It’s all the same – A focused tournament mind

By Mark Schwab

Mindset for major competitions

Dominant: Teams and individuals that win state and national tournaments consistently.

Fade: Teams or individuals that want the season over. They want to be the best, but settle on mediocrity. They have no plan in place to peak. Their practice room and lifestyle habits are not conducive to consistent winning. Improper weight management could be a problem, but the main factor is their mental state. Fear carries more authority than belief.

Peak: Teams and individuals that understand a superior person is able to focus. Focus allows mastery of your environment.

Lack of belief is detrimental. Wasting time looking ahead and overanalyzing the past is hurtful to consistent performance. There are times when we question our readiness to compete by magnifying our opponents’ abilities and minimizing our own. Athletes often create imagined obstacles that hinder their potential.

Tournaments, ideally, are what you look toward all season. Use major competitions as a reward. Let other competitors work mental numbers on themselves. Let the competition become filled with anxiety and doubt. Let them compete with a mental parking brake on. Let the competition deal with the weight of doubt. Let the competition question and wear themselves out with non-stop mental games.

Much like physical training, there are mental training skills. Improving your mental skills should be part of your overall program. Many athletes experience mental struggles but do little to change their state of mind. Many hope on game day everything will work itself out.

Our thoughts can be cunning, but they provide evidence that shows up in our performance.

Our thinking, a never ending internal conversation, will always be with us; it is how our minds work. There is always something on our mind. What occupies your mind is important. You can rehearse victory or you can court defeat. Overcoming defeat is a battle you can win, but you have to challenge yourself and you must give up comfort.

The daily battle is always between what you should do and what you actually do. Win these battles. The more persistent the fight, the more likely the victory. A plan of action makes a difference.

As major tournaments approach, many athletes tighten up, hold back, or shut down. They refrain from what produced past victories. They stay safe, overanalyze, and wait; waiting is a trap.

You are still in control during major competition.  Nothing changes. You are still competing under the same rules and the same principles. Nothing has changed except your thinking. And since you control your thinking, you hold the key. What will you allow to speak loudest? You have been good before, and you can be good again.

The athlete who deals with pressure will triumph. A venue does not change you. Nothing changes except what you allow. It is responsibility on your part. Responsibility is a choice and an opportunity to grow, not a burden.

It is natural to be nervous; you can perform with nerves. Be in the moment. Do not fear something you have done consistently well. Relax, take a deep breath, and focus.

It is either you or your opponent. Your responsibility is to tilt the odds in your favor through daily preparation. Since your competition is training like you are, you have to invest more. Maybe it is working harder and longer, but maybe it is working smarter and understanding that you will function at an optimal level when the body and mind are in unison.

We create fear and doubt, but we also possess courage and belief. Both exist in our minds. They do not live in harmony so you have to choose. It takes work, but never confuse difficult with impossible. Eliminating doubt is a battle you can win. You will get what you think about consistently.

Hold nothing back, and compete to win. Performance is not random; it is related to your thoughts and expectations. Somebody who is not supposed to win will excel.  Someone who is supposed to excel will falter. The determining factor is focus and consistency.

How to grow confidence and have a focused tournament mind

  • Awareness of your thoughts. Identify situations where negative self-talk occurs. Interrupt the negative and replace with positive. (Keep this simple). If you learn to manage your self-talk, you can manage your performance.
  • Make a decision that you are going to be committed to building your confidence.
  • Focus is crucial.
  • Body language indicates attitude and attitude dictates behavior. Maintain strong and positive body language.
  • Only concern yourself with the controllable.
  • Build success into your training.
  • Set practice room goals that focus on specific behaviors.
  • Manage your breathing. By slowing your breathing you conserve energy, in control of your movements and function at a higher level. Take a deep breath; breathe in confidence and strength; breathe out doubt and fatigue.
  • Play your strengths. Train your weaknesses.
  • Basics win.
  • Analyze during practice and training. Simplicity during competition.
  • Consistent pre-competition behaviors provide consistent performance results.
  • A win is never certain and a loss is never final. Stay focused!

About Mark Schwab
Mark Schwab spent nine years as assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, helping the program to seven top-three finishes and two NCAA championships. He is currently an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa. 

NCAA Division I Wrestling Qualifier Allocations

Final Coaches’ Panel Rankings and Final RPI announced for 2011 Championships

INDIANAPOLIS— The NCAA has announced the qualifier allocations for the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships as listed in the chart below.

Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking.

