Advocating for Yourself in Practices

When it comes to fully taking advantage of your training, there can be different scenarios. Sometimes we are new to sport and don't have the tools yet to know how to have our needs met. Sometimes we are the only girl on our wrestling team and may feel intimidated by an all male room. And other times we realize advocating for ourselves is a skill that can take a long time to master. Here are some great tips so you can start practicing now.

How do you advocate for yourself? 

If you have been falling behind in the practice room or you need extra help in certain areas of technique, then it is time to speak up for yourself and get support. Ask your coach when is the best time to work on extra technique, or to discuss your needs as an athlete. After practice may not always be the best time for every coach as that may entail too many interruptions from the other athletes. Be flexible with your schedule so that you can find a time that works for both coach, athlete and partner. 

Be sure to create an environment where personally and mentally you allow yourself space for learning. When you are too hard on yourself, it makes it harder to ask questions because it means we are not open to the answers. Most coaches want to know that their athletes are working on improving themselves, and will want to see effort from the athletes part.  

Know what you want to work on 

Make sure you know what part of your wrestling need the most focus, and stick to one area at a time. Review any notes that you have taken previously on your focus area. This will help narrow your questions to a few key points. Wrestling technique has a beginning, middle, and end. You should know which part of the technique you are working on. Is it the reaction a certain opponent gives to your favorite technique? Is it the approach? Is it the finish? You don't need to address the entirety of a position the first time, or even in one session. You will be more successful when your focus is narrowed.

Take detailed notes after a one-on-one session

Have your notebook nearby. Don't have one? Check out the blog on journaling and how to get started. Take notes while a coach is demonstrating technique on your partner, and once you've finished your one-on-one session. Go over the steps you have written down with your coach to make sure you have understood each part of the technique. Keep your partner near by so you can tweak your notes as you continue to drill. You may have new questions come up that your partner could help you address, or should be noted for the next time you can work with your coach. 

Practice on your own

Grab that partner again or find someone new who gives you a different reaction and drill, drill, drill! The only way to make something stick is to create muscle memory. This means you've practiced a movement enough that your body will react without having to think. Many basic and complicated wrestling movements are not first nature that our brains and bodies have naturally memorized. Have you ever heard that it takes 24 days for a habit to stick? The same principle occurs in wrestling technique! You must stick to the same technique over a long period of time in order for it to become habit, and in order for it to become really effective on the competition mat.

Review with the same coach again

After adequate time working on the technique on your own, note the areas that still need work. Review the new notes before a one-on-one session just like you did the first time. This second one-on-one session should be further narrowed down to the finer details that are still troubling you, or a second part of the technique that was not addressed the first time. Wrestling technique involves every part of your body. Sometimes corrections come in the simplest form like changing which hand is on top or the slight turning of your head.

These steps can help you take your wrestling to the next level. As you learn the skill of advocating for yourself, you also learn the best way to breakdown and get help with problem areas. The best wrestlers in the world know how to break down a skill to its smallest parts and have someone watch to make corrections. Do your part to learn these valuable skills.