I want you to visualize you are about to wrestle a match. First, take a look around and listen to all that is going on. There are people running around everywhere, scoreboard buzzers are going off, coaches are yelling, whistles are blowing, fans are screaming, there is just a lot going on. Now, I want you to focus on the match you are about to wrestle. What tie up are you going to get to? What shot are you going to take? What if you get on bottom? How are you going to try and pin your opponent?
Wow, there is a lot to think about it’s almost overwhelming. You almost feel exhausted because you just wrestled 100 matches in your mind. Before a match, you need to go through a routine and warm-up your mind just like you would for your body. Your mental routine is meant to get you in a good mindset. You can accomplish this by using thoughts, words, images, and feelings.
Before a match you want to make sure you are not too pumped up that your tired when you step on the mat, but you also don’t want your energy so low that you are flat. One way to control this is through your thoughts. Think of something that eases your mind, and makes you less nervous or excited. For me, a thought that I would use was, “It’s just a wrestling match, and I’m good at wrestling, so there is nothing to be nervous about.” That was a way for me to bring my energy and emotions down by simplifying what I was about to do. One way to get your energy up is through music. Find songs that are fast paced, with either lyrics or a beat that gets you fired up.
In addition to monitoring your energy, you also need concentrate on your focus. As I mentioned there are a lot of distractions in your surroundings, and plenty of thoughts in your head that can be overwhelming. You need focus on just a couple things. Maybe an image of you getting your had raised would be good, if your confidence is low. Words and phrases are also a great way to focus on less. Instead of trying to focus on a whole match, think of small game plan that you want to do to get the match started. I talked to Max Askren and his phrase before he wrestled was, “Hands down, head low.” It was his little reminder of what he wanted to do. He didn’t need to be over focused on the millions of things that could happen in a wrestling match.
A good metal routine will also provide more confidence because you will feel in control of your mindset before the match. Just like wrestling this takes practice, so don’t be frustrated if one thing doesn’t work. Just try something new, and soon you will find the best level of energy and focus for your pre-match routine.