If you’ve ever wondered if you can actually train less and win more the
answer is: Absolutely! For years the former Soviet Union had practiced and
excelled with this principle. Why the United States is unwilling or unable to
explore more of this principle continues to baffle me.
Soviet researchers proved time and again that athletes who used their mind to
perform drills and mentally rehearse their technique and performances
continually did better than their physical training only counter parts.
Who takes home the most medals in wrestling at the Olympics? The Russians.
Who takes home as few medals as a third world country that you can’t even spell?
The United States.
Why because they focus on opposite areas. In the United States you will be
hard pressed to find an athlete that does not rely more on his physical
conditioning than his mental. Those few that do rely on their ‘mental’
conditioning usually refer to their ‘mental toughness’ which still usually
originates from their physical conditioning.
What is their typical strategy?
“Out condition the other guy.” “Wear down my opponent.”
They talk about a ‘continual attack’ but if you’re just bouncing
around beating on a guy’s head there is actually very little in the way of a
true scoring attack taking place. You may be wearing them down but if there are
no points scored from actual technical holds your effort is pointless (no pun
Don’t mistake being busy on the mat for being effective. Too many of today’s
athletes and coaches (even at the ‘elite’ levels) make this mistake than you
might realize. A true continually attacking style takes much more than purely
Do I believe in conditioning? In wearing people down and making them tired?
Absolutely! However it is a smaller part of a much larger strategy. An important
part to be sure, but not the only part.
Start using your mind. Explore the possibilities that imagination and real
mental conditioning can have.