If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed, stick to the basics. Correct repetition is a staple for success. Intelligent mastery is what you’re looking for. Hold yourself to a high standard – practice room habits. Correct repetition is paramount and necessary to execute against the top competition.
Do not rely on luck to play a part in your success. One of The biggest challenges is turning instruction into behavior. Change is tough, and like an inner magnet, we go back to what we have always done. Even when we continue to get poor results and advancement is denied.
In my opinion, it’s not about teaching moves. As a coach, we can show different moves or holds every day. It’s more about basic core skills and strong functional positions. I would compare it to a big oak tree, the trunk being – stance, basic skills, good position, mammoth, sturdy, powerful, and can endure all the elements of nature. The branches – moves are only as strong at the trunk itself.
You may need to change, relearn, and in some cases, forget some of your past instruction. Like most of us in our own lives, we offer resistance both knowingly and unknowingly. Change is always difficult, but it’s necessary if we want progress and victory. It’s wise to employ skills that work at the highest level. In short, basics win.
It’s very difficult to rely on big moves – home runs to win in any sport. Basics have a much higher percentage of success in our sport; they are like jabs in a boxing match, jabs by themselves do not appear damaging, but over the course of the entire bout, they often make the difference. You win the matches a little at a time, plugging away, staying in good position, aggressive, sound and solid. Over the course of the competition, basics will win in most sports. Hell, it will win in life.
As a competitor, you never want to sacrifice a good position. You want to stay where you’re strong and force your style. Make your opponent adapt to you. A train is strong on the track but weak elsewhere; stay where you’re strong! There are creative athletes who can hit home runs. However, the masses will use fundamentals to get their hand raised.
Review, review, review! Just because an athlete has seen a technique or a skill, does not mean he knows how to execute in a live situation, let alone while under fatigue, pressure, or a superior skilled opponent. We will always go back to what is most ingrained under turbulent times – practice room habits. We are consistently exposed in these moments. We want basic skills and high percentage reactions as the “go to” for our athletes. It needs to be internalized. This is boring for many; although, few complain of boredom from victory. Remember there are no boring drill or skills, just bored people.
The basics mean developing skills and being able to stay in position under attack and while attacking; this central to winning in this sport. The athletes have to buy-in in order for the full benefit. We want to invest our time on what will work against the best. If all we want to do is “win some” “lose some,” then having coaches or instruction is not even necessary.
Many athletes do not consider working on skills and drilling fun. I learned a long time ago, if you’re looking for fun you may have chosen the wrong sport. Go to the arcade or carnival if you want some fun. What you have chosen is a tough sport, and it is simply not for everyone. What the athlete has to understand is the coach is looking at the entire picture – what the team needs to be successful. Basics cannot be mastered in one day, week, or month. It has to be enforced over time and with focus.
In the end, athletes will not lose from lack of live wrestling. Many will lose because they did not spend enough time learning how to set up and finish attacks, get out on bottom, square hips and use basic defense, or they didn’t pay attention to the little things that continue to show up in defeat. The coach has to see all these things. The coach will enforce what he believes will help prepare the athletes to beat the best. The rest is on the athlete to take the coaching. Hearing and watching is not enough; it must be turned into behavior.
When one strays from the basics and timeless principals, trouble and disappointment are usually not far behind. There are unwavering principals that govern keys to success and effectiveness in our sport. The good news is that no matter how often you abandon or slander them, they will be there for you. You will naturally experience the repercussions of getting off track – violating position. However, the right course is only a principal or two away. It’s no secret! The difference will be who stays disciplined. Discipline is a feared word but a starting point of forming a new habit.
Focusing your efforts on your strengths is crucial; however, mastering the skills that are holding you back from success is paramount. Often, these previously limiting areas can become your very strengths, the very things that kept you 2 inches from success. More-over, to manage this potential weapon, you have to slow down. Many athletes try to execute fast and hard. They never learn a skill or position correctly. So when they are in “live competition” they make the same mistakes. It takes time, vigilance, and correct repetition to become effective.
I would venture to say basics are king in all sports. Basics are a universal truth but often neglected. There will always be talented individuals who can violate position, they are exceptions. Nevertheless, I believe you are better off with the philosophy, “Basics Win.”
The Guillotine will be featuring motivation by Mark Schwab throughout the season. Look for Mark’s advice every other Monday.
Mark Schwab is an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa. Schwab has a Masters Degree with an emphasis on Sport Psychology and is currently writing a book entitled “Opportunities to Succeed-Common Sense but Not Common Practice.” Schwab also gives a 40 minute presentation on opportunities to succeed. To know more you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.