By Daryl Weber, Founder of AttackStyleWrestling.com
Coaches are always racking their brains to find ways to pack more development into the limited time they have at practice. Motivational speeches, skill drills, live situations, strength and conditioning are just some of the strategies coaches are analyzing to get the most out of their athletes. But no matter how complex, scientific or specialized their thinking becomes, there is only one aspect of training which is absolutely required for optimum development.
Work outside your comfort zone as often and as long as you can every workout.
What do you mean, outside your comfort zone?
This is the point where your mind and body say you can’t go any harder & can’t focus any longer. This is when you need to take control of your emotions, thoughts and actions to continue working past these barriers.
Every time you break this barrier you become a little stronger, you expand your “comfort zone”. The work you put in while outside your comfort zone is exponentially magnified when compared to work done inside it.
That means toward the end of practice when you are wrestling a tough opponent and you don’t feel like you can go any longer, but are able to muster up the strength to score with a hard fought double leg, that double leg is like drilling a double leg a 1000 times under optimal conditions (estimate, but you get the point).
If an athlete can do this on a regular basis their “comfort zone” is constantly expanding. This means they are constantly getting stronger, quicker, better technique ect…
Every time you break through these barriers your confidence increases as well. The battles you win inside your head when you want to quit are what build confidence and the burning passion it takes to win close matches.
The ultimate goal is for each athlete to develop this instinct internally. Athletes that can do this on their own accelerate their physical and mental development tremendously. Most athletes need help and encouragement when learning to push through these barriers. But this type of help should be like training wheels on a bike. Whether it is a parent or coach, the end game is always to take the training wheels off and get the athlete to embrace this mentality, so they can do it on their own.
This type of training is a skill. At first an athlete may push themselves outside their comfort zone for just a second and feel like it’s the end of the world. When they first learn to go past their mental and physical barriers they will experience a sense of panic. The more they break out of your comfort zone the bigger is gets and they learn to control their emotions.
When they gain control over these feelings of panic they will begin to learn to function at a high level in a state of complete exhaustion. Not many people learn to work at this high level and this is where an athlete will truly separate themselves from their competitors. Understand that this is not easy and takes a tremendous amount of physical and mental commitment. If you truly wish to be the best, this is where you must learn to live. In the minds of the great competitors, this is where the real fun happens.