Five Minutes Extra To Make A Champion
I’m sure that most people have heard about going the extra mile, but how many people have heard about putting in five minutes extra to make a champion? I think that one of the most important things to learn about sports and life in general is to do a little bit extra than what you are asked to do. Those who take and implement this idea into their own training or routine won’t be disappointed. I know this because this principle is something that helped me out a ton over the course of my wrestling career.
Five minutes doesn’t seem like a long time when you are at rest, but if I asked you to hold your breath for five minutes straight, you would probably look at me like I was absolutely nuts. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that anyone try to hold their breath for five minutes. I’ve heard that it can cause brain damage, and if you’re anything like me, you need all of the brain cells that you have. What I am talking about is taking an extra five minutes a day to focus on something very specific with laser like pinpoint intensity to help you get the most out of your effort. Let me share a story with you about how this principle helped me.
I had just made the transition to wrestling internationally full time, and I was a little slow at picking up one of the positions that a lot of American wrestlers struggle with when they make the adjustment from folkstyle wrestling to Greco roman or freestyle wrestling. The parterre position is the mat wrestling that you do where one wrestler is trying to turn the other to gain points, and the other wrestler is trying to defend from the bottom position. In folkstyle wrestling, you are not penalized to roll across your back, unless your opponent holds you there for at least a two count, then you give up points. In the international styles of wrestling, if your shoulders break ninety degrees and your back is exposed, you give up points to your opponent. It is a very important position to master, but it can be tough because in the U.S. we adapt to one set of rules over our wrestling careers and then suddenly change them. Anyway, I was one of the athletes that was having a tough time mastering the parterre defense position.
I realized how important it was to get tough in this position, so every day after practice, I started taking just a little bit of time to improve in this position. I asked a heavyweight who was a member of the Armenian Olympic team to get on top of me and challenge me from that position. He was stronger than I was and had really long arms that would wrap all the way around my hips making it difficult for me to move and keep my hips from turning which would then cause my shoulders to turn. It was really frustrating because every day, he would get on top of me and start squeezing the crap out of me, and for the first while, every day I would get turned over and over like a top. My hips were also taking a beating. He would squeeze so tight that when I would resist, my wet clothing would rub against my hips and waist and leave burn marks. There were days after practice that my hips and waist were literally bleeding from the abuse that I was taking. However, I kept working at it for a few minutes after practice, and I got better and better.
Finally, there was one day that when I went down underneath this monster that I fully made up my mind that he was not going to turn me. I let him get his deepest tightest lock, giving him the advantage, and we both started to work. He was trying to turn me, and I was fighting to stop him. I drove my hips down hard and drove with my toes, while at the same time I pulled with my arms and hands trying to stay one inch ahead of his lock and pressure. He kept adjusting his lock and driving his shoulder into my back, but I kept moving and moving and moving. I didn’t give him a chance to get set well enough to turn me. Finally, he gave his last attempt, and he was unable to turn me. I had done it! It was the first time that I was able to defend against this heavyweight with the gorilla like arms. It was a huge confidence boost for me. It was also the moment that the understanding of how to defend from that position clicked in my mind and body, and from that point, the parterre defense become one of my strong positions. In fact, a couple of years later, improving that exact same position was what enabled me to win a world medal!
This was’t the first time that I had taken time after practice to work to improve my techniques. I had done it many times before, and it worked just like it had the previous times. I also think that for some reason there is a little extra benefit when you do something after practice. It seems like the mindset that goes into focusing on a single aspect of your game has a magical type of effect that really doubles or triples the benefit that you get from that short time. Maybe it’s because you feel more confident when you hit that technique during competition or you just believe in yourself more because you know that you have put in the extra time. I don’t know why those five minutes are so beneficial, but I know that they make a huge difference and can help determine whether you are on the winning or losing end of things.
This principle doesn’t just apply to wrestling techniques either. You can apply this to anything that you would like to improve whether its reading, writing, listening, selling, whatever. If you put in the extra time, and do more than is being asked of you, it is guaranteed that you will benefit. I am not saying that it is the magic bullet that will make you win every single time, but you will get better. However, consistent improvement and progress over the long term will help you to get closer and closer to achieving your goals.
Now back to wrestling. Here are a few ideas of what you can do in five minute increments to make yourself a better wrestler:
1 – Run some sprints. You can never be in too good of shape. Sprints after practice will help to build your lung capacity and your endurance.
2 – Shadow drill. Stance and motion are basics that you always need to put some time into. Try to stay down in your stance without coming up for five minutes or shaking out your legs. Your legs will burn at first, but it will help you get faster at all of your attacks.
3 – Workout with dumbbells. The great thing about dumbbells is that you can do a whole variety of exercises without having to change equipment over and over again. Grab a set of dumbbells and keep them moving for five minutes straight. You will feel the burn and gain strength and muscular endurance as well.
4 – Jump rope. It develop foot speed and quickness.
5 – Visualize your perfect match. There is a huge mental aspect to wrestling. Visualize how your perfect match looks, sounds, feels, smells, and tastes like.
6 – Drill one specific technique. I should have put this one first. I think that the story illustrates the benefit of this already.
7 – Stretch. The more advanced I got in age, the more I had to stretch to stay healthy and avoid injury. It is often overlooked, but it is also an important part of training.
There are a bunch of other things that you can do after practice. This is just a short list to give you some suggestions. Hopefully the list is helpful or hopefully you can come up with a list of your own that will help you to improve whatever situations that you are working on.
Thanks for reading my blog. If you like it, please share it. Thanks.