Youth Wrestling: 5 Tips to Keep Your Team Motivated
Between training on the mat and the strict lifestyle that wrestling demands even off of the mat, a wrestler’s motivation can easily wane throughout the season, leaving you with burned out and frustrated athletes.
Here are five tips to help them stay motivated and moving towards their goals.
- Help each wrestler find his or her own source of motivation.
- Focus on their minds as much as their bodies.
- Set achievable goals.
- Open communication channels.
- Don’t forget to build team morale.
Help each wrestler find his or her own source of motivation.
Encourage your athletes to take a step back and remember why they’re regularly putting their bodies and minds through strenuous routines and brutal workouts. Some of your wrestlers may have the additional burden of knowing a scholarship is their best chance of going to college. For others, wrestling might help them feel more confident and in control despite a chaotic and stressful home life.
When your wrestlers seem distracted or weary, help them get back to the basics: love and respect for the sport.
Focus on their minds as much as their bodies.
The disciplined lifestyle demanded of wrestlers can take a toll on their emotional well-being and social lives if they aren’t properly and mindfully balanced. Stress and emotional fatigue can inhibit performance in school, hurt personal relationships, and even decrease physical performance.
Educate your wrestlers on the following exercises and encourage them to incorporate a few into their routines:
- Visualization: Mentally exploring paths forward can help athletes think more clearly and strategically.
- Meditation: Taking the time to clear their heads and recenter can enhance physical performance, sharpen focus, and improve their moods.
- Reframing: Losses and tough practices can bring down even the most positive athletes. Reframing teaches wrestlers to look at a match from various perspectives to see how mistakes and failures are actually valuable learning opportunities.
Set achievable goals.
Help your wrestlers set achievable personal goals. If you ask them what their goals are and they reply, “win the world championship,” it’ll be too easy to get discouraged and lose sight of how wrestling is challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling. Set goals like:
- Mastering a particular move
- Reaching a new personal weight training record
- Breaking a bad habit on the mat
Open communication channels.
If wrestlers are feeling unmotivated and burned out, not feeling like they can ask for help from their coach and their teammates only compounds the underlying problem.
- Tell your team when and how you’re available to talk with them outside of practice.
- Schedule team building events that aren’t focused on wrestling to encourage your team to get to know one another outside of the gym.
- Consider setting up a system where wrestlers can communicate concerns anonymously in case they don’t feel comfortable approaching a personal issue in person.
Don’t forget to build team morale.
Sometimes wrestling can feel like an individual sport. Remind your wrestlers that they have a dedicated support system behind them by:
- Planning activities, dinners, and time to just relax together.
- Telling them you’re proud of them. (Sometimes the simplest option is the most effective.)
- Invest in quality uniforms and spirit wear.
Whether your athletes prefer wrestling singlets or two piece wrestling uniforms, Imperial Point’s custom, sublimated uniforms are durable and comfortable, meaning your wrestlers won’t be distracted by sub-par materials and poor construction. Boost their morale and keep them motivated with spirit wear and wrestling uniforms in which they’ll be proud to represent their team.