“You have to believe in yourself and have the self-confidence to wrestle your own match, rather than let your opponent dictate how the match goes. You have to be able to handle last minute negativity and self-doubts. You have to be able to master your fears.” – Dr. Alan Goldberg
Through our polls, the biggest plea for help from the wrestling community has been in the mental aspect of the sport. Wrestlers have been struggling with feeling at peace with their hard work and their motivation to keep improving in the sport they love. Our goals for Stand Up is to inspire and support wrestlers across the nation this season. In addition to the film, which itself tackles this battle, we will be providing you with a blog that encourages you to improve your mental game. Realize that there is no one key to mental and spiritual well-being; the solution it is a whole lifestyle. We want you to be thrilled to give it your all and push through the pain and hardship.
The information here will also be useful to coaches and collegiate athletes as well. What you may read here may seem like common sense, but oddly enough it remains to be a huge problem, especially with adolescents.
DON’T STAY DOWN. STAND UP.
“Jumping out of bed and onto a wrestling mat doesn’t work unless you’re wrestling someone who has the same problem.” – Dan Gable.
“The body is the temple of the mind”. Amongst the majority of the world’s religions and creeds, this is a common belief. This philosophy will not only aid you in wrestling, but throughout the rest of your life. The first step of treating the mind is to make sure its vehicle is ready to facilitate it- and we’re not talking about strength and conditioning here, but health and wellness.
You’ll be surprised on how far a good 8-10 hours of sleep can take you, especially when you consistently sleep and wake at the same times. Forget about staying up on weekends or scrolling through your social feeds for an hour while in bed. This discipline needs to be a season long, and even year-long practice, to ensure a healthy mind. Probably the biggest improvement you can have on your mental game is getting enough sleep.
A good practice is to sleep at 9:30 P.M. and to wake no later than 6:30 A.M. EVERY DAY so that early tournaments won’t disrupt your cycle. Make sure to ask your coach when might be the earliest time you ‘re needed to be up this season.
This routine sleep habit helps your body repair from exercise, keeps your reactions fast, helps you academically, keeps your fat down, keeps your muscle mass high, takes away your stress, and keeps you clear from negative thoughts and feelings. What a simple way to improve your lifestyle! “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” –Ben Franklin
Keeping a hygienic 30-minute routine everyday before sleep will help your body know it’s time to shut down. This will help you fall asleep faster. Taking a quick hot shower, brushing your teeth, laying your clothes out, wearing pajamas, making your bed, reading a book, or writing in a journal are all pleasant activities to add to your winding down routine. Want to know a horrible activity to do in these 30 minutes? Using electronics. Keep your phone and digital media away!
Length and ease of sleep are great and all, but quality may be even more important.
Make sure your sleep quality is on point. Avoid sleeping on bus rides or at a friend’s house the night before a match. The more you keep your routine the same, the less variables that can disrupt your sleep. Experts say that part of getting quality sleep is by maintaining a healthy sleeping environment. If you can, you should only use your bedroom for sleep (and also sex for those who are married). Keep your bedroom dark. Eliminate any digital screen from your room. Not only is it a light source, but also a distraction. (Yes, that means your phone. Set your alarm and lock the screen before you turn the lights off). You can track all of these practices and your sleep quality with a smartphone app like “Sleep Cycle”.
A full cycle of sleep is around 90 minutes for the average person. Add up your sleep time in increments of 90. 9 Hours is 3 sleep cycles.
Avoid relying on caffeine and energy drinks. It’s normal to go through ups and downs throughout the day as far as energy goes. A good practice is to have a 10-20 minute power nap in the middle of your day. A power nap like this during a two-hour break in a tournament is better than fooling around with your teammates. Believe me; this does wonders. It will be hard to start at first, but with practice you will soon master the power nap. You may never need pre-workout or a cup of coffee ever again.
For some people, power naps may make it harder to sleep at night. Find out what works best for you. Don’t take a power nap 8 hours prior to your normal bedtime.
“A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina.”
The benefits of a sufficient and quality sleep routine will take you far this season. We’re often so caught up with our passion on and off the mat that sleep becomes the first thing we sacrifice, when it should be the last. How can we expect to perform our best when our state of consciousness is only half capacity? The expression “sleep is for the weak” is used by those who fail to perceive and prepare past a few weeks and who are okay with giving less than their best. THAT’S NOT US!
Wrestling and life itself is a long-term battle. To be completely satisfied, confident, and honest with yourself, no matter the result at the end of this season, you cannot give less than your best everyday. Resting your body is the first step to your best and freeing your mind.
Agree with us? Share your thoughts. See our article on "Not Starving To Death" in wrestling.
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DON'T STAY DOWN! STAND UP!