West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Thinking Positive

I lost my match last night, but not to my opponent!

Any athlete who has ever taken the sport of wrestling seriously has experienced this phenomenon at one time or another. It's when a wrestler mentally defeats himself before or during the competition. And it is due to negative thinking (or the fear of losing). Thus, the grappler is not relaxed, thinks too much, tightens up during the match and ultimately beats himself. The key to eliminating this problem is "positive" thinking, not only in wrestling, but in all of life's endeavors. Below are specific examples of positive thinking in wrestling:

1. While alone after weigh-ins, say a positive prayer to do your best, and to keep you and your adversary out of harm's way.
2. When negative thoughts enter your mind while warming up for a bout, immediately begin cheering and yelling positive words of encouragement to your teammate on the mat. (Keep in mind, you can't worry about yourself if you are trying to help others.)
3. After the match (win or lose), look for something positive that can be learned from the experience.

In sum, attack all your fears (whether they involve wrestling or existing in this world) in a positive way. By doing so, you'll learn to relax, perform at your very best, and win life's greatest inner battle--even if your opponent's hand is raised.

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Updated March 25, 1999