For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his qualifying tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class.  Each qualifying tournament was awarded a minimum of one wrestler per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have any wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds.  NCAA tournament spots for each qualifying event will be awarded at the tournament based solely on place-finish.

After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 48 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 9. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers.  The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.

Conference

125

133

141

149

157

165

174

184

197

285

Total

Atlantic Coast Conference

2

1

3

2

3

2

2

3

2

1

21

Big 12 Conference

3

4

4

1

1

5

3

4

4

4

33

Big Ten Conference

5

8

6

8

6

5

8

6

6

6

64

Colonial Athletic Association

2

3

1

2

1

3

2

1

1

1

17

East Regional

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

10

Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association

5

3

5

5

5

4

5

4

5

4

45

Eastern Wrestling League

2

2

2

2

3

2

1

3

2

1

20

Mid-American Conference

1

2

1

1

3

1

2

1

2

4

18

Pacific-10 Conference

4

3

2

2

3

1

3

1

4

3

26

Southern Conference

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

2

1

2

13

West Regional

2

1

2

2

2

1

1

2

1

1

15

TOTAL QUALIFIERS

28

29

28

27

29

27

29

28

29

28

282

Final Coaches Panel Rankings  |  Final RPI  |  Division I Wrestling Championship Information

A full description of the entire selection process in the 2011 Division I Wrestling Championships Handbook which is available at NCAA.org.

Mustang Wrestling Set for Super Regional Three Tournament

SUPER REGIONAL THREE TOURNAMENT WEBSITE

MARSHALL, Minn. – The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team (8-4-1, 3-4 NSIC) begins postseason competition on Sunday, competing in the NCAA Super Regional Three Championships hosted by No. 2 Augustana in the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. Action is set to begin at 10 a.m.

Last time out: Southwest Minnesota State won back-to-back NSIC dual meets last week earning a 24-12 win over the University of Mary on Thursday night before downing Northern State 23-15 on their home mat on Friday night.

Super Regional Three:
 Sunday’s regional tournament is one of four tournaments that will take place prior to the NCAA Championships. A wrestler must finish in the top-four of their weight class to advance to the national tournament, which will be hosted by Nebraska-Kearney on March 11-12.

2010 Regional:
 Southwest Minnesota State finished sixth in the final teams standings of the regional tournament last season earning 53.5 points in the team standings. Augustana won the tournament with 120.5 points. The Mustangs qualified three wrestlers for the NCAA Championships last season.

Brandan Schunk qualified at 141 pounds, CD Johnson at 184 pounds and Brian Rodas at 285 pounds. Johnson lost his opening-round bout before making his way through the wrestlebacks to finish fourth at 184 pounds. Rodas picked up two falls in the regional tournament last season finishing in fourth at 285 pounds. Demond Carter nearly qualified for the national tournament at 149 pounds, losing the fourth-place contest.

Expanded field: The number of teams competing in the Super Regional Three tournament championships has expanded from years past. The region once was just teams from the NSIC; before realignment added Wisconsin-Parkside, Indianapolis, and Newman (Kan.) to this years’ field of teams.

Stiff competition: The Super Regional Three tournament features four nationally ranked teams. All four of which are ranked in the top-10 in the country. Host Augustana is ranked No. 2 in the country, followed by No. 3 St. Cloud State, No. 8 Minnesota State and No. 10 Upper Iowa. 31 individual wrestlers are ranked in the top-8 of their respective weight classes.

Dual contests: Head coach Jesse Nelson led Southwest Minnesota State to its most NSIC wins since the 2000-01 season. SMSU’s three conference wins on the season marks its highest total in NSIC duals since the 2000-01 season when SMSU?finished 12-8 overall and 3-0 in the NSIC winning the conference championship. This season’s win total also marked the highest of number of conference wins for Nelson’s career. The Mustangs have improved their record from the previous season every since 2007 under the direction of Jesse Nelson.

Veteran Presence: Senior CD Johnson (184 pounds) finds himself in unfamiliar territory heading into the Super Regional tournament. Johnson has lost two consecutive matches in NSIC action last week. The senior lost a 6-4 decision against Brady Anderson of U-Mary before being pinned for just the second time this season by Cale Cornemann of Northern State. Johnson is 23-14 heading into postseason competition.

In the record books: CD Johnson currently ranks 15th all-time at SMSU in career wins. Johnson has compiled a 75-78-career record in four seasons as a Mustang. Randy Dorn is the all-time leader in wins at SMSU finishing his career 123-37 from 1987-91.

