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Tenacity holds big key to reaching top step

Most ‘aggressive and physical’ wrestlers are the ones winning World, Olympic championships

By Steve Fraser, U.S. National Greco-Roman Coach Winning a World or Olympic title requires many years of dedi-

cated training. It requires learning many wrestling skills and conditioning the

body to execute those skills. It requires enormous power, explo- sion and flexibility. Winning a World or Olympic title requires an extreme attitude

and mental strength that is beyond the average person’s capa- bility. It takes a mental focus that is very stubborn and relentless

when it comes to succeeding and moving forward. It requires a mindset that is laser sharp at keeping focused on

the prize. Yes, winning at the World level requires a lot, no doubt! But

the one thing I want to discuss in this current article is the importance and benefit of becoming a physically aggressive and tenacious wrestler. In my many years of competing, both as an athlete and a

coach in the international world of wrestling, I have noticed that the most “aggressive and physical” wrestlers are the ones win- ning the World and Olympic titles. No longer is the day when a wrestler can wrestle a slow

pace, picking and choosing when they will attack. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule. However, as a whole, the majority of medal winners are the athletes who are wrestling with a tenacious forward attack that emulates a pit bull in the midst of a dog fight. A great example of this style has been Justin Lester. Justin

has two World bronze medals to his name and also placed fifth in the World in 2011 before making the 2012 Olympic Team for the U.S. Justin has used an explosive attack that is relentless when fronting off an opponent. His quick and consistent forward assault against his foe makes him a huge offensive threat. The fact that Justin moves his opponent backwards three,

four or five feet when he attacks is a critical point. When Justin attacks, he covers a lot of mat. What I am talking about here is moving our opponents, so

they are required to take many steps, forward, backward or sideways. Just hand fighting and pummeling in the same place on the

mat is not enough. The idea is that we physically move our challengers around the mat forcing them to takes steps to catch up or to defend

34 USA Wrestler

themselves. This is where we will get our opponents tired. This is where we will destroy our adversary’s offense. This is where we will con- fuse and off balance our rivals. With this kind of ferocious attack, we will be assured to break our opponents will to fight. What I have found true through the years is the guy who grits his teeth and contin- ues the relentless pressure — beyond his opponent’s pressure — will prevail. I truly believe that the one who


holds tough to the course, without relenting, will be the one who breaks the other one. This is why the skills of pummeling, movement and hand

fighting are so very important in the true battle of wrestling. Just look at how Cael Sanderson and Jordan Burroughs have excelled in their careers. Sanderson and Burroughs have been non-stop in their

attacks. Even when they are winning by many points you will notice that they never stop attacking. This constant movement and attack is, in my opinion, what

makes those wrestlers World class. They are relentless in their aggressive attack. And you may notice that even when they meet a tough oppo-

nent and that rival is able to withstand their attempts, they even- tually score because most opponents can’t keep up with their unyielding pace. Here are a few ways to improve and/or develop more of an

intense physical attacking style: • When you drill, practice moving your drill partner around the

mat more. Make them take steps when we are setting up our moves. Look to off balance them when drilling. • Force yourselves to push and pull more rigorously and with

more movement. Again, make our opponent step more. • Do more pummel matches where the intent and goal is to

break your opponent’s will to fight. Make them quit wrestling or want to stop for a break. And when they stop, stay on them like a buzz saw! • Practice pushing your practice partner out of bounds delib-

erately. Take time in practice where the main objective is to push each other out of bounds. • Practice — sprint type, non-stop, chain wrestling, back to

back moves — in a continued sequence until completely exhausted. And then build on that to be able to sprint longer. • Condition your body with movement, pummeling and hand

fighting skills in mind. Expect to win with relentless intensity!

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