A new paradigm

Coaches and athletes alike can begin to build a solid foundation for success if mastery and then application of these subjects is applied prior to competition at state, national, and international events: sports nutrition, strength training, and sport specific skills acquisition.

How is a sports nutrition advantage gained?

Japanese Royalty (l-r) 2 X World Bronze medalist Eri Yamamoto, 3 X Olympic Champ Kaori Icho, 3 X Olympic Champ Saori Yoshida, & 2 X Olympic Silver medalist Chiharu Icho

A sports nutrition advantage is gained because the body performs daily functions (in sport and every day living) optimally when it receives adequate amounts of fuel.

In other words, the right amount of water, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins will supply the body with vital energy to gain strength and mental advantages for all movements, thoughts, etc.

When this recipe of water, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is out of sync or inadequate, periodic flashes of brilliance are capable.

When the mix of water, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is optimal, consistent sport performances are maintained and most people have a sense of security due to the consistent sport performances (which may increase confidence).

To be certain, understanding and applying sound principles of good sports nutrition for health and high sport performances is a must.

Sports nutrition is a buzz phrase these days for novice gym rats and even professional sports people due to everyone trying to gain an advantage for health and performance via legal and non-legal means. Take a look at football, baseball, and Olympic sports today in the news and ask your self what is all the hype about?

How much carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are enough and how much is too little?

Everyone’s body is different or has a different composition of lean body mass or body fat. So, what works for one person, may or may not work for someone else. There are scores of media (websites, books, videos) that suggest what you should be eating and how often and generally this info is designed for regular people or non-athletes.

This author believes, in most cases, sporting children can be taught how to eat productively just like they are taught how to tie shoes, read, & wrestle. The issue, generally, is where the sporting child eats consistently and what types of foods are consistently eaten.

A balanced diet, which is recommended by medical and food professionals, usually entails eating these types of foods: water, fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats/poultry/fish, and dairy products.

Most balanced diets weigh lightly on the sodium, fat side and heavy on the fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meat sides. In my experience, this is where more questions arise and also an area where coaches at all levels can research and define what a balanced diet is for each individual athlete based on body composition, age, body type, and current literature.

Coaches can get assistance from certified nutritionists, registered dietitians, and National Governing Body certified coaches and disseminate this knowledge to their