Ammon Curtis stepped onto the wrestling mat at a practice for the Champions Wrestling Club in Mapleton, Utah. He had been looking forward to this day for more than a week. Today he was going to wrestle for a spot on the club’s junior high duel team at 70 pounds. The boy he was going up against was a year older than Ammon and had been wrestling longer. Both boys had already beaten other boys to get to this final, deciding match. Ammon was excited, and anxious to see what would happen.
Ammon shook his arms and tried to stay loose. In his head he thought back to the times he had wrestled this boy and the moves he had used. Ammon then methodically reviewed the moves he could use to counteract those actions.
“Come in boys,” the coach said, bringing the two wrestlers together. “This is for the 65 to 70 pound spot on the team. Let’s have a good match.”
The two boys shook hands and took their places.
“Alright, wrestle!” the coach said and dropped his hand between the wrestlers.
Ammon only took a second to begin the action. He liked to be the first to score and he dove in first with a leg grab. Then he worked to get his feet in position for a cradle hold.
His opponent wasn’t going down easy. He escaped and faced Ammon again. Ammon’s next lung was avoided by a step back maneuver. Immediately, Ammon recognized that his friend, whom he had wrestled on many occasions, was changing tactics. So Ammon would need to change with him.
For three minutes, Ammon and his opponent would reach, pull and jostle for preferred positions. In the end, Ammon had outscored his opponent and won the spot on the team. He used the experience he had gained in practice and other matches to win this contest, and go on to help his team win the Christmas Clash Wrestling Duels the following weekend.
“I try to work really hard during practice and try new moves and think them through,” Ammon said about wrestling practice. “I like to learn new moves and practice them, so that when I wrestle I can feel comfortable with using those moves in the match.”
Sometimes during practices, Ammon gets to choose who he can work with to learn the moves.
“I like to choose kids that are really good and work hard, so that I can learn the move really well,” he said. “Some kids will just goof around and not really try hard during practice, and that doesn’t help me get better.”
Whether you are a young boy trying to make a wrestling team or a seasoned candidate trying to get a job, the experience you gain through practicing your skills is what you take with you into new challenges. You can never script every part of a new endeavor. Each game, match, interview and trial, will hold new obstacles you haven’t seen before. As the competition for Ammon gets tougher, he will need to be more versatile. His confidence will grow as he adds more moves to his arsenal, and practices countering other styles. The boy he wrestled to get the spot on the junior high team, will continue to challenge Ammon and they will push each other to improve their skills.
No amount of natural ability will take the place of practice. The way you practice is the way you perform. If you never challenge yourself, you won’t have the ability you need to overcome the trials that are sure to knock at your door.
What skills do you need to succeed at your goal? Are you practicing those skills? Have you set aside time to practice every day?