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Mental Skills Handbook

Second Edition - Shannyn J. Gillespie Editor

For the USA Wrestling women freestyle resident athlete program held at the U.S. Olympic Education Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University

Table of Contents
Introduction Mindset of a Champion Self- Talk...Building a Winning Dialogue GOALS GOALS II How to Develop Visualization Skills Motivation Exercise Centering Acting Early Season Evaluation Stress Training Journals Rituals for Preparation Sources of Distraction Preparing for a Match What Do You Need? PERSISTENCE Post-Match Evaluation Shadow Wrestling Appendix Training Journal #1worksheet Appendix Training Journal #2 worksheet Appendix Problem Solving Self Talk worksheet Appendix Post Match Evaluation worksheet 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

USOEC Women Wrestlers, At the highest level or Olympic level, the difference between Olympians and Olympic Champions is measured sometimes by tenths of seconds or mental lapses of less than a blink of an eye. This packet of resources, written by various authors, was put together to help, aid, and strengthen your psychological and mental skills to give you the advantage to excel. The information below will help you if you believe it will help you and you are committed to mastering the mental aspect of sport. You must condition your mind just like you condition your musclessome say the mind is a muscle Much of our time is spent on the track, in the weight room, and in the wrestling room. Not much time is spent on honing and developing the psychological advantage. Until now

Mindset of a Champion
by Doug Reese How does a Champion think? What makes him different from the rest? Listed below are the qualities and characteristics of a true champion. Plug into these truths and make your way to the top! Be Coachable. Learn everything you can, be a sponge. If you don't understand something ask! Gain all of the knowledge you can about the sport. Train Hard. It is in practice where champions are made. Practice is preparation for competition. Give it all you've got-all the time. Only by going hard will you be ready for the challenges that you will face when it really counts. Be the first one at practice and the last one to leave. Be a Leader. You don't have to lead with your words, lead by example. Don't Make Excuses. Learn to accept responsibility for your actions. Develop a Positive Attitude. Believe arid you will achieve. A positive attitude-just one little spark can fan a flame through a whole team! Be the spark! Train with Selfishlessness. Be a team player. Sacrifice for the good of the team and your teammates. Go Hard. Always give 100 percent of what you have. Wrestle with Enthusiasm. Get excited; be fired up! Enjoy what you are doing. Wrestle with passion. Wrestle and train every moment like it is your last opportunity. Wrestle Smart. Keep a narrow focus. Do your job with intensity and concentration. Don't lose site of your goal. Act like a Winner. Wrestle with class-even during the tough times. A champion wrestles to win regardless of the opponent or the situation (time, score, etc.)

Self- Talk...Building a Winning Dialogue


by Beasey Hendrix We are always thinking about things and working to protect ourselves. The trick is to move away from negative and to focus on what you feel you need to do. If problems occur, find the solutions. Successful athletes learn to control their self-talk. They focus on the positive or on getting the job done! Enhancement Dialogue Some athletes have developed a set of words or phrases they use that help them focus on what they want to do, or on technical ideas they want to remember. Common cues you may already use are: "head" for keeping your help up in the right position, "focus" to remind yourself to be ready and alert to the next situation, a baseball hitter may say, "elbow high" to remind him to be in the proper stance to hit the pitch. It is interesting to note that athletes often use the same words their coaches use as cues Cue Words Make a list of the mental cues you use during your competition. Describe the time when you would use them. Are there any other reminders or thoughts that you would want to build into your competition dialogue? Write up your list of cue words: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Problem Recovery Dialogue There are common problems that can occur during a competition. We know that these problems might occur. Many athletes learn to build a self-talk dialogue to use when these predicable problems arise. Examples: bad call from the official missed shot, poor shot, mental error or judgment, etc. These situations arise and can cause a total disruption in your thinking. By designing a coping statement and then practicing it, you can train yourself to overcome the mental effects of a bad break. Problem Solving Self-Talk What are some common problems that might occur during your competition? What have you thought in the past? What do you want to say now? List your predicted problems, and the self-talk you can use to combat them.

Self- Talk...Building a Winning Dialogue by Beasey Hendrix cont.

Problem_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Solution_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Problem_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Solution_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Problem_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Solution_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Problem_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Solution_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ The key to using this method is to practice. Learn to think the thoughts that would first enter your mind when you hit a negative situation; then, practice shifting to your solution dialogue. Once you have completed this first assignment, you are on the road to understanding how to plan and implement a winning approach.

