Mental Mondays with Ben Askren: Sacrificing to Overcome Weaknesses
High Level Competition:
This week Ben explores yet another topic inspired by his time at the Super 32 Championships. Ben truly enjoys taking his athletes to high level tournaments like the Super 32 Championships for a multitude of reasons. They provide a great platform for his athletes to gain recognition, ranking and possible future scholarships. Most importantly though, at some point in the tournament every athlete will be humbled in some aspect. The high level of skill at each tournament means that these athletes are going to be exposed in some way. Only through this level of competition, exposure and, ultimately some failure, can one recognize where their weaknesses lie.
Recognizing Your Weaknesses:
In order to improve as a wrestler, you have to be able to recognize your own weaknesses. Self-reflection is key to recognizing where you were beat. This could be in any aspect of the match; trouble getting out on bottom, you weren’t strong enough, your cardio was lacking, poor shot set-ups, etc. All that matters is that you are able to find an area of weakness in order to take actions to improve in that area. The tough part is that a wrestler who is able to compete at a high level event like the Super 32 Championships is already good at some things. The struggle is getting to the next level and improving beyond the your natural skill.
The Best Have Learned This:
Every wrestler needs to be exposed, not every day, but often enough to ensure you can routinely see where you need to improve. Whether you are top 5 in the country or not even making the varsity lineup every wrestler can find areas where they can make sacrifices to improve themselves. Take Jordan Burroughs tor example, as a freshman he had a 19-14 record, which isn’t very impressive. Yet he continued to sacrifice and work to improve himself, platforming a journey to eventually become an Olympic Gold Medalist. Even after achieving a World Title, he continues to tactically improve himself day after day. These sacrifices are what allows him to improve consistently.
Commit to Sacrifice:
So, if you can’t figure out where you had trouble, re-watch your matches. Consult with a good coach and figure out where you need to improve and ultimately come up with a game plan to do so. Then, you need to commit to making sacrifices to improve each day. Be dedicated to yourself and your own improvement. Understand, it might not always be fun. Doing so is the only way to overcome your weaknesses and become a better version of yourself as an athlete and a person.
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