10 Winning themes in 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships
10. Stance mobility and discipline. The athletes, who consistently won, stayed down in their stance, circled, or moved forward, and were expert hand fighters. The winners stayed in an athletic position (knees bent and mobile) by exercising this skill, they were able to defend, react, or go to their offense by feeling the opening. (The winners have trained their nervous system to the point they never have to think or give skills thought. They obviously spent a lot of time employing “correct repetition”).
9. The winners moved forward or circled. They were very controlled and aggressive but not reckless. The winners did not dive in or force attacks. They were patient, controlled, and never get rattled. Offensive skills employed-basic head inside (single leg) or head outside (Hi-C or double leg.) The winners did not necessarily take a lot of shots. However, when they attacked they changed levels at the knees and were determined to score – like a dog on a fillet.
8. The winners have a defense that is rarely penetrated. The strength of their defense is their stance, staying athletic, mobile, and using their head and hands for defense. The best guys rarely had opponents on their legs. When and if an opponent got to their legs, they were aggressive in their defense. They got their legs back, squared hips, and fought to destroy their opponents’ position. Again, aggressive in their defense but not reckless. The winners DID NOT go to their butt for defense to a leg attack. You can only hold and not improve on your butt. It’s lazy, ineffective, and a losing strategy.
7. The winners wrestled through the periods and kept their butt to the center. The winners often scored on the edge of the mat or end of the period but never gave up points in those situations.
6. The winners attacked the bottom position. They exploded off the whistle, head up, knees underneath, hips away and attacking opponent’s hands. They were aggressive and persistent. They made it hard for their opponent to keep them down. The winners usually escaped in short amounts of time, hustled off the whistle, and were relentless in getting to their feet.
5. The winners kept their opponent down. They were aggressive in their riding but not reckless. They let their opponents feel their weight. The winners used their legs and hips to drive forward, stayed behind the arms, and worked to capture a wrist or arm.
4. I cannot tell you how many points were scored on the edge of the mat or in closing seconds of periods. The lesson – every second counts, wrestle through the periods and edge of the mat. A win is never certain and a loss never final.
3. The athlete who tried to hold or protect a lead, often lost. The lesson – Continue to keep your mental hands on the wheel, circle your feet, and use head and hands for defense. Call it “lead management” it’s as much a mental skill as a physical skill.
2. The winners are physically strong and conditioned. The athletes, who were not as physically strong, used motion and angles to counter a stronger opponent.
1. Strong body language and an appearance of an expectation to win were consistent among top athletes.
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.