GOALS by Shannyn J. Gillespie A goal is something we want to do which we have not yet done. A broad example of an academic school goal is telling your self you will do better than you did last time on your homework or test. A more specific example of an academic school goal is telling your self you will get a particular grade or score on your next homework assignment or test. A good way to set and realize a goal is to write down what you want, how you are going to accomplish this, when the goal will happen, and why you want this goal. An example from the above academic school example is: writing down what grade you will get, writing down the steps it will take to get there, when you will get this grade, and why you want this grade. This means if want an A on a test or homework, you would write down how you will get the A grade, when you will get the grade, and why you want this grade (examples are reading homework every night 3 times, studying extra by reading flashcards, and staying after class to discuss with your teacher what grade you are trying to get and how they think you can do this). Learning how to use goals, like anything in life, takes time. This means if you start today you should expect to see results in timenot the very next second or even day. Goals are committed plans that have a very easy to follow progression like the steps of a ladder. This means you should not expect to get to your goal by skipping rungs on the ladder or just wishing and dreaming. You must write down what you want, how you are going to do it, when you will get it, why you want it, and work hard in order to reach your goals. In order for you to reach your goals, you need to learn and master the basics of your event. This means if you want an A on you test or homework, you must be able to read or write or add/subtract/divide/multiply. If you have not mastered the basics yet, you should ask for additional help at every moment until you can read, write and do basic math. You can use all of the above words to form goals for every part of your life. Examples are: wrestling goals; practice goals, skill goals, tournament goals, attitude goals, strength goalsthe list is endless and infinite!!! Your Goals Should Be SMART Specific- saying you will do better is less specific than saying I will get a specific grade Measurable- increasing work by repetitions, minutes, hours, or days Attainable- not so easy is takes no work to do or so hard you cannot do it Realistic- flying in the sky like a bird is not realisticit is fantasy Timely- date when you will accomplish your goal

GOALS II Set a goal that is SMART. 1. Specific-10 push-ups per night is more specific than saying I will do push-ups nightly. Measurable becoming a better student by studying with flashcards, rereading aloud after reading, & asking teacher what to do to increase my scores or grades is better than saying I will do better. Attainable-not so hard no one can do it or so easy you have already done it. Realistic-learning to fly is unrealistic as is beating me in wrestling at your current development stage. Timely-when you will accomplish goal. Goals need deadlines to become realstart dates and finish dates. 2. Identify why this goal will make you happy or better. Think of why you will enjoy this goal. 3. List obstacles in your way. Becoming a straight A student or a state champion has many obstacles and you should list them. You may be unable to see or list all obstacles nowbut they are there. 4. Seek guidance and counsel. This is what your parents, teachers, coaches, and most adults are forthey can help you if you ask. 5. Consider who can help you. Your friends, relatives, classmates, teammates may be able to help you if you ask. 6. List skills and knowledge required. Do you have to master reading or basic math or basic wrestling skills or whatever to accomplish your goal? 7. Develop a plan of action. Action or inaction makes everything happen. Write it down and do it!!! 8. Set a deadline. You need a start and finish time to realize your goalsother wise you are wishing, dreaming, wasting time and running your brain in circles.

How to Develop Visualization Skills


by Doug Reese
What is Visualization? Visualization is also referred to as guided imagery, or the process of creating a scene in the athlete's mind of what they want to happen. An athlete will create images, like pictures or movies, that recreate their best performances, or they will envision a desired outcome. While imagining these scenarios, the athlete will actually imagine every detail and the way it feels to perform just the way they want. These images can be visual (images and pictures), kinesthetic (how the body may feel), or auditory (the roar of the crowd). Using the mind, an wrestler can call up these images over and over, enhancing their skill through repetition or rehearsal, similar to physical practice. With mental practice, minds and bodies become trained to actually perform the skill imagined. Both physical and psychological reactions in certain situations can be improved with such visualization. Such repeated imagery can build both experience and confidence in an athlete's ability to perform certain skills under pressure, and in a variety of possible situations. The most effective visualization techniques result in a very vivid sport experience in which the athlete has complete control over a successful performance. Guided imagery and visualization can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of an athlete's training. In a world where sports performance and success is measured in one hundredths of a second, most athletes will use every possible training technique at hand. Many, to gain that very slim margin use visualization. How to Develop Visualization and Imagery Skills Imagery and visualization are the main ingredients for success. Visualization, with the of use imagery, is thinking and seeing yourself perform positively and successfully in all situations: whether it is in the classroom, at training or in a competitive realm. The following are techniques to follow, remembering that these are learned skills that take practice. Visualization and imagery development varies with each athlete, depending on his or her commitment to the process. Visualization and Imagery Techniques 1. Visualize from your "mind's eye" or as you would see it. 2. Visualize with as many of your senses as possible. Utilize all your seven senses. Try to recreate as many feelings and muscular stimuli with each visualization as you can. 3. Visualize as many times during the day as possible-when you get up, before training, after training and always before you fall asleep. 4. Visualize all the various situations that you will be facing. 5. Visualize those skills that are most difficult for you. It is important that the images are as perfect as possible, include as much of the physical feeling of doing these techniques as you can. 6. Repeat each image in your mind as many times as possible. Utilize every opportunity to reinforce neuromuscular patterning.

