Pressure is a funny thing. We can feel it before an average match or a national final. In light of the Super Bowl I figured I dedicate a whole post to this topic. Whenever I felt pressure I always thought of the players in the Super Bowl or World Cup Final and realized my pressure was purely self-imposed. I comforted myself with the thought that these players particularly the QBs of each team must feel much more pressure than I do. If they could overcome theirs then I could overcome mine.
Everything, even pressure, can be used to your advantage in a wrestling match.
If you’re the favorite you have two ways to look at a match. 1. You’re better and the guy should feel pressure wrestling you. Or 2. You’re better so you’re nervous and wrestle tight.
If you’re the underdog same thing. 1. The pressure is on your opponent; he’s supposed to beat you. Or 2. You think “This guy is so much better than me,” and you are shaking in your shoes.
In both scenarios option one is the one to opt for. However those are mental games and eventually you want to get beyond that. You want to be able to understand that pressure is a state of mind and nothing more. Regardless of if you’re wrestling number 1 or 100 in the country in front of 10 or 10,000 people all that really matters is how you wrestle. Wrestle your best by wrestling with no fear, maximizing your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses. Set the pace and tempo of the match, be the aggressor and let the issue of pressure mess with your opponent’s head, not yours. If you have goals you have to do whatever it takes to accomplish them. Pressure is a speed bump that can be avoided because no matter the stage it is always going to be you vs. one other guy. Nothing more and nothing less.
It takes a lot to get to that mindset. So while you ascend to that plateau remember that dedication and hard work will put you in the best possible position to win. Study your opponent and be honest with yourself. The more prepared you are, the less pressure you will feel. The first step is to acknowledge pressure, then conquer it, then like it, and finally you don’t feel it at all. It is a linear path you will take to the top.
Good luck with whatever phase you are at now. It’s getting to be that time of the year where every match could be your last. Make sure it ends with your hand being raised and make sure pressure isn’t an issue.