Being Extraordinary in the Sport of Wrestling
By Steve Fraser
October 12, 2012
What a great word… ‘Extraordinary’. Being extraordinary means being exceptional, amazing and remarkable. What a wonderful way to be. Who doesn’t want to be extraordinary in life? Who doesn’t want to ‘have’ an extraordinary existence? And for wrestlers and coaches, who doesn’t want to have an extraordinary wrestling career?
So what does it take to be extraordinary in the sport of wrestling?
Let’s start with integrity. Having integrity in one’s wrestling career means we honor our word. We do what we say we will do. And we finish what we start. Having integrity with the way we train and how we interact with our coaches or wrestlers is the foundation of creating a strong bond between coach and athlete. It leads to great trust which is essential in moving in a positive direction. Athletes must trust that their coaches have their very best interests in mind. And coaches have to trust that their athletes are fully committed to be the best that they can be. This mutual trust is the foundation for great skill development and progress in achieving success.
Be complaint-free! Eliminating (or limiting) gossip and negativity will lead toward positive actions and attitudes. Focusing on what we can control in regards to our athletic training and progress is the only way to be. Complaining about things only sets up a negative environment that will lead us down a dark path. The grueling training and all the hard work that is involved with becoming a successful wrestler makes it difficult enough without being surrounded by negative feelings and thoughts.
If we don’t like something and it is a real issue then we must change it! We can’t just complain about it. We must do something to get in a positive environment, which is crucial for one to flourish.
On the mat, we should never complain to the referee, our opponent or coach, even if our opponent does something illegal. We should ignore our opponent’s illegal action like it never happened. This will make our opponents think we are too tough to complain.
Be powerful! Ask for results and help with straight communication. No beating around the bush. Honesty along with a professional, forthright communicative approach will help one to solve issues and focus everyone involved on the tasks at hand.
On the mat, we should never show any sign of weakness. We should always be powerful and confident in our actions.
Be courageous! Have your fear and act anyway. We all experience fear at times. To achieve something extraordinary we have to be courageous in our attack and our approach. Whether it is on the mat with an opponent, or facing a conflict within our training situation. Be bold and confident that you will do your best to win or overcome the obstacle. This courageous mindset will help us to climb the highest mountain.
Be peaceful! Give up the fear that anything is wrong. We need to be at peace with how we are training and what we are doing. This will give us the total confidence that we are on the right road. Our personal lives come into play here. We need to be living the life that – deep down inside – we know is the right way to live, according to our own personal moral compass. Having inner guilt or doubt about ourselves will keep us from being at peace. Now, our moral compasses may differ. I am not saying everyone has to have the same moral standards. However, the key is our inner conflict. Do we have inner conflict or not?
On the mat, we need to be confident that we are paying the price to win. Off the mat, we need to be confident that we are living the right lifestyle; a lifestyle that meets our personal belief that shows our true character as a human being.
Kevin Jackson, an Olympic Champion and head coach of Iowa State University, said it this way, “To be the best one has to have his/her whole life in order to be at peace, which is essential in achieving great success.”
Be charismatic! Fully powerful and available in such a way that whoever we are with feels that we are truly present with them in that moment. This includes teammates, coaches, administrators and all supporters. As an athlete showing our coaches that we are present with them and coachable will inspire them to help us even more. Same for a coach, being present and charismatic with athletes will evoke an open-mindedness and excitement among those athletes.
Be enrolling! Get people involved with our career, enroll people into our life and be willing to create from all the possibilities. Creating a strong support group and surrounding ourselves with great people will help us to build our career. Learning from this team of supporters will guide us forward in a very positive way.
As I continue to search my own heart for ‘my part’ in our future Greco-Roman national program I am forced to look at all of these principles of extraordinary living and see where I fall short. My work starts there.
Expect To Win!