Chad Thorne

My Top Wrestling Tips for Beginners

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If you’re new to the world of wrestling (and not the flashy made-for-TV kind), the list below can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes made by beginners.

 

Know the rules

Like all other sports, wrestling has its own set of rules.  Make sure you know and truly understand these rules.  For instance, you might think that it’s never okay to lock yourself around a competitor’s waist.  While this is true in some circumstances, it’s not a hard and fast rule.  Assuming that it’s always illegal can mean you miss opportunities to overtake your opponent.  Knowing that it’s okay sometimes but not being clear on when can result in penalties during a match.  Since various wrestling disciplines have their own rule sets, it’s crucial that you know and fully understand all of the rules that apply to your style of wrestling (like freestyle or Greco-Roman, for instance).  Having full knowledge and understanding of the rules can definitely mean the difference between success and failure.

 

Realize the demands

Wrestling is a very physical sport.  While many understand this side of things, some often fail to understand the mental and emotional aspects involved.  On the physical side, you have to stay healthy enough and strong enough to execute your moves–that part’s easy, right?  Mentally, it’s not enough just to understand the rules.  You also have to be able to keep those rules in mind during your matches, “on the fly,” so to speak.  As with other endeavors, practice makes perfect.  You also have to learn to forgive yourself for mistakes and move on.  Emotions can run high during a match, so learning how to keep them in check is important.  Letting your frustration at mistakes, missed opportunities, or an opponent that seems to have the upper hand get in the way of your execution is a sure recipe for disaster.  Losses are sure to be part of the program, but you can’t let that negative experience turn into a negative attitude–do what you can to analyze your performance and learn from your mistakes.  Likewise, when you experience victory, celebrate it, but don’t let it go to your head.  Too much confidence can be as hazardous as a lack thereof.

 

Don’t be fooled

Many new wrestlers find it intimidating when they see an opponent who looks bigger or stronger than they are.  This intimidation often leads to a loss of confidence, which can have a negative impact on performance.  While many opponents might look bigger or more muscular, neither of these things is an indicator of talent.  You might find that some of the most muscular wrestlers have actually traded some agility for sheer mass.  Rely on your training and remember that old saying that goes “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”  On the flip side, don’t assume that a smaller opponent is necessarily going to be a pushover.  Besides the fact that size can be deceiving, smaller guys can be more mobile and, as mentioned above, overconfidence could be your downfall.
While these are certainly not all of the things every new wrestler needs to know, they’re a good start in the right direction and can be the strong foundation you need to achieve your wrestling goals.

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About Chad

Chad Thorne is a high school math teacher and wrestling coach in Juneau, Alaska. He also offers math and wrestling coaching outside of school for those who could use it. Please contact him for rates.

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