what it means?
by Ted Witulski NCEP Coordinator
Chances are you hear it yelled to a wrestler at tournament all the time. Often, after a tough scramble, a controversial call, or a big move. Listen closely, you'll hear coaches yell that one word to their athlete. That one word, that is meant to be both insight and comfort. Every coach yells it but not every coach teaches what that one word means.
"FOCUS", the coach yells! "FOCUS", you can win this match. "FOCUS, your still in it. FOCUS!
When I hear coaches revert back to this one distinct command, I only hope that they have taught there wrestler a process to achieve that elusive thing called focus. The wrestler that has "it" is often the one that can achieve that championship status, whereas, the wrestler who is still seeking focus is still trying to climb to the top.
Wrestling coaches know that their wrestlers at some point during the season in the heat of a match will only have a couple of fleeting seconds to return to FOCUS. The difficult thing is to teach wrestlers what focus is and how to achieve it, when the coach yells from the corner after the out-of-bounds break to focus.
As a wrestling coach yells to focus, the coach is engaging the wrestler to return back to only the moment of the match that is right of front of him/her. The coach is urging him/her to recognize the situation at hand, leave the referees calls, the adrenaline rush, and the past scored points aside. Focus is a powerful tool for a wrestler to have at his/her command. So, as a coach don't neglect to teach what it means to wrestlers.
F-O-C-U-S can be better understood by wrestlers, if it is viewed as a five-letter acronym instead of just an often hurled word in the heat of match. Teach wrestlers to view each letter as a distinct action that must be undertaken to achieve focus.
First of all, the "F" of focus stands for forget. Forget anything negative that has occurred. Forget the referees call. Forget the locked-hands call that tied the match. Forget the cheap shot that you received out of bounds from your opponent. The coach is yelling at the wrestler to focus, but to achieve this the wrestler must forget anything negative.
Second, if the wrestler is to be focused, then he/she must organize him/herself. To organize, the wrestler must recognize what is the moment of the match. What is the exact situation that must be wrestled? A successful wrestler first forgets the negative and then organizes for the precise situation that he/she is in. For example, a wrestler has just given up a reversal on the edge and went out of bounds. Much has happened in this change of control. There might be only a few seconds left, the wrestler might have just went down by a point, the match might be slipping away. Hopefully, the wrestler in the few moments he/she has to get set on bottom will know how to organize for that situation. A wrestler organizing for the moment in the match must recognize the score, the time left in the period, the position to be wrestled, and the attacks to be wary of that his/her opponent will initiate. There is a great deal of information to process in a short time for a wrestler to be organized and focused. It is up to the wrestler's coach to help to teach a wrestler the skill of organizing for the moment of the match during a whistle break.
Forget the negative. Organize for the precise situation. Now the wrestler must "Concentrate" on the action that must be taken to win in that moment. A good and focused wrestler will know if they are on bottom and there is only a 12 seconds left in the third period and they are down by one, that it is important to be organized for that precise moment. Most coaches would probably be hoping their wrestler realizes that with the limited time on the clock, their more advanced scoring maneuvers, such as a granby roll, would take too long to score. A wrestler who is concentrating must pick the best and precise move to win.
Last year, at the Division I Nationals in St. Louis, Brock Lesnar had the down position in sudden-victory overtime. After trying to escape with stand-ups unsuccessfully Lesnar switched tactics. He focused on the situation, did a half stand-up followed with a perfectly executed hip-heist. To the unobservant eye this might have been a chance maneuver, but if you watched the Minnesota staff, they helped Lesnar achieve the focus, by concentrating on this precise movement and it won him a national title. Instead of relying on a stand-up and the scramble for hand-control the change to a hip-heist was the perfect tactic to win the title. That small change was achieved by focusing in on the situation, due in large part by the Minnesota staff urging this tactical shift.
In the seconds before the whistle initiates a re-start of action in the match the wrestler must unwind. Unwinding is really a simple process. It is a matter of the wrestler taking control of the moment. When a wrestler is at a critical point in the match you would hate to see him/her rush back to the center without being focused on the moment. Once a wrestler forgets, organizes and concentrates, encourage wrestlers to unwind.
The process of unwinding is that reassuring deep breath that can give that wrestler a moment of pause. In a way, to see a wrestler pause and unwind is also reassuring to the coach in the corner. Teach wrestlers to draw in a deep breath on a three-count, hold it, and exhale on a three count. This past summer the Lone-Star, from the Lone-Star state, Brandon Slay initiated this process of unwinding every time he started in parterre position. Before he would set himself on bottom or top you could visually see him focus on the moment of the match. He would check the score to organize himself, he would scan his mind to think of the movement he would attempt, and just before placing his hands to re-start wrestling you cold watch him unwind by drawing in and controlling a deep breath. This process of unwinding, while focusing on the moment of the match, surely helped him gain the Olympic team spot.
Finally, the last part of focus is step. The acronym of F-O-C-U-S walks a wrestler through forgetting the negative, organizing for the moment, concentrating on the movement, unwinding to take control of the rush of adrenaline, and the step to be taken at the sound of the whistle. Now it isn't enough to say to a wrestler hit the inside stand-up. Rather the process of focus should help coaches teach the speed, the force, and the fury that needs to go into the precise step to be taken at the initial whistle. In the practice room coaches, can teach focus by going through a match situation and as the coach talks to his/her wrestlers about unwinding and getting set he/she should reinforce what kind of maximum speed and power they are looking for in that step.
Too often coaches see wrestler go through the motions. They might be repeating that standup for fiftieth time in practices. Their feet and hands are moving to the right points. Their head position is fine. But something is lacking their isn't the right speed to that step. F-O-C-U-S, specifically STEP is what those wrestlers are missing. Every coach wants to see his/her wrestlers hit that step in a higher gear. By breaking down the word focus coaches can renew wrestlers attention and achieve higher focus for the speed, force, and fury of any particular step.
Focus! Coaches will yell this to their wrestlers often in the up-coming season. If the wrestlers are truly going to understand what focus means, then they need to learn a process that can be done quickly in the heat of a match, which will actually help them achieve focus. Forget, organize, concentrate, unwind, and step........when you a hear coach yell focus that's what they expect their wrestler to do. However, the wrestlers that separate themselves from the others to become champions, will undoubtedly learn a higher level of focus. As a coach, make sure you take the time to go beyond the moves and teach the tactic of focus to all your wrestlers.
Article courtesy of themat.com
All Images and Text are exclusive property of themat.com and unless otherwise noted may not be used for commercial purposes without permission.
Back Home Forum