Training Tip #8 – Staying Injury Free

Do you get hurt in practice frequently? Do you think you just can’t catch a break with your body? Has an injury kept you out for an extended period of time?

It’s interesting that neither Ben nor I have had any major surgeries or injuries that have taken us out for long periods of time. One cannot help but argue that being healthy and being able to compete/ practice has a direct impact on how successful you can be when thinking long term.

One pet peeve of mine was when I would wrestle someone in practice and they would get in a position where they could be badly hurt. Most of the time it was a shoulder or a knee. I really never understood why they would put themselves in such a position and I would always stop and explain why they could be sitting on the sidelines for the next 6 months if they continued to do that to themselves. When they understood what they were doing and what its ramifications were they either defended before it got there or gave the position up. If you find yourself in a precarious position in practice such as in a bar, power half, single leg where your knee is turned out, you need to concede the position. For instance, think of getting your shoulder torn off in a power half and being tough by defending it in practice. Coaches probably grimace because your arm is all the way over your head and they think it’s going to pop out. Most people and myself included won’t tear a teammates shoulder out to get back points in practice. This is also where the problem lies. On bottom you think it’s the greatest defense ever. You continue to defend this way while the top guy knows he could really hurt you if he continued to run the move. What you should do is going over and understand the correct defense is to not get his arm pulled all the way over his head in the first place. Rather than do this you perpetually put your shoulder at risk. You don’t correct what is needed which is his basic half defense.

When it comes time for a match you need to protect yourself. When wrestling at the highest-level people go over because there are two choices, get hurt or go over. You need to take responsibility and protect yourselves. Make yourself better, don’t be that guy in practice. When something hurts, go over or give up the position. Understand that you need to defend before you get to that sort of position. When you correct the root of the problem you will become a better wrestler. Don’t count on refs, coaches or partners protecting you. Make the decision to get better and stay healthy.

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