Rodas Rules: Junior Brian Rodas (285 pounds) is now 8-2 on the season after losing just his second match of the season last Friday. Rodas lost a 3-1 decision to Matthew Meuleners of Northern State. His only losses came in close contests, losing his first of the season 2-1 to Jon Swart of MSU Moorhead in extra time. Rodas has won five of his eight decisions this season by fall.

The reign of Reinsma: Redshirt freshman Justin Reinsma (133 pounds) continues to tear through the 133-pound weight class. Reinsma extended his record to 25-10 on the season by earning two wins last week. The 133-pounder won a 14-0 major decision over Ryan Swelland of U-Mary before edging Ian Muirhead in a 7-5 decision at Northern State. Reinsma has won 13 decisions on the season while picking up seven wins by pin. Reinsma’s major decision on Thursday night was the fourth of the season.

Mustang lineup:
Wt.    Wrestler
125    Travis Borchert (11-12)
133    Justin Reinsma (25-10)
141    Ethan Hildebrandt (17-11)
149    Demond Carter (6-6)
157    Casey Field (10-16)
165    William Fate (8-6)
174    Zach Coates (12-7)
184    CD Johnson (23-14)
197    Martin Hagen (11-12)
285    Brian Rodas (8-2)

20-plus club: CD Johnson and Justin Reinsma were the first two Mustangs this season to reach the 20-win plateau. Johnson currently owns a record of 23-14 while Reinsma sits at 25-10.

Winning tradition: Southwest Minnesota State’s eight wins on the season mark the highest number of wins in a single season since the 2002-03 season when SMSU finished 10-9-2 overall and 1-2 in NSIC contests.

History lesson: SMSU’s 18-3 record in 1978-79 marks the highest win total in by a Mustang wrestling team in school history.

Vikings set for Super Regional Three

SUPER REGIONAL THREE CHAMPIONSHIP

This week: No. 2 Augustana begins postseason competition on Sunday, hosting the NCAA Super Regional Three Championship in the Elmen Center.  Action will begin at 10 a.m.

Last time out: No. 1-ranked Nebraska-Omaha won seven of 10 matches en route to a 22-9 victory over the Vikings last Wednesday night in front of a record crowd of 2,003 in the Elmen Center.  Augustana got wins from Jason Jeremiason (133 pounds), Gavin Nelson (165 pounds) andTy Copsey (197 pounds).

Super Regional Three:  Sunday’s regional tournament is one of four that will play out across the country before the NCAA Championship.  A top-four finish advances a wrestler to the national tournament, which is hosted by Nebraska-Kearney on March 11 and 12.

Last year’s regional:  The Vikings are the defending Super Regional Three champions; they won last year’s tournament by racking up 120.5 points.  Augustana crowned four individual champions and advanced seven to the NCAA Championship.  Six of those seven national qualifiers are back: Al Meger (125 pounds), Jay Sherer (141 pounds), Nate Herda (149 pounds), Marcus Edgington (157 pounds), Gavin Nelson (165 pounds) and Ty Copsey (197 pounds).  To read about last year’s regional, click here.

More regional history:  Augustana has one regional title in the program’s history.  That crown came last season when the Vikings won the Super Regional Three Championship in Aberdeen, S.D.

Expanded field:  Super Regional Three has expanded for the 2011 Super Regional Three Championship.  The region used to be comprised of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s eight teams; however, reallignment added Wisconsin-Parkside, Indianapolis and Newman (Kan.) to this year’s field.

Dual record matched:  Augustana finished the 2010-11 campaign with an overall dual record of 14-2, matching the season record for victories in a season.  Augustana also reached 14 wins during the 2004-05 season–also under the guidance of head coach Jason Reitmeier.

Streak snapped: 
 Augustana’s loss to No. 1 Nebraska-Omaha last Wednesday was its first defeat in the Elmen Center since the 2008-09 season.  Heading into the contest with UNO, the last time Augustana had lost at home was on Feb. 6, 2009, when St. Cloud State topped the Vikings 17-16.

Conference title:  The conference crown picked up by the Vikings on Feb. 11 was their first in the NSIC and their third overall. Augustana finished 7-0 in NSIC competition. The Vikings won the North Central Conference in 1981 and 2005–the latter also under head coach Jason Reitmeier.

Northern Sun honors:  Augustana has had four athletes named NSIC Wrestler of the Week this season.

