Mental Mondays with Ben Askren: Controlling Emotions Under Extreme Pressure

Keep Composure

This Mental Mondays, Ben Askren discusses his last piece of inspiration he got from the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships, composure in high-pressure situations. As a wrestling coach at Askren Wrestling Academy, Askren witnesses a lot of younger wrestlers not controlling their emotions in matches. A lot of young wrestlers let their emotions and anxiety get the best of them in tough situations or if a call doesn’t go their way. The coach then has to attempt to calm down and refocus their athlete. Compared to NCAA finalists who are stone cold during the most intense moments.

It Doesn’t Come Easy

An example of one of these moments where a wrestler showed how you should act was during the Vincenzo Joseph vs Mekhi Lewis final. Joseph is a wrestler that proves time and time again he is unshakeable no matter the situation or odds. Lewis displayed this trait as well during his first NCAA tournament. Lewis’ road to the finals was full of close matches that required extreme focus and grit. For example, when Alex Marinelli was in on Lewis’ legs and Lewis remained extremely calm, relaxed, and poised. This is a trait that takes time to develop and needs to be worked on. At a high school tournament, there are very few athletes that show this composure.

Mental Toughness

This is obviously a big difference between high school wrestlers and the best college wrestlers. Askren says for coaches who are developing athletes at the high school level to help them focus their emotions. Pay attention to the way they carry themselves and help reinforce what will make them more successful. Athletes, be self-aware of not allowing your emotions to overcome your actions and mental focus.

 

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