Motivation Exercise
by Shannyn J. Gillespie Think of something in your past you were extremely motivated to do. Relax and form as clear a memory of the picture in your mind as possible. Run the image or picture in your mind. Re-run the scene in your mind several times with as much intensity (focusing on & becoming aware) of your visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (sense of touch or feeling) senses as possible.

Questions to Capture Your Motivation Visual Senses


As you remember, do you see a movie or a snap shot? Is it in color or black and white? Is it close or far away? Is it to the left, to the right, or far away? Is it high or low or in the middle in your field of vision? Do you see it through your own eyes? Or Do you see it like an outsider viewing it? Does it have a frame around it? Or Does if have a panorama that goes on forever? Is it bright or dim, dark or light? Is it focused or unfocused?

Auditory & Kinesthetic (sense of touch & feeling)


When you hear, whats gong ondo you hear your own voiceor do you hear others in the scene? Do you hear a dialogue or a monologue? Are the sounds you hear loud or quiet? Is the tempo slow or fast? Do the sounds come and go or do they have a steady commentary? Whats the main thing you are hearing or saying to yourself? Where is the sound located where is it coming from? When you feel it, is it hard or soft? Is it warm or cool? Is it rough or smooth? Is it flexible or rigid? Is it sharp or dull? Where is the feeling located in your body?

You may or may not be able to answer any of these questions now (Rome was not built in a night or a day), but it is important to notice or become aware of things that make you (motivated) go into a desirable state. This is also true: some people have stronger auditory senses, others have stronger kinesthetic senses, & others are more sensitive to visual images.
After you have done this exercise a number of times with several memories that made you motivated (repetition is the mother of skill), you may begin to see a pattern. When you discover your patterns, you have discovered the keys to your motivation. Knowing exactly what motivates you will enhance your performance in all areas of your life. Now you may use these tools if and when you are unmotivated to get motivated. This will need to be drilled like everything else in your life to be mastered.

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Centering
by Beasey Hendrix Centering is a focus/refocusing technique that allows athletes to recover composure and to redirect focus. It is promoted as a basic stress control technique. The Idea Behind the Method Sports psychologists tell us that it is important for the athlete to "stay in the present." We can't control the future, nor the past, so thinking about these time frames can cause anxiety and stress. Yet, many athletes place themselves in the past by dwelling on what has happened. Others jump to the future to worry about what might occur. Both of these situations can negatively affect performance. Centering helps you "stay in the present" by helping you concentrate on your body and your breathing. This allows you to focus on things other than stress, bad calls, what happened, or what will happen next in the competition. The mere act of thinking about your breathing changes your focus from the negative or anxiety-causing event, to the present task. This kicks out the negative and helps you regroup your thoughts. How Do I Center? Focus on breathing a slow, steady stream of air in through your nose. Feel the air enter your lungs and settle into the center of your body. Blowout through your mouth while thinking a key work or phase that helps you to refocus on what you need to be doing. Some athletes choose to think, "What do I need to do now?" Others say, "Center." Some even close their eyes and envision a successful move. You can develop your own key word or phase. Just make it one that has meaning to you. How Do I Learn this Skill? Centering can become automatic if you practice it enough. Center yourself after flurries, a break in the action, or a time out. Teach yourself to use every break to regain focus by centering. Train yourself to control your thinking by using this centering skill as your cue. Invoke that automatic refocus. When Do I Apply this Skill? Center any time you have a pause in the action. Simply take your breath and repeat your key word to refocus on your goals. When centering becomes automatic, you will be almost "machine-like" in your response to competition situations. What Will Centering Do for Me? Once you learn this skill, you will notice a definite change in the thinking patterns you use in your competition. You will spend less time thinking about problems and more time focusing on solutions. You will have less stress, and you will enjoy more success. You make the call. If centering is something that will benefit you in competition, then practice it daily until you master the skill. It is a simple and effective way for you to control your performance self-talk and focus.

