Wrestling Tips

Somebody asked me a while ago how I 'manage' a competition, so I thought I would post some of the things I've learned over the years, mostly from trial and error and bad experience. A lot of this has to do with energy management for a long day of competition, but there are a few tricks in there as well. 

Expect delays, but remember they affect everybody, so don't let them throw you off.

If you are called unexpectedly to the mat, don't rush over there. They will wait for you, so finish your warm-up and make sure you are focused and ready to compete as you make your way over there, don't rush over and not be focused when the match starts.

Be sure to communicate what you like to hear in the match from your coach. Whether it is time left in a period, technique, motivation, screaming insults, whatever.

You usually wrestle later than you think. Even after you get called to the mat, it will probably be another 20 minutes, so make sure you don't start your warm-up too early. I hate to see people let their nerves get to them and warm up for an hour before every match, it is a huge waste of energy. Force yourself to sit down and relax. 

Along those lines, I used to not eat during the competition because I thought I would be up soon and didn't want food in my stomach. Force yourself to eat something so you have energy for the day. You eat for your last matches of the day, not the next one.

Bringing toilet paper and hand sanitizer to the competition is a must, especially in foreign countries!

Especially in long tournaments, it is very good to get out of the gym in between your matches, get some fresh air, get out of the noise, and refresh yourself. Sitting in the gym all day is exhausting, just ask your parents who don't even compete. If you lessen that toll, you will be fresher at the end of the day. Obviously, tell someone where you are going in case you suddenly come up, but you should be able to time it so you don't miss a match.

Noise is draining, so at long tournaments I bring and wear a set of earplugs. Seriously, it is a secret weapon. One time, I was so focused I forgot to take them out and wrestled my entire match with them in. It was one of my best performances because I was so focused. And yes, I could still hear my coaches, it only blocks out the background noise.

A fresh set of clothes, including socks and underwear, can make you feel like a new person. It is amazing what getting out of the clothes that are sweaty from your warm-up and first couple matches will do. 

Cool down immediately after the match until your heart rate slows down. Don't stop completely or you will let all that lactic acid sit in your muscles for a few hours.

Make sure you come 'down' in between matches. Don't stay at a peak all day, always ready to wrestle. In between matches, you need to cool down and then sit and completely relax. If you stay at a high pace all day, that is like 10-14 hours straight and is exhausting. 

Also, try and not watch too much wrestling. When you watch wrestling, even people you don't know, you subconsciously watch and tense up, at least for me. Remember, you are there as a competitor, not a spectator. You can have somebody film the matches you want to see and watch them later if you really want to. 

It is important to film your matches so you can review them later, but don't do it between matches. Take the key points from your coach, but don't focus that much energy on the past, look forward to what you need to do in the future match.