Stance – Motivation by Mark Schwab

Your stance (body position) is probably the first position you’re introduced to as a wrestler. Every match starts in this position and a great deal of the match outcome is dictated by the ability to function and effectiveness in your stance.

As a team, we’re striving to be unyielding, prepared, and proficient in our stance. Some athletes may think they have it (stance) down; they don’t. They may bore quickly and look past the value of spending and dedicating time in this area. Do not dismiss the significance of tightening, cleaning, sharpening, and refining your posture and movements from your stance. The objective is to become a pro in your stance. What do I mean by pro – You can score on your opponents and they can never score on you. You’re a pro! When phrased like this, it’s safe to reason it takes a lengthy dedicated process to accomplish being a pro in and from your stance.

About Mark SchwabYour offense, ability and discipline to execute from a posture of strength, originates from your stance. Your knees bent, shoulder / knee alignment, sometimes stance is staggered, sometimes square or fading in and out of these positions as one delivers and penetrates to their offense. From a defensive perspective, ideally, you actually respond with offense, attacking with resistance yet progressive, legs back and hips down and away destroying your opponents’ position, intentions, motives and spirit.

In my experience as an athlete and a coach, it’s essential to be focused, sharp, on the attack and yet relaxed. You’re a shark patrolling the waters of the ocean. You have the look, attentiveness, capability and attitude. There’s substance to go with your appearance.

We emphasize staying loose and relaxed in your stance. When unconfined, you’re much more in control of your movements. Find the posture that allows you to be effective both offensively and defensively, a stance that gives you motion and power. You’re single-minded, intense, yet unclenched. Your body and mind in-tune and connected. You’re cool, convincing and a pro.

Strive to become credible in your stance. Hone your stance-discipline, mobility, and effectiveness. This means spending quality time with concentrated awareness, discipline, and competence. As coaches, we’ve presented and emphasized the importance of stance and the following challenge –can you deliver, complete, battle and defend against the best? Can you execute and defend in high pressure situations? Can you execute and defend with just seconds left on the clock? Can you execute and defend when you’re fatigued? These are important questions to ask and answer with candor and attentiveness. The athlete quickly realizes the importance of spending determined time in their stance to accomplish offence and being able to answer defensively – legs back, hips down and away, destroying their opponent’s position and turning their opponent’s attacks into their offense and scores. This is what being a pro is about. We suggest prepare to the point where you can devastate your opponent’s posture and confidence when and if they attack. You present an imposing posture and attitude – attitude is highly associated with your stance.

Ideally, your stance and reactions from your stance are so convincing that opponents are apprehensive to attack – they will have to work too hard. Plant the seed of fatigue. When your opponents think about fatigue, most will avoid or refrain. You can inflict dents and influence your opponent mentally before the match even starts. This is a huge advantage. The only way to become a pro is to spend disciplined time on and in your stance while cultivating your dangerous attitude. Your goal – a pro in your stance.

If you want to succeed at a high level, learn to stalk your opponent. This is powerful and essential. You can create angles and score on your opponents while maintaining strong deterrent responses to your opponent’s attacks. Your stance is a weapon. Your opponents are frustrated, doubtful and fatigued all because of your positioning, all because of your stance.

If you look at what wins in any sport, you’ll find its offense, attitude and basics. We believe in moving forward. With this being said, moving forward in a very controlled posture, patient but persistent – intelligent pursuit. We want to control the distance. We don’t rush or chase, just on the scene and totally in control of our movements to execute, react, and defend. Commit to create a mentally and behavior that in your stance, only one of three things happen.

  1. You score on your opponents
  2. You force opponents into bad shots and score, destroy their position and confidence, leave them with fatigue and frustration
  3. Opponent called for stalling due to your stalking

The above is an effective and winning mindset and strategy. Certainly you can improve your stance discipline and maintenance. On no account ever forget the first position or introduction into wrestling – stance. Place your stance at the top of the list to improve and master. Make becoming a pro in your stance a priority. When you do, you will tilt the scale in your favor. When you do, success will follow.


Mark Schwab is an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa. Previously he spent nine years as assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, helping the program to seven top-three team finishes at the NCAA Championships and two NCAA team titles. As a wrestler, Schwab was an All-American for the University of Northern Iowa during the late 1980s. Schwab earned his bachelor’s degree in 1990 from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 2003. Schwab returned to the University of Minnesota to get a second emphasis in sport psychology on his existing master’s and completed that in 2010. Email Mark at mark.schwab@uni.edu.

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