1. I am wrestling. You shall have no other sports before me.
I know some of you participate in other sports and that’s great. Maybe you even prefer some of your other sports to wrestling. What I am implying is that wrestling needs to be a priority if you want to be really good at it. If you can dedicate some time during the summer to wrestling and conditioning, it will help you tremendously. If you play baseball during the summer and play football or run cross-country in the fall, I think that’s fine. However, if you also wrestle, then do what you can to recover from football season or cross-country and give 100% of your attention to wrestling season when the time comes. Don’t merely wrestle for three months out of the year and forget wrestling entirely during the other nine months of the year.
2. You shall have no infallible idols or deep-seated beliefs regarding wrestling.
If you have a lot of negative ingrained beliefs pertaining to your wrestling ability or your abilities to achieve you’re wrestling goals, you need to examine those beliefs. You may think you are not talented enough. You may think that great conditioning can’t overcome a lack of talent. However, hard work, conditioning, and large amounts of time spent drilling can make a huge difference. Beliefs are important, but be careful. If you believe that you can do a single leg takedown against every wrestler you meet, you may be wrong. You may have to be ready to try a different move. In addition, it’s fine to have role models and wrestlers you look up to. However, you have to develop your own style. John Smith can do great low singles, but I never could. I can admire John Smith and learn from him, but also be open to other techniques and ideas.
3. You shall not wrestle in vain.
Don’t make an idle attempt to be successful in the sport of wrestling. Approach your wrestling with a serious attitude. Set goals and work hard. Don’t treat wrestling as a trivial, insignificant part of your life. Work hard and with purpose and you will see worthwhile results. Wrestle and train with the intent of being the best wrestler you can be.
4. Remember wrestling practice, to keep it sacred.
In your endeavors to excel in the sport of wrestling, nothing is more important than skills training. What good is strength and endurance if you don’t know any wrestling moves? Drilling moves repeatedly is extremely important. You need to practice moves repeatedly so that they become second nature. Don’t skip practice unless you are sick or injured. Make the most of practice. Practice is the time try new moves and find out what works for you. Make practicing your skills a priority and you will find success in competition.
5. Honor your coach and your teammates.
Your coach is a very important asset. You can learn much from him. Show him the respect he deserves even if you don’t always enjoy the hard work he makes you do. Ask him for guidance when you need it. Look to him for advice. Encourage your teammates in practice and in competition. Be a good role model to younger wrestlers. Always be honorable and act with dignity.
6. You shall not commit poor sportsmanship.
You may lose matches at times. You may think the referee made a bad call. Perhaps you made a stupid mistake and lost the match at the last second. You still shake your opponent’s hand and act like a man. You don’t whine or act disrespectful. It’s okay to be angry when you lose. But, you still show respect and shake hands. You respect the wrestlers from other schools that are also working hard to become the best that they can be. If you lose a match, then you examine what went wrong and you learn from it. You always maintain your dignity and composure. Don’t embarrass your team or yourself by being a sore loser.
7. You shall not be neglectful of your conditioning.
Talent is important in the sport of wrestling. If you have outstanding technique, you may win many matches. However, technical skill isn’t everything. Conditioning is extremely important. When two equally talented wrestlers meet, the better conditioned athlete will probably win.
8. You shall not enter a match unprepared.
You need to have a strategy before you step onto the mat. Do you know what moves you plan to use? Have you practiced for several hypothetical situations that may arise during a match? Are you well conditioned? Talk positively to yourself before a match and visualize the moves you are going to use. You need to be focused on winning that match and nothing else.
9. You shall not let a loss pass without learning a lesson from it.
Losing a match is frustrating and sad at times. Sometimes losing can make you really angry. However, remember that a loss is also a time to learn. Dan Gable lost the last match of his college career. But, he learned from that loss and went on to become a world and Olympic champion. He also became one of the most successful college wrestling coaches of all time. After a loss, consider what you did wrong and work to correct it. Perhaps you need to drill a certain move more. Or, perhaps you need to put more emphasis on your conditioning.
10. You shall not covet another’s talent and bemoan the fact that you have less.
“Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard,” states Tim Notke. Talent helps, but talent is not everything. Every wrestler has some talent. Some have more and some have less. You can always improve your skills. Drill a single leg takedown thousands of times and you will get better at it. Having role models to look up to is a good thing. I admire Dan Gable, Tom Brands, John Smith, and many other wrestlers. I can learn from them, but I need to develop my own style and find out what works for me. I can make up for having less talent through drilling, conditioning, and determination. Many wrestlers with average wrestling talent have become champions because they had the passion to be the best. They worked hard and put in the effort. Dan gable states, “The 1st period is won by the best technician. The 2nd period is won by the kid in the best shape. The 3rd period is won by the kid with the biggest heart.”