This week on Mental Mondays

This Mental Monday video will be the first in a series of videos based off of Super 32 as Ben is bursting with inspiration following his many observations from the tournament.

The Body Language Benefit

While coaching at Super 32, Askren noticed many young wrestlers don’t understand the importance of body language. Something as simple as your facial expression can have a huge impact on your opponent. Ben explains how the most effective facial expression you can have during a match is one with no expression at all. Why? Because when one person is completely unaffected by the action in front of them, the other is heavily affected. That “stone cold’, blank look can greatly impact your opponent’s thought process because they have no way to gauge your emotions. Thus creating opportunities for you to capitalize on. For example, when your opponent realizes that as their lungs are burning and legs are shaking you seem completely unaffected; they know you aren’t going to stop bringing on the pressure. This is completely demoralizing to your opponent and it takes them down more than a few pegs.

Controlling your body language becomes the ultimate defense. Your opponent can no longer tell how tired you are; or if you are nervous about coming back from a 5-point deficit; or if you are shaken by a ref’s call. In turn, this added body language defense you have created makes your future actions difficult to anticipate. Therefore, greatly affecting their performance unfavorably. Adversely, if you look defeated it can unintentionally motivate your opponent. This can happen as easily as a blank expression can rattle them. This is why maintaining an expressionless face as you notice your opponent is beginning to tire is just as important as when you feel exhaustion yourself. You want to remain in control.

The Body Language Risk

The other side to understanding body language during a wrestling match is being able to read your opponent. While you’re working on controlling your own body language you still need to be able to accurately read your opponent, and react accordingly. While there are some athletes who will be extremely easy to read; others will play opossum. Ninety percent of the time, if someone appears tired they are in fact tired. However, your opponent may be strategically baiting you into making you think the opposite of what they actually are. Then, from out of no where they catch you off guard and react explosively.

Body language will always be extremely important due to the dynamics of a wrestling match. Become robotic. You’re only motivation there is to destroy, pin, and score points.


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Mental Mondays is hosted by Ben Askren. Ben Askren, World Champion and Olympic wrestler, joins RUDIS from the T-Row & Funky Show in an official partnership as a content provider for all things RUDIS.