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Acting
by Shannyn J. Gillespie What if you want to be a champion? What if you want to look like a winner? What if you want to feel like the best? Why not act that way until you really are? It may seem odd to trick your brain into believing one thing but it works. You may be unconsciously acting anyway but in a way that is dis-empowering (taking away vital energy and power). Why not act in a way that will empower you? You can act is if you feel proud, confident, happy in many ways. One way to portray confidence is to keep your head up and shoulders back. This body language usually makes everyone feel better. Ever notice when you feel sad or depressed how you shoulders are hunched over and your head is down coincidence? Your brain interprets this as sadand you may feel more sad or depressed if you continue this way. Another way to when you are uncertain is to mimic what a champion would do. Ask your self what a champion would do in this situation? Champions always seem to have the right answersand your brain knows what a champion would do. Even if you are not a champion yet, your brain can act is if it was and you will feel like a champion. If you are not sure what a champion would do, act how you think a champion would act...again, you will feel more like a champion. Ever notice how you are breathing when you are tense or timid or happy or sad or motivated? You can control your breathing when you get tense and act like you are getting ready for another great performance. Controlling your breathing (and becoming aware of how this effects your emotions) will help you control your mind. Act as if you can control your breathing and notice the difference in your body and mind. This idea can also used in practice or during warm-ups or anywhere. Instead of going through the motions in warm-ups, act like you are warming up for the Olympic Finals. Instead of just wrestling matches in practice, act like you are wrestling in the World Championship Finals. This will put you in a different state of mind and change how you view your practices...thus, getting more out of practices. Winners, champions, the best, and successful people often develop confidence by constantly challenging themselves. If they make a mistake, they often chalk it up as a learning experience. Rather than beat themselves up when they falter, they simply say, Well, now I know that approach will not work for me and try a different approach. This ability to use every experience as a learning moment separates winners, champions, the best, and successful people from the average. You can act just like them until you are they. As you notice what the successful people are doing, take mental notes. You may act this way in the future.

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Early Season Evaluation


by Doug Reese Now that most of us have gotten a number of matches under our belts it is time to do some evaluation. We have wrestled at a high competitive level and we need to look deeply into our early season tendencies. . Answer these questions honestly. The coaching staff will look closely to see if we notice anything that might help you develop to your full potential. 1. What was your best match this year? Why? Please be specific. 2. What was your worst match? Why? Please be specific. 3. When are you scoring most of your points? 4. When are your opponents scoring most of their points? 5. What is your go to or most effective scoring technique? 6. What is your least effective technique and position? 7. How are you scoring? 8. How are your opponents scoring off of you? 9. Describe your warm-up routine. 10. Is your warm-up getting you ready? Do you want or need to change anything? 11. What is your basic strategy? What are you trying to do? What are you looking for? 12. What patterns do you see repeating themselves? (Good or bad) 13. What do you need in practice? 14. What do you need from the Coaching staff during competition? (Warm-up, prematch, match, post-match) 15. How would you lose if you lost a match tomorrow? 16. How is your conditioning level? 17. What are you thinking about during a match? 18. How is your weight cutting? Is it working? Do you feel strong afterwards? Be specific 19. Is there anything else you need, or your teammates need to wrestle and prepare to compete at the highest level?

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Stress
by Beasey Hendrix
Stress can be a friend or foe. Too little stress and you will be under-aroused and not be motivated to perform. Too much stress and you will be over-aroused, and you may panic, thereby harming your performance. Either way, your ability to perform suffers. Over-activation (too much stress) is the major problem that most athletes experience, and it makes sense. If you are performing in front of a crowd, against good competition, you see the competition as a challenge. This offers many opportunities for stress to develop. Often times this stress becomes too much. Two Types of Stress Stress can be classified into two different types. One is called "state stress," and the other type is labeled "trait stress." State stress is caused by a situation or event. Trait stress is caused by a person's personality or thinking style. It is common for athletes to experience situational stress. As a matter of fact, a little stress helps you. It gets you warmed up and ready to go! The problem starts when you have so much stress that it begins to overtake your planning and causes you to have a shift in focus to inappropriate topics and concerns. Many athletes actually begin to worry about their worrying! Physical and Mental Stress Stress shows itself in two ways in the athlete, physical and mental stress. In physical stress, the athlete begins to "feel" nervous. The signs are cold hands, butterflies, and jumpiness. In mental stress, the athlete starts to have negative self-talk or doubt. Either of these situations can become the focus of your attention and interfere with the ability to perform. Where Stress Comes From Stress comes from you! Yes, you produce it, so you can control it. Now, that may sound a little strange. Many things cause stress: boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, coaches, parents, lack of money, school, big competition, etc. Stress comes from all sorts of things in our lives. Research has shown that some people are bothered by certain situations, while others have no problem in the same situation. Nothing is particular causes stress. Stress is caused by how you perceive an idea, requirement or expectation. It is really in how you interpret the event or situation. So any stress you feel is caused by how you are looking at the situation. It is coming from your picture of how things should be, and what you think needs to be. By placing such values on an idea you begin to produce tension, stress, anxiety, or pressure. Another common problem with athletes is that we are always looking into the future, wondering about what will happen. We have no control over the future, so it can make us worry about the uncertainty. This builds stress. You can see as athletes we have a great opportunity to build a lot of stress into our lives. What You Can Do What can you do if you feel too much stress? Understand that you are making the stress. Step back and identify what you are stressing over. Look for situations to that specific problem (what do I want to do about it?) Get to work on the solution. If there is not an immediate solution, then tell yourself to let it go. Refocus on an idea or thought that will help you. By understanding that you are in control, you are a step closer to actually being in control. You have the power, so use it!