DateWrestler
Nov. 29Cody Lensing
Jan. 10Jason Jeremiason
Jan. 31Ty Copsey
Feb. 14Jason Jeremiason

By the numbers:  Augustana’s 14-2 record for the 2010-11 season included its fair share of one-sided wins this season.  The Vikings pitched shutouts three times and held opponents to just six points six times.  Augustana has outscored its opponents 466-115 this season.

Viking lineup: 

Wt.Wrestler
125Al Meger
133Jason Jeremiason
141Jay Sherer
149Nate Herda
157Marcus Edgington
165Gavin Nelson
174Carl Serck
184Tom Davies
197Ty Copsey
285Lance Peters

National news: Augustana retained its No. 2 position in the final regular-season NCAA Division II wrestling rankings released last Wednesday by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The Vikings collected 152 points and all eight second-place votes.  Nebraska-Omaha was the unanimous No. 1 selection, earning 160 points and all eight first-place votes. The Mavericks have held the top spot all season.  To view the national poll, click here.

Date
Ranking
Oct. 213rd
Dec. 83rd
Jan. 43rd
Jan. 22nd
Feb. 32nd
Feb. 162nd

Who’s ranked: The Vikings had seven individuals ranked in the final-regular NCAA Division II rankings of the season released last Wednesday. Ty Copsey garnered the highest individual ranking with his No. 2 position at 197 pounds.  Jason Jeremiason, who made his debut in the national rankings, checked in at No. 3 at 133 pounds, while Marcus Edgington earned the same spot at 157 pounds.  Jay Sherer (141 pounds) and Gavin Nelson (165 pounds) were both No. 4.  Nate Herda was No. 5 at 149 pounds, while Carl Serck was seventh at 174 pounds.  To view the latest rankings, click here.

St. Cloud State Wrestling Headed to Regional on Feb. 27

The #3 St. Cloud State University wrestling team, which just finished its 2010-11 season with a 19-2 dual match record will begin post-season competiton with action at the 2011 NCAA Division II Super Regional Three tournament on Feb. 27.

The Regional will be held at the Elmen Center on the campus of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.  Action gets underway with the doors opening at 9 a.m. and the first round starting at 10 a.m.  The championship round of the Regional Tournament is slated to begin around 7 p.m. on Feb. 27.

Tickets for this event are $7, $5 for students and seniors and free for five and under.  The tickets for the tournament can be purchased at the gate.

Teams slated to compete at the Regional include St. Cloud State, Augustana, Minnesota State, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Southwest Minnesota State, Upper Iowa, Mary, Northern State, Newman, Indianapolis and UW-Parkside.

The Huskies are currently ranked #3 in the nation, while host Augustana is ranked #2 in the nation.  In 2010, the Huskies placed second at the Regional tournament behind champion Augustana.  At the 2010 NCAA Division II championships, SCSU posted a seventh place finish and advanced eight wrestlers out of the regional to the national championships.

SCSU wrestlers currently ranked among the nation’s top NCAA Division II athletes include Jake Kahnke (#1/285 pounds), Tad Merritt (#2/165-pounds), John Sundgren (#2/157-pounds), Jacob D. Horn (#6/149-pounds), Lucas Munkelwitz (#6/197-pounds) and Gabe Suarez (#8/141-pounds).

Of note, the top four wrestlers from each weight bracket gain a bid to the 2011 NCAA Division II championships that will be held in Kearney, Neb. on March 11-12.

2011 NCAA Division II Super Regional Three Home Page

Sprenkle Named WWC Co-Wrestler of the Week

OREM, Utah – North Dakota State 125-pound sophomore Trent Sprenkle was named Western Wrestling Conference Co-Wrestler of the Week after upsetting No. 13 Ben Kjar of Utah Valley on Saturday.  Sprenkle shares the weekly honor with Northern Iowa’s Caleb Flores, who defeated No. 15 Michael Martinez of Wyoming.

Trent SprenkleNo. 19 Sprenkle jumped out to a 5-0 lead over Kjar with two takedowns and an escape.  Kjar tallied four points in the third period, but Sprenkle’s two escapes and point for riding time sealed the 8-4 upset win.  Sprenkle was the only wrestler to defeat Kjar in dual action this season.

Sprenkle’s decision helped the Bison claim a 25-10 win over Utah Valley to even their conference record at 3-3.  The Billings, Mont. native finished the regular season with an overall record of 29-7 and a 12-2 mark in duals.

The weekly honor is the first of Sprenkle’s career and the second of the season for the Bison.