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What Makes Wrestlers So Special?

What Makes Wrestlers So Special?

I’ve been on this kick lately about some of the unspoken transferable skills that transcend the sport of wrestling, and help wrestlers on their way to becoming successful adults.  Success comes in many different shapes and forms, and it definitely varies on the individual, so when I say “success” I am definitely leaving it up to personal interpretation. Success could be going out and getting a degree or certification, it could be getting accepted to and graduating from trade school, it could be getting an apprenticeship for a skill, using your wrestling to try your hand at other sports, or any combination of these as I know a few who excel in multiple areas.  Hard work, determination, and sacrifice can get you anywhere in life when the right ingredients are stirred in at the right time. All three of these things are taught to wrestlers at a very young age, first to succeed in the sport, and later, they succeed in life.  


Now, the term toughness is very broad and applicable in many different areas.  One thing that typically makes a wrestler most unique among his peers is his level of mental and physical toughness.  In a job setting it could look like the willingness to work awkward and/or long hours, very anal self-accountability and willingness to accept failure, only to bust his ass to make the next job or project.  It could be a natural willingness to take the helm in a group setting to make sure the job gets done. Wrestlers are used to maintaining a hectic schedule with numerous deadlines, they’re used to positively handling stress, and they are used to, for better or worse, having their work on public display or under a watchful eye.  Wrestlers are taught that only good, thorough, hard work counts, and as an adult, we know everything we produce comes with a personal stamp of approval. We wouldn’t want that stamp on just any piece of mediocre work.

From personal experience, I can tell you most wrestlers have experienced their mental and physical worst in practice.  I don’t think there are too many things a job or career could throw at me that I feel like I couldn’t handle, especially not if it’s something I signed up for anyway.  Their bodies and minds have exceeded what they thought to be their limit on numerous occasions only to come out much stronger and more resilient than before. Wrestlers may seem cocky in ability, but are usually humble in performance.  Having a wrestler on your side at work, regardless of what it is you do, may be one of the best investments that you or your employer could make.  

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Goal Orientation

Wrestlers are typically very goal-oriented individuals.  When they want something, they don’t just make a winding road map of things that need to be completed to get there, they tend to be more meticulous.  They’ll divide the process up into a series of goals to achieve to ultimately get to the bigger goal that they wanted all along. As an individual, this can make the hard road to success a bit more manageable, as a team leader, this could deny the sense of being overwhelmed to your colleagues since they now can see a clear-cut path to the end goal.  Wrestlers are taught to think this way when they want something. You want to win a noteworthy title? Ok. What are the steps we need to take to get there? What are the little things we can perfect to try and better our chances at success? Separate the things you can control vs the things you can’t control and go from there.  

Transference To Other Sports

Typically, a wrestler who doesn’t try to make a freestyle or Greco team, or if he/she doesn’t feel they are good enough (it’s ok to be honest) they carry their skillset to coaching or other sports.  The most typical sports for former wrestlers are MMA, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and Catch Wrestling. Side note, USA Wrestling also offers a grappling team which combines wrestling and submissions for those interested.  If you do a bit of research you’ll notice one thing about all the wrestlers that make a career in these sports, they are typically belt holders, top ranked in their class, champions of all ranges, and what have you.  There is a reason for this. Wrestling is undoubtedly the king of combat sports. Those that learn to wrestle effectively do better in sports that combine different styles of grappling or fighting with wrestling. Wrestlers are some of the most explosive, dynamic, and aggressive athletes on the planet.  When they take the work ethic they’ve developed since a youth wrestler and apply it elsewhere with an open mind, it can be a dangerous combination for anyone on the receiving end. How many guys with wrestling backgrounds are in the UFC Hall of Fame? How many are current belt holders? How many are excelling in Judo or Catch?  How many wrestling based jiujiteiros have won world titles or medaled otherwise at the most prestigious tournaments known to grappling? I’m sure if we compiled the evidence the numbers would be staggering. I rest my case.  

In Conclusion

Some of you may have read this and thought, “I’ve never wrestled a day in my life and I have a lot or all of these habits.”  This article was written not to say that wrestlers are the only ones that have this skill set, but to say wrestlers are more likely to have this skillset because of the way they are taught and coached from such a young age.  It is not saying that wrestlers are the most dominant athletes ever, but it is saying that those who have a high level competitive wrestling background, statistically speaking, are destined to do well in other sports or forms of combat that allow them to utilize the wrestling that they have already put so much time in.  Wrestlers already have attributes that moist people lack when they start other combat sports, thus slightly putting them above the curve. That is not to say that they cannot be outwitted and submitted all the same. To anyone reading this that has gotten down on themselves for having not wrestled remember this: in combat sport, the best competitor is the person that best mixes numerous skills, not just one.  

Fundamentals are crucial to success regardless of what level you are at. Chael Sonnen was one of the best wrestlers to enter into MMA, and he used his fundamental wrestling to get there! WRESTLING FUNDAMENTALS FROM THE BAD GUY BY CHAEL SONNEN  HAS WHAT YOU NEED!