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Training Journals
by Olympic Champion Steve Fraser Any elite or world-class athlete will tell you that keeping a training journal is an absolute must if you want to make the most of your training. Detailed record keeping that reminds you of exactly what you did during training on a certain day, week, or month allows you to make a judgment on works best for you. Almost all the advantages of keeping a training journal come from regular comparisons that you are able to make by logging and tracking day-to-day workouts, diet, attitude, etc. A journal lets you chart the peaks and valleys of your performances. You may think that you will never forget a particular event or practice, but could you remember the exact workout the day or weeks before, that prepared you for that peak performance? A training journal is also a great place to record the results of competitive events. By jotting down the name of the event, who you competed against, and the outcome, you can compare your accomplishments from event to event, from year to year. Your Personal Record Because each athletes training needs are different the information recorded in a journal is completely up to the individual. Your training journal should be just that yours. Sports physiologists, athletic trainers and coaches as well as former Olympic medalists agree that there are several areas any athlete involved in a serious program should include in a journal. Daily Workout For each day of training note the time of day, and a description of the workout session. Specify the type of exercise and how you felt before, during and after the training session. Also note, the intensity during each workout session and the number of sessions that day. Record the number and length of rest Intervals during the session. Record, too, if you are recovering from illness or injury. Note the time of day of your training. You can compare early morning workouts to afternoon sessions, for example, to see if the time of day influences how well you train or how you feel. Weight Fluctuations Record your weight faithfully each day. It will tell you a great deal about your training program. Weigh yourself before breakfast. This is your "real weight." Then weigh yourself before and after practice to see how much water loss you are experiencing - and to gauge how readily you regain water weight. Sleep Patterns Note the ease of falling asleep the night before, and how well and how long you slept. Jot down any changes or disturbances in sleep patterns as well as the total hours slept each evening.

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Training Journals by Olympic Champion Steve Fraser cont.

Injuries How you recover from an injury can be documented in your journal, and can be used as a reference for future injuries. Regular record keeping will show what type of treatment was used for a particular injury. How long did it take for a complete recovery? Was complete rest or moderate exercise the way you rehabilitated? A journal will help you track the cause of injuries more easily, too. For example, if a knee problem develops for no apparent reason, a journal will allow you to look back over your activities for previous days for clues. Recovering from any illness such as a cold or the flu also should be noted in your journal. Frequent illnesses may indicate a low resistance to germs and infections as a result of stress or overtraining. Supplementary Training All supplementary training should be recorded and monitored. If you are weight training for greater muscular strength, note the amount of weights and repetitions, or weight resistance machines used in your training. When running or cycling is part of your program, record the distance and time (speed) for each workout. Common Journal Pitfalls The most common pitfall of keeping a regular journal is to record too much information. Keep only information that is important to you and your training program. Don't become bogged down with recording trivial details or more data than you need. Stick to jotting down only the few important details. Otherwise, you may tire altogether of keeping any notes. Looking Back... The greatest benefit you will get from keeping a training journal is the ability to look back over past weeks, months and years. You might not have to recall the difficulty, once you are through a particularly tough training period, but flipping back through the pages in your journal will remind you of just how hard you have worked. If you really believe that keeping a journal will improve your athletic performance, you will find time to keep it and learn from it too.

