The Most Insidious Consequence of Wrestling

Posted on Posted in Coaches, Mental Training, Opinion

Webster's dictionary defines a consequence as, "something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions..."

I'm going to teach you something that will change your wrestling performance forever. It's one of the keys that every highly successful wrestler uses to their benefit while most average wrestlers are crippled by it and can't figure out why.

A Hot Stove

Growing up, we had a wood burning stove in our home. It never failed when a young child would come over to our house, that eventually, they would touch it.gas-stove-138885_1280

Even though they would be told over and over not to touch it, eventually they would touch the hot stove and instantly scream bloody murder.

Do you think we had to tell them a second time?

Nope. They figured it out.


No more hot stove was "burned" into their memory: Hot stove + Hand = PAIN.

That is what's called an immediate consequence. They are very easy to learn and connect the dots.  

In fact, you can train a dog using "treats" as an immediate consequence of following your command to "sit" for instance.

A Speeding Train


Another type of consequence is permanent. If you step in front of a speeding train there are immediate AND permanent consequences.

If the stove is hot enough it will not only burn you, it will leave a permanent scar.

If you win a wrestling tournament, you are forever the champion for that tournament. It's permanent.

So you can see, as with all consequences, there are positive and negative for any of them.

"Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences." - Norman Cousins

The most insidious of all

The most insidious consequence of all is the delayed consequence. When it's not immediately obvious what the outcome of certain actions is going to be, we have difficulty connecting the dots.  

As it relates to wrestling I call it "homework and tests."

If you do all the homework you are assigned in a certain subject, and do it well, you greatly increase your chances of passing the next test on that subject.


If you mess around and half-heartedly do the homework, or don't do it at all, you greatly increase the likelihood of a bad grade.

If you make it a habit to simply rely on your talent and not put the homework in to pass the test or get a high score, there are delayed consequences piling up that you will have to face down the road.

The term for this kind of behavior is "discounting the future."

It sounds like this:

  • "It doesn't make THAT much difference, it will all work out."
  • "Everything will be okay."

Makes sense right?

Here's where it gets dangerous...even insidious...

Fast forward 10 years after college graduation and the person that didn't see the value in doing the homework runs into an old school mate. He discovers his old friend (that always did his homework and got high test scores) has a much better life in comparison to his own.

Do you think he'll walk away saying. "Man, I wish I would have done all my homework and got better test scores. He learned a lot from doing that. He gained more knowledge, it had to have helped his self-discipline, and kept him on track to meet his educational goals. That must be how he got all those scholarships and ended up with such a great job. That seems like it has made his life much better than mine."

Probably not.


More than likely he will walk away from that situation saying things like "Wow he's a lucky guy. So much more talented than I am. I didn't realize his parents were rich. I wish I had had such a break. Life isn't fair. blah, blah, blah.

He fails to see and understand the delayed consequences of his actions from long ago.

He doesn't realize that his position in life now is a direct result of his decisions and actions of the past.

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

It happens all the time in wrestling.

You see a guy that puts in the homework. He trains hard everyday. He wrestles year around. He sacrifices fun with his friends. He saves money to pay for training instead of using it to buy other things he'd love to have. He understands the power of delayed consequences.

And although the consequences are delayed, it eventually pays off big time.

You know what most people will say?

"Man he is so talented. He is the luckiest guy. I wish I had had the opportunity to train as much as he does.His school has a great program. blah, blah, blah."

Now let me ask you...

Are you connecting the dots?

Can you see that your wrestling success or failure is up to you?

It's dependent on the decisions you make and the actions you take every day.

If you're doing everything in your power to be a success in wrestling, you will reap the rewards if you don't stop.

If you find yourself saying things like:

  • I don't feel like it today.
  • I'll do it tomorrow.
  • This looks easier.
  • I'm just going work hard when someone is looking.

You don't understand delayed consequences. OR, you have a nasty habit of discounting the future.

Either one is going to cripple your success in wrestling and assure you a life of mediocrity.

Remember this: You are free to make whatever choice you want, but you are not free from the consequences of the choice.

That's great news if you're making good decisions because you are bound to reap a lot of good consequences.

But if you're making bad decisions...well, you get it.

Until next time...



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