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High school wrestling can teach a young student-athlete more than just the correct moves for victory on the wrestling mat as the sport digs deep into an athletes’ mental state that will carry over to adulthood and every day aspects of life. Photo- Joshua Berry

The Unknown World Of High School Wrestling

 MADISON- To be a high school wrestler takes an enormous amount of fortitude as mental strength is just as important as physical brawn. The gut-wrenching sport teaches lessons in life that will last a lifetime and installs the necessary confidence and discipline needed to be successful in adulthood.

“The sport teaches self-confidence and to have respect in yourself,” said Matthew Sweatman head coach of the Bob Jones wrestling team. “A high school wrestler has to be willing to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Kevin Pecor, head coach of the wrestling program at James Clemens, said the sport translates to life as wrestling preps you for wins and losses in life. He added, “I’ve seen kids when they came out for the sport who were so timid they were scared of their own shadow.”

Not only does a wrestler have to be strong and quick, they must be thinkers who are mentally sharp and prepared for any move an opponent may make. The sport features constant motion both mentally and physically. The pure struggle within an athletes’ confidence can be the deciding factor if a wrestler is successful and can carry their work ethics elsewhere in life.

Drew Lawson, senior at Bob Jones, who just finished runner-up in the 285-pound division at the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 7A State Wrestling Tournament, had on-going internal struggles to keep his weight through a ferocious schedule that included physical training and following a strict diet that included a total daily intake of 4,000-9,000 calories.

Sebastian Davis finished his junior season of wrestling for the James Clemens Jets with a top five finish in the 160-pound weight class at the State Tournament, was many times forced to cut weight to make matches. Davis said of his experiences, “Going through all of that and the tough nature of the sport taught me I can get through it as hard times in the sport can be overwhelming, but the sport helped me figure things out. Wrestling is more than a sport. It taught me to depend on myself and fine-tuned my problem solving skills.”

The sport is not for the faint of heart. Injuries do occur as Lawson suffered a season-ending knee injury during a match in 2019. He underwent surgery and faced the challenges of making a return to the mats. “The sport taught me I can push farther than I thought I could,” said Lawson. “With my teammates, we pushed one another as a unit.”

An extensive look into the world of high school wrestling will be available in the upcoming March issue of the Madison Living Magazine available throughout Madison.

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