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Rituals for Preparation


by Beasey Hendrix
Warming Up Most athletes understand the idea of warming up. A warm up allows the body to activate and become aroused. It helps the athlete become physically prepared. But many athletes go about their warm up in a haphazard, unplanned way. Warm up should be a period of getting into optimum readiness for competition, can become a moment of lost opportunities, or even worse - a time 'of stress and anxiety. ' Order from the Chaos Warming up can offer a time for mental preparation, planning strategies, tactics, and even stress control. During your warm up, you can accomplish many things that will help you in your performance. But how can you be sure that you warm up properly and cover all of your needed concerns? By developing a ritual, or a specific way of doing things. We all have special, customized ways of doing things. By organizing and following through with your special procedures, you develop a comforting system of preparing for competition. What Do You Need? It is easy. You just need to get things organized in a comfortable sequence. What do you like to do to get ready? Think about it, and then repeat the same routine every time. Use your ritual to transform... from anxiously waiting competition, to being well prepared and ready to go. Design Your Own Ritual Take a few minutes and decide exactly what you would like to do. Get it in your mind what you want to do, what you need to do, and when to be ready for your competition. Layout a plan in a step-by-step fashion; then practice it. Many athletes like to listen to music as part of their ritual. Some listen to easy listening music to relax and calm them down prior to competition, and others like to get pumped up. Just decide what you need to get you ready. Your Ritual is Your Friend Use your ritual to prepare yourself for competition. Get lost In your preparation. Everything becomes automatic as you go from step to step. No outside worries or concerns. Just focus on your goals, and get your mind and body ready. By entering your ritual, you retreat to a comfortable place, one that you are familiar and comfortable with. No matter where you are, you can enter this "place" where you feel good, and you know what is happening. Use your ritual to cue yourself to get Into your zone. Final Thoughts There are many things an athlete can do to help control stress and to prepare yourself for competition. The development of a pre-competition ritual will' help you control stress, and yet prepare you for the demands of competition. Take the time to determine what you need, design a definite ritual, then use it. By ritualizing your pre-competition tasks, you help yourself shift Into automatic, you become comfortable with where you are, and you stop worrying about unneeded concerns.

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Sources of Distraction
by Doug Reese Distraction Management Distraction for the athlete can come from a number of sources, both internal and external, such as: The presence of loved one you want to impress ' Family or relationship problems Media - photographers, interviewers, cameras, heat from lights, etc. Teammates and other competitors Coaches who do not know when to keep quiet Under performance or unexpected high performance Frustration at mistakes Unjust criticism Poor refereeing decisions Changes in familiar patterns

You can prepare for and deal with all of these sources of distraction! Coping with Distraction Coping with distractions and minor irritations is mainly a matter of attitude - you can either dwell on them or blow them up out of proportion to their significance, or you can accept them and bypass them. If you waste mental energy worrying over a trivial problem, then this is energy that cannot be spent maintaining good technique (hence preserving physical energy). Over long events or competitions, this wastage of mental energy can seriously damage your performance. What is worth remembering is that when you are distracted, you lose concentration and make a mistake - YOU HAVE NOT LOST YOUR SKILLS. All you have lost is your focus. The following points may help you deal with distractions: Remember that although events may be beyond your control, your reactions to events are entirely controlled by you. Think positively - recognize little irritations - and let them go... Know you can perform well despite distraction. Prepare for and expect more distraction at bigger events. Expect other competitors to be more nervous at big events - use your ability to resist stress and distraction as a competitive advantage. Develop a refocusing plan and practice using it when you are distracted. Learn how to change bad moods to good moods. Sleep and rest more before big events so that you have more mental energy to devote to distraction, mood and stress control.

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Preparing for a Match


by Beasey Hendrix Wrestlers at the top level of expertise have already enjoyed tremendous success in the athletic arena. Most of you know how to prepare for a big match. For those athletes, keep up the good work. You don't need to fix it if it-is not broken! For athletes who want to know more about match preparation, research shows us that there are some commonalties among the most successful wrestlers. They appear to loosely follow the same patterns of preparation and thought. I have compiled a series of suggestions from this research and person experience with my athletes. Read over this information...compare it to what you are presently doing, then affirm your preparation methods or make some adjustments. Pre-match Nervousness One thing that shows up in interviews with our top wrestlers is the fact that most wrestlers suffer from pre-match anxiety. This is normal. As long as this nervousness is not overwhelming or causing you to have focus problems, then it is okay. In fact, it may help activate you and keep you sharp, so, don't worry about a little tension. Preparation Hints Become self-centered. Focus on what you need. Develop a plan of action based on what you want to do. (Plan a perfect match) Understand that there may be developments in a match that are unexpected and even unfair. Have a plan of action in mind for: bad calls, fleeing the mat, stalling, or any other negative events. Work to achieve that optimum feeling of readiness. Some athletes try to get really pumped up for weaker opponents, and then try to calm down for a tougher foe. Research tells us that the most successful athletes have an optimum arousal point. They achieve a feeling of readiness that tells them-it's time! The roller coaster effect of getting pumped up, or of having to calm down is just too hard to handle. Try to reach your special point of readiness each time. Focus on the appropriate topics. Rid yourself of any negative self-talk that may occur. Hit your zone or flow state. Step on the mat. Become a wrestler. Clear your mind of outside concerns and focus on your plan. Perform. Recover from any unexpected events. Use your Plan B. Enjoy your performance.

