As we started this season, I reached out to some former wrestlers for words to provide to the guys who think the sport isn't for them. These were guys who weren't "wrestling first" guys. These were guys who either had to be talked into being on the team, were there specifically to prep for football, chose not to wrestle one year, etc. This particular reply stood out, and I thought the Gorilla community might enjoy it. For the record, this is from a 2013 graduate. This particular wrestler was a one time sectional champion and did not qualify for semi-state. Somehow I find that makes his words more powerful...not from a top-dog guy. From a guy who was grinding every day just getting what he could out of the sport. Almost better than this longer version is the text he sent me later when I thanked him - "It's simple though, mentally, wrestling makes all other high school sports easier."
The Struggle is REAL:
Wrestling at first glance seems like it’s mostly physical. I wrestled for four years and didn’t understand what it was doing for my mental development yet, so regretfully I took a year off. After a year away, luckily I enjoyed what it did for me enough physically to come back to the mat for another three years. I wish someone could snap their fingers, tell you that your hard work will be worth it, and you will just believe it.
Sorry, too bad it’s harder than that.
At first glance, it’s doesn’t seem so, but wrestling is more mentally than physically beneficial.
You know that feeling you have deep inside when you’re struggling? Just trust in yourself and know, that feeling is the first sign that you’re about to learn something new about yourself. Be conscious, have the wherewithal to push through the struggle for a solution, then take the time to reflect on what pushing through that struggle taught you, and ultimately you will have truly learned that NOTHING worth learning is easy. Each time you learn something new, it will breathe new confidence within you to go through the next struggle or barrier in your way.
Whatever you do, take the measures and have targeted objectives to get better at struggling. Break down personal barriers and do yourself a favor, use what you’ve learned to struggle for a shorter period the next time. Make the valleys shallower and the peaks higher with each learning experience.
Put in the time to learn the mental chess game that wrestling really is, and you won’t regret that decision. Learn how to strategically and more efficiently employ both your body and mind. Once you’ve learned how to tie a few good moves together, counter your opponent, and mentally grind through a full three periods, then win or lose you just took the measures to think one step ahead of the person in front of you; a skill you’ll use for the rest of your life.
Struggles will come as long as you live. Wrestling has mentally prepared me for handling trials and tribulations. I hope that you’ll have that same experience.