WIN Article #122 How Long is Your Window of Wrestling?


How Long is Your Window of Wrestling?
By: Ben Peterson

Every Olympics reminds me of the shortness of the opportunities to compete on a high level in any sport. It will be 4 years before another Olympics is held. The mystique and intense window for those competitions was opened for a few days and then closed. We talk of them now and all their positive and negative aspects but they are done. Only a few serious dreamers are thinking much of the 2020 games. My question is, “What is Olympic urgency making me do today?”

1. Definition: One meaning of the word “window” in the dictionary is, “an opening, period of time, etc. for access [window of opportunity].” What I am writing about is a period of time that offers opportunity to participate and enjoy the sport of wrestling. Every aspect of practice, training, and competition has a beginning and an end. Eventually, every season ends and finally every career comes to an end. We grow out of our club’s age group, our school team, age begins to limit us, and other responsibilities come in or injury restricts our involvement.

2. Wrestling has limits – every wrestler must learn the sport. Some start very young these days. Some get introduced or excited later. The older you start the more you will want to increase your learning curve as quickly as possible. But regardless of their age, every wrestler must learn the sport.
a. Grade school wrestlers are learning wrestling and many are bringing it to a very high skill and intensity level. But a key goal most coaches are working for is that these youth enjoy the sport as they are learning, so they will still be interested when their bodies are fully mature and can do it at the highest levels. In most cases we can say youth play at the sport.
b. Middle school wrestlers must learn to work harder, but are still learning and exploring the sport.
c. High school wrestlers should continue to learn the sport with a major element of the importance of winning as they represent school, community, and family. They should learn to take ownership of their wrestling by the time they get to their senior season. They should not expect their coach to lead all they do in training.
d. The College window expands ownership and responsibility. Collegiate athletes must constantly stretch themselves and develop a passion for wrestling. I urge college wrestlers to practice a way of living with purpose and intensity. To me, college wrestling is like going off to war. You must set aside all distractions for a period as you get an academic degree and compete in wrestling. You invest time all year to train.
e. Senior level wrestling requires some periods of being consumed where all they do is wrestle, eat, and sleep. At that level they operate like professionals of the sport. Senior wrestlers must invest in their training all year in order to excel.

3. Maximize the window. Using my many seasons of wrestling experience please let me review key factors that can maximize the length and quality of your wrestling experience.
a. Stay in shape - you will never fully reach your potential if you are repeatedly building your condition back up. Continually be working on condition and technique. Then peak/spike it for those big events.
b. Stay strong - a strong body is a healthy body and tends to make the mind sharper and more alert. Who knows when you will be able to wrestle with someone who is very good? It could be in a practice, a meet or even in street clothes. I can tell in seconds if an athlete is strong, in shape and ready to learn. A lack of these qualities limits our learning.
c. Do some coaching - stay around wrestling and wrestling people. Doing so will keep you sharp on techniques and positioning. Thinking through moves enough to teach others is huge in staying sharp in our game. And the young people will help keep us youthful in our thinking. Keep thinking, watching, and analyzing technique and strategies. This matures our thinking. Working out with many different wrestlers can also expand our knowledge.
d. Avoid injury - injuries may be one of the cruelest window-breakers. It is why condition and strength must be kept high. They are key factors to limiting injury. Be thoughtful and wise when going hard with new or extreme athletes. I love to see athletes train with a variety of teammates and acquaintances. But always remind them to be cautious and patient, and not to be bullies or overly daring in tactics.
e. Responsibilities - can also close a wrestling window. Family matters may trump your wrestling career. So work hard to set things in order and seek to keep surprises from taking your focus.

In conclusion, remember that windows of opportunity open and close. I hate to tell anyone their window of wrestling is closed. I seek to be honest and help others face the urgency of training while they are young so they can enjoy the sport to its full potential.

Do you have Olympic fever after this summer of Olympics? Then use it to keep intensely increasing your wrestling qualities. Also, use the Olympic fever to increase your value in all aspects of life. Olympic fever must be translated into learning with purpose and intensity every day. Then when the windows open, you will be ready to enjoy them and take advantage of them. Again, the closing window asks, “What is Olympic urgency making me do today?”

Find other articles and a new book called “ROAD TO GOLD” by Ben at: Today Ben & John Peterson run Camp of Champs Wrestling Camps. Contact them at: PO Box 222 Watertown, WI 53094 800-505-5099

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