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What Do You Need?


by Doug Reese Every Wrestler is Different Every wrestler is different, they cut weight differently, warm-up differently, handle stress differently, and wrestle differently. It is important to the coaching staff that we treat each individual wrestler differently. To do that we need to know what you need to wrestle your best. We need to know what each wrestler wants and what they are thinking so that we can help put you in the best frame of mind to perform at the highest level. What type of warm-up do you want and do you need assistance? What do you want before the match? What do you want during the match from your coach in the corner? Who do you want in your corner? Do you want a scouting report on your opponent? How much do you want to know? Do you want an evaluation directly after the match (do you want to be left alone), or do you want to go over the match later? What type of warm-down do you want? How else can the coaching staff assist you? What are your goals for this tournament?

It is important that all members of the team communicate their expectations and needs to the coaching staff. We can be more effective as a team when we open and establish the channels of communication. Remember the goal is to perform. Any way we can help you perform at the highest level, that's what we will do!

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PERSISTENCE by Shannyn J. Gillespie


This word means to keep trying when you think you cannot or when you do not feel like trying anymore. When you do not feel like trying or think you can not try anymore, this is a fantastic time to tell your self you can, motivate your self, and encourage your self that you are able and ready for the job, task, exercise or what ever you are doing. A clear example is when you fail a test or lose a match or try to do something and cannot seem to do or get it rightand you keep trying because you know soon you will grasp the concept, understand the problem, or get better because you did not give up and you kept trying. One way to be persistent when you do not immediately achieve a goal is to ask for assistance, instruction or guidance from a parent, teacher, or coach. Many of you already do this and that is good. Some times you may get angry, upset, mad, or frustrated when you attempt to do something and you do not succeed right away. This is the point when you must tell your self I can do this. This is also a good time to ask someone like a parent, teacher, or coach what to do next time in order to succeed. It is always better to try again after instruction, assistance, and guidancethis is the time when your brain is most ready to learn. Here is something to think about: you will succeed and or learn if you keep trying. Several examples are you learning to walk or talk or count or read or tie your shoe. Can you imagine if all of you would have stopped trying how to walk or talk when you were very little? Babies have to be shown or taught how to do nearly everything except being persistentbeing persistent is an innate, instinctive, or unlearned skill that helps babies survive and thrive. You possess or have the same skill and it is to your advantage to fortify, strengthen, or become better at being persistent. If you do not succeed the first time, you are about averageif you ask for assistance, instruction, & guidance and then try again you are more likely to succeed and learn. The times when you fall short of your goals is the time when you can learn the most and try again. Giving all that you have or trying really hard or giving a maximum effort will increase your chances of success in all areas of your life. You must do this all the time and soon a habit will be formed because this will be the only way you know how to accomplish things or a task. Sometimes we put too much emphasis or we focus too much or we think too much about winning or losing or getting the highest grade or highest achievement. What we really need to do is focus on our efforts or how hard we tried or how prepared we were. When we focus on working hard, trying hard, and becoming as prepared, as possible, only good things will occur. Because we focus on the ideas that will make us better, regardless of the outcome or the grade or the achievement, we will teach our brain that being prepared, trying to do our best, and working hard is much more important than anything. You and I can always try harder. You and I can tell when we are giving it our all. You and I can become the best that we can be at all times when we step in the classroom or the wrestling room. YOU & I CAN DO ANYTHING WE SET OUT TO DO!!!

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Post-Match Evaluation
by Doug Reese Who did you wrestle?

How did the match go?

What went well?

What didn't?

Analyze why?

What would you do differently next time?

Were you ready to wrestle? Physically? Mentally? Weight?

Was your preparation in line with what you need to do? Ritual okay? .Perfect match plan? What areas do you need to strengthen? Was your preparation in line with what you need to do? Ritual okay?

Perfect Match plan? What areas do you need to strengthen?

