When my son started wrestling, we joined a club that teaches K-8 kids the basics of the sport. This was his first exposure to wrestling and he was as green as possible. We were surprised when two weeks later, the coach wanted him to compete in his first match! My son had barely learned the mechanics of how to spread and a takedown; It didn’t make sense for us to participate in a competition when he didn’t know enough maneuvers, much less be proficient in them. Our coach assured us that he was not expected to win, but that competing was part of the program. So we went, my son took his licks and we continued to compete throughout the season, quickly learning why tournaments are part of the process. As my son has continued to fight and has progressed in his skills, competition has become an absolute necessity and an integral part of our training.
While you always try to win every competition, when you start fighting, it’s important to compete even when you don’t have the tools to win yet. This is because competition sets the stage for many important learning opportunities that you won’t get anywhere except under these conditions. Despite their skill level, competition brings out the best in each athlete and creates a challenge to stimulate further development. On the surface, tournaments are the best way to measure your progress in training; The more you earn, the better you will do! There is nothing that drives an athlete to dig deeper and try harder than an opponent who wants to win more than you. Competing also shows you the progress of other athletes (from different areas). During competition, you will invariably face an opponent who is considerably better than you. This gives you something to work on and helps you visualize how you ultimately want to be.
One of the best (and most important) aspects of competing in wrestling is the opportunity to train with new partners. Wrestling teams practice with each other and end up training with a limited number of partners. No matter how big the team is, you are lucky to have more than a few teammates of your own weight to train with. It doesn’t take long before you get used to fighting the same guys to the point where you can almost predict their next move. Smart coaches are always looking for other teams to practice with to keep their athletes constantly growing and improving to avoid the stagnation that can occur from working with the same people over and over again. Contests are a great way to find new people. Big tournaments that draw teams from afar are great for exposing yourself to new techniques and training styles that you might not otherwise experience.
During almost all fighting tournaments, you will invariably come across an opponent who tests your limits. This is also an extremely important aspect of growing as a fighter. In many cases, it is only when your skills are truly tested in the competition that you really learn their strengths and weaknesses. While winning is the most fun and definitely the goal, it seems that you learn more from the games you lost than from the ones you won. This is because situations that will only arise during a live match with an opponent you do not know may be necessary to make you aware of the gaps in your game. The most important learning moment for every fighter is the brief meeting he has with his coach directly after a tough match. Correcting an error is best remembered directly after the situation. After each competition, whether you’ve won or lost, the most important thing you can do is walk away with a to-do list that you need to work on in your next practices to improve. The competition offers the most accurate and up-to-date list of what you need to do to improve.
As a beginner, don’t let your team’s enthusiasm for racing deter you. The worst thing you can do is back off “until you’re done.” If you want the fastest improvement in your skills, competing is an essential part of your training. In addition to providing new training partners, tournaments also boost the intensity of your training. When you know you will be facing opponents in a week, you will try harder during practice and try to get more out of each session. Finally, competitions are the most fun you will have in the sport of wrestling; The sooner you start enjoying them, the better your season will be! When you start fighting, enter a competition within your first 2-3 weeks, regardless of your physical condition or knowledge base. No matter what happens in your first encounter (whether you win or lose), you will be able to see the movements and conditioning of other more experienced athletes. This will show you what is possible and what your next step will look like.