High School Wrestling: The Importance of Skills Training and Drilling

Laying a good foundation of proper skills and technique is paramount to any sporting endeavor including wrestling. In order to build this foundation of skills an athlete needs to engage in a considerable amount of practice.

Technical Ability is Key

In the sport of wrestling superior skill and technique almost always trumps superior strength. Strength work and conditioning can certainly be a vital supplement to your training but technique should be the primary focus of any wrestler.

It’s interesting how many exceptional athletes including wrestlers started building and honing their skills at a young age.

Deliberate Practice

Deliberate practice is synonymous with what Matthew Syed calls purposeful practice. Syed states, “Purposeful practice is about striving for what is just out of reach and not quite making it; it is about grappling with tasks beyond current limitations and falling short again and again. Excellence is about stepping outside the comfort zone, training with a spirit of endeavour, and accepting the inevitability of trials and tribulations.

Perfect Repetitions

We see from our discussion above it’s not just the quantity but the quality of practice that matters. Personal fitness trainer Brian Copeland has written about the importance of perfect reps. Anyone training in wrestling long enough will accumulate hundreds of thousands of repetitions of different moves and skills. But, are they perfect repetitions or is the wrestler just going through the motions? Repeating a given skill over and over again does not in and of itself make perfect.

Great Wrestlers Drill

Four-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion John Smith made drilling a regular part of his training. In fact, drilling was the mainstay of his training. He states, “I probably hit a million low single legs in my lifetime. I probably drilled a leg lace 40 or 50 times a day.

Great Wrestlers Know Many Techniques

I mentioned earlier how Olympian Mark Schultz didn’t begin wrestling until he was a junior in high school. So, how did he turbo charge his learning? Schultz made what he called a technique book. Schultz also attended camps and learned a lot by watching and then copying good wrestlers. I think he was able to accelerate his learning by spending a vast amount of time engaged in purposeful practice.

Studying Videos

Watching both technique videos and videos of matches can help you improve your wrestling skills.He also writes, “I wish I knew the different techniques I know now during my competitive career. I started to realize how valuable of a learning tool video could be early in college.”

Practicing Skills in Your Mind

Visualization is an important practice that can help prepare you for your upcoming match.  Study film, develop a game plan and take some time to run through that game plan in your mind.  Physical & Mental preparation are  essential tools that should be used on your way to victory.