IT’S FREESTYLE AND GRECO STATE TIME!
The magical period where dreams are either realized…or crushed. In order to help you do all you can to be prepared, here is a small checklist highlighting a few things I make sure my athletes’ stay on top of as the time approaches.
Is your conditioning in order? Have you been pushing yourself in practice and not holding back? While I believe the absolute best way to get in shape for wrestling is to wrestle, you must also make sure you are doing extra work on your own as well to continue developing your work capacity. While it’s very important to have high intensity days, it’s equally important to have some lower, moderate intensity conditioning workouts. Things like light drilling, jump roping, moderate bike riding, etc. will go a long way in increasing your ability to recover during a match and recover on days when you have multiple matches.
One thing I like to do with my wrestlers is attach a rope to the prowler sledand do a push pull drill in the tabata protocol form. 20 seconds they pull and/or push with 10 seconds rest. Repeat 8 times for a total of four minutes straight. This gives me a great gauge on their pulling strength/endurance and leg drive strength/endurance, two very important parts of making it to the top of the podium.
When you know that you have done EVERYTHING possible to be the best version you can be when competition time comes, it’s easy to be confident. As State draws closer, every day matters. If you’re not preparing the way you should be now, you won’t wrestle the way you should when the time comes. Every wrestler I have worked with that has won a state title has had laser focus the last month or so leading up to the tournament. If it isn’t constantly on your mind, if you’re missing workouts, or taking shortcuts in practice you will not make it to the top of the podium.
Are you stretching and foam rolling enough? If you’ve had a nagging injury have you had it looked at, or are you just “toughing it out”? It’s hard to compete at high levels when you’re not 100%, especially when a lot of small injuries are preventable like lower back stiffness (tight hips, hamstrings, or weak trunk) and sore shoulders (too much internal rotation). Make sure you are stretching and taking care of your body.
This is a big part. If you’re tired from your weight cut and dogging it in practice because of that, just know that:
Whether it is skipping practices, cheating on your diet, staying up late and not getting enough rest, or not doing extra conditioning because you want to hang out with your friends, just remember that the one who is the most disciplined is probably the one who will get their hand raised when it counts.
This is an incredibly important aspect. If your diet is clean, not only will you feel and perform better, but you will also make weight cutting much easier on yourself. For more info on weight cutting, check out this post.
Make sure you sleep and recover! It is great to “Embrace the Grind” you must also remember that working too hard and not resting will have a negative effect on you. The goal is to work very hard (a period in which you will be fatigued) but then back off a bit so you can peak for state! You want to be fresh, not burnt out for your big tournament.
Make it count
And finally, Make it count. You put all this work into achieving a goal that the worst thing you could do is wrestle “not to lose” instead of wrestling to win!! Go out there and put it all on the line. Good luck!!