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Shadow Wrestling
by Shannyn J. Gillespie This form of exercise combines mental and physical aspects while giving the wrestler a cardio workout as well. Many of you probably have seen or heard the term shadow boxing. But what actually is shadow boxing? Shadow boxing, the term, is derived from boxing ones shadow. Sense you can rarely see your shadow, one has to imagine boxing a shadow. How does this benefit wrestlers? This benefits wrestlers because we can use this same technique using our wrestling skills. This is a lead up imagery skill that many can apply right away and receive benefits. What makes this technique more effective is to also imagine the other senses i.e. auditory, kinesthetic (feeling of touch). You can actually use your mind to hear the crowd or your coach or your opponent or yourself. You want to make the experience as real as possible to prepare your mind for upcoming competitions. It is also a very good idea to imagine how it feels when you shoot and your opponent sprawls or you sprawl and what your opponents grasp feels like. Again, making yourself aware of your senses and imagining exactly how they occur prepares your for match like situations. It may not seem like much, but shadow wrestling for 6 minutes really does give you a good cardio workout. It may be hard to stay in position initially for 6 minutes. So, you may need to work up to this plateau. You can get in your stance and: take shots, sprawl, back step, back arch, arm spin, firemans carry, inside trip, head lockthe skills are limitless. You can also feel the mat underneath your feet, feel your opponents grasp, hear the ref blowing a whistle, & hear the noise and chatter of the arena. Your mind is powerful and will do what you tell it to do.

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Training Journal #1
What I did today to become an Olympic champion! Day___ Date___ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ What I did today to become an Olympic champion! Day___ Date___ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ What I did today to become an Olympic champion! Day___ Date___ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ What I did today to become an Olympic champion! Day___ Date___ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ What I did today to become an Olympic champion! Day___ Date___ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ What I did today to become an Olympic champion! Day___ Date___ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ What I did today to become an Olympic champion! Day___ Date___ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

What will you do habitually to become an Olympic Champion?


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Training Journal #2
Date_________ Time Awoke________ Hrs. of sleep________ Time to bed_________ Meals (food type): Breakfast___________________________________________________________ Lunch_____________________________________________________________________________ Dinner____________________________________________________________________________ Training Activity____________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ How did I feel today? ________________________________________________________________ What did I learn today?_______________________________________________________________ What should I do different? ___________________________________________________________ MY #1 goal________________________________________________________________________ General Comments__________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ Date_________ Time Awoke________ Hrs. of sleep________ Time to bed_________ Meals (food type): Breakfast___________________________________________________________ Lunch_____________________________________________________________________________ Dinner____________________________________________________________________________ Training Activity____________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ How did I feel today? ________________________________________________________________ What did I learn today?_______________________________________________________________ What should I do different? ___________________________________________________________ MY #1 goal________________________________________________________________________ General Comments__________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ Date_________ Time Awoke________ Hrs. of sleep________ Time to bed_________ Meals (food type): Breakfast___________________________________________________________ Lunch_____________________________________________________________________________ Dinner____________________________________________________________________________ Training Activity____________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ How did I feel today? ________________________________________________________________ What did I learn today?_______________________________________________________________ What should I do different? ___________________________________________________________ MY #1 goal________________________________________________________________________ General Comments__________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ Date_________ Time Awoke________ Hrs. of sleep________ Time to bed_________ Meals (food type): Breakfast___________________________________________________________ Lunch_____________________________________________________________________________ Dinner____________________________________________________________________________ Training Activity____________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ How did I feel today? ________________________________________________________________ What did I learn today?_______________________________________________________________ What should I do different? ___________________________________________________________ MY #1 goal________________________________________________________________________ General Comments__________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________

What will you do habitually to become an Olympic Champion?


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Problem Solving Self-Talk worksheet


What are some common problems that might occur during your competition? What have you thought in the past? What do you want to say now? List your predicted problems, and the self-talk you can use to combat them. Problem_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Solution_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Problem_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Solution_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Problem_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Solution_________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ The key to using this method is to practice. Learn to think the thoughts that would first enter your mind when you hit a negative situation; then practice shifting to your solution dialogue. Once you have completed this first assignment, you are on the road to understanding how to plan and implement a winning approach.

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Post-Match Evaluation worksheet


Who did you wrestle?______________________________________________________ How did the match go?_____________________________________________________ What went well?__________________________________________________________ What didn't? _____________________________________________________________ Analyze why?____________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ What would you do differently next time?______________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Were you ready to wrestle?__________________________________________________ Physically? ________________________________________________________ Mentally? _________________________________________________________ Weight?___________________________________________________________

Was your preparation in line with what you need to do?___________________________ Ritual okay?_____________________________________________________________ Perfect Match plan?_______________________________________________________ What areas do you need to strengthen?_________________________________________ Was your preparation in line with what you need to do?___________________________ Ritual okay?_____________________________________________________________ Perfect Match plan?_______________________________________________________ What areas do you need to strengthen?_________________________________________

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