Losing can be hard … especially when it comes from the same kid.

In high school, there was one kid who always seemed to have my number. To make things worse, I saw him at all of the summer tournaments.  I would get close to beating him, but somehow … he would always squeak out a win.

In my head, this kid was just a better wrestler. It never crossed my mind that maybe (with some intention and lots of hard work) I could have knocked this kid off.

I’m guessing your son has had this experience also.

But, this is where you come in Dad.

With a little bit of work (and another chance) – your wrestler can beat that kid who has always dominated him on the mat. 

Here are 7 steps to make it happen.

Step 1 – Record the match. Whether you use your iPhone or an old fashioned over-the-shoulder deal, just get the footage. This is going to lay the ground work for everything that has to be done in the future. This is going to be your roadmap.

Step 2 – With a knowledgeable coach, break down the video. I’m not talking about spending hours here … and a good coach can probably watch it once or twice and know exactly what has to be done. There are a few specific things we are looking for in the video.

Step 3 – Identify how your son is getting beat. This is going to be much harder if he got beat 10-0 than if he was beat 6-4. Either way, you can still get value out of doing this.  Ask questions like:

  • Is your son getting caught every time reaching for this kids head?
  • Is your son not creating any movement or worse yet is he being moved around like a chess piece out on the mat?
  • Or is your son getting dominated in the top or bottom positions?

Don’t stop watching the video until you can identify at least 2 situations where your son is getting beat by this kid.

Step 4 – With coach, drill these positions and eliminate these bad habits.

  • For reaching, it might be making sure your son is still defending his legs with one arm while the reaching arm comes from the bottom up … not top down where he would be exposing his legs (and welcoming a shot from his opponent).
  • If he’s not creating movement, then start working this in practice. Movement creates angles. Angles create opportunities. Opportunities create points. Points win matches.
  • Spend more time getting into the finer details of top or bottom position and what your wrestler can do next time he finds himself there.  The “fine print” is where moves are successful or fail.

This step is so important … and might take 2-4 weeks to become a habit. The key is not to move on to another move before closing down this gap in your son’s style.

Step 5 – Identify his weakness. This is the fun part. By now, we shut down the 1-2 big opportunities for your son to lose the same way he has in the past. Now, with the help of coach – we look for chinks in his armor. Places where this kid can be beat.

  • Does this kid always lead with one leg? If so, what offense can your son work on to exploit this weakness?
  • Does this kid like to stay heavy on the head? What are 1-2 offensive moves that
    will take advantage of this? (I used to love it when guys were hanging heavy on my head because I had learned a slide-by that was practically unstoppable … and really slick).
  • Or does this kid like to hop around, stand up straight, and generally get out of good wrestling position as the match wears on? This means his legs are tired and this can be easily taken advantage of with some work.

Step 6 – Drill these offensive techniques. This is the same as step 4 – but this time we are thinking offensively. Remember, closing down your son’s weaknesses and creating an offense that is effective will take some time. It takes time for a technique to go from something your wrestler hasn’t seen before to something that they do without thinking. Sometimes months. For offense, it will take time for your son to learn the small details of the setups, how a move feels, and the timing. Keep him motivated and focused because this is what wins matches.

Step 7 – WIN! By now we’ve reviewed video with a knowledgeable coach. We’ve identified the 1-2 major places (physical or situational) where he is getting beat and have corrected these. We’ve drilled them with perfect form and enough repetition. We’ve also identified this kids weaknesses – and have chosen 1-2 techniques that can exploit these weaknesses. We’ve worked through the setups and have gone over the finer details on where/how/when these moves work.

All in all, this process might take a good month or two from start to finish. There will be a lot of work that has to be done … but it’s worth it to see that smile on your son’s face.

Follow this process once and watch the world of wrestling open up to your son. He will see that he can control his wrestling destiny … and that hard work does payoff.

So right now, make a point to review that tape of your wrestler’s loss to that kid. Talk to the coach and get to work!

I want to hear about how your son felt after finally beating his arch rival.