Raising Wrestlers Who Win ... On and Off the Mat.

The 3 Psychological Needs Necessary to Motivate Your Wrestler

The 3 Psychological Needs Necessary to Motivate Your Wrestler

My brother John and I didn’t start wrestling until high school. While we had a lot of catching up to do, neither of us minded working hard. We literally trained and wrestled year round. By the time we graduated high school, we were competitive with kids who had been wrestling (in some cases) 10 years longer than us. What did we have working for us … and what does your wrestler need to reach his full potential? Intrinsic Motivation – or motivation that comes from within. I’ve often wondered what kept us going. We weren’t the best … but we kept at it. Come to find out, there were 3 psychological needs we were meeting through wrestling. These needs allowed us to stay “intrinsically motivated” – or motivated by nobody other than ourselves. We’ve all seen it. Great wrestlers who cut their careers short because they don’t enjoy the sport anymore. Maybe a parent pushed them too hard, they cut too much weight, or they just didn’t have any fun. I’ve been thinking a lot about this – especially how it relates to my 5 year old son. So what can we (you and I) do to help increase what is called “intrinsic motivation” – that is our wrestler’s own motivation train and compete. Research shows that 3 psychological needs must be met to allow for intrinsic motivation. These 3 needs are: The Need for Autonomy – This is a fancy term for choice. Your wrestler needs to feel as though they have a say in the matter. In a sport as tough as wrestling, there is a fine... read more

5 Proven Ways to Help Your Wrestler Reach His Goals

We are all looking for ways to help our wrestlers win more matches. Often, we think wrestling technique, nutrition, or mat strategy as a good place to start. While these are very important, there is one thing that I think trumps them all. Goals “Really … that’s all you’ve got Joe” – you might be saying to yourself. To that, I say YEP. Hear me out. Without goals, you will not improve as fast as you can on your wrestling technique, nutrition, or mat strategy. I’d be willing to guess that less than 5% of wrestlers have clear goals during practice and competition – other than wrestle hard or win. I’d also be willing to bet money that the highest level wrestlers (National and Olympic champions) have very specific goals 90+% of the time. So, what can we do as fathers of wrestlers to increase the chances of them reaching their goals? Here are a few proven tips: Have your wrestler write down his specific and challenging goal. This one is so easy … it’s almost unbelievable. Studies show that putting your goal down on paper will increase the chances of reaching it by almost 40%. The key here is that it is specific and challenging. It needs to be specific to make your brain know what success looks like and challenging to make you dig deep to reach it.  No one gets excited over a wimpy goal. Have your wrestler share his goal with you, his coach, and anyone else who will support him. So writing down your goal will give you a 40% boost over the competition.... read more

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