get away from the stuffy gym for a few minutes and find some fresh outdoor air or at least some well conditioned air. I encourage my wrestlers to use fresh air and a small drink of water to help make them fully awake the last few minutes before a match. I want them to be alert and able to see and know the truth about their opponent and then select the positions and techniques which they know that can defeat each different opponent during each situation of the match.

Honest With Ourselves:
A lot of athletes think they will, or should, win because they are so intense at doing their best and want to win so much. But of course, everyone wants to win! But let us be honest about what we are trusting in. We can fall into wishful thinking instead of preparing in every way possible. We may fake confidence in the reality of failing to prepare.
I urge wrestlers to clear their hearts and minds fully before intense competition. Be honest with yourself. Put your confidence on the hard work you did in preparing and if you find your work is not matching others then be honest with yourself and commit to prepare wiser, harder, and maybe longer, before the next time.

Honest With Others:
Most will say they are confident and ready. Nobody wants to own up directly to their inner fears and lack of confidence. We can just keep saying positive words like "all is good", " I am fine", or “I feel good.” I often find it hard to coach wrestlers when they insist all is fine and will not let others help deal with fear, disappointments, and losses. We can keep saying all is good when it is not. When we do this we are not being honest with ourselves or others.
Work at communicating honestly with your coaches and do so during the off season when possible. The same is true for teammates. Befriend your teammates and build your friendship with honesty and hard work.
Inform your parents and family about your wrestling events and studies. If you are having troubles in some way, let them know early so they can help.
How about officials and teachers? We are answerable to them. It will not pay for us to be deceptive with them. Dealing with them in honesty and respect pays big when the final scores are given. When we are honest we will find it easier to get an explanation and even get a second chance some times.
Of course we should select carefully who we bare our hearts with, but it is healthy and helpful to share our burdens with someone who wants to assist. I urge you to work at being honest with others.

Honest With God:
We can often fool ourselves and others, but never God. I urge every wrestler to work at practicing honesty with God. That does not come naturally with us as people. We tend to deny a lot of facts about ourselves and Him. Psalms 145:18 says:
“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.”
God is truth, therefore He wants us to be truthful with Him. He is near all who call on Him. God likes when we call on Him and go to Him when in need. But He wants us to be honest with him. Ask for His blessing and His help for all your needs. He wants to help and He does help us in every way. After all, He made us and the world we live in. The verse reminds us to call on Him in truth. We need to confess sin to God, admit our fears, our concerns, and all that bothers us. We should not be complainers, but we should be direct and truthful with Him.

Honesty is a great habit to learn and practice through the intensity of wrestling. Make honesty your habit. You will like it and so will God, your parents, teachers and coaches. Honesty is such a helpful trait and it is never out of style.
Practice talking open and honest with your coach, teammates and your parents. And talk the truth with yourself. In the long run, it always makes life easier. Be honest now and train extra for your next season. The truth is that off season training with your teammates makes for stronger in-season performance, so build confidence together on the reality of real preparation.

You can find other articles by Ben at: Today Ben & John run Camp of Champs Wrestling Camps and are frequent guest speakers for numerous special events. Arrange them for your special event by contacting them at: 800-505-5099 PO Box 222 Watertown, WI 53094

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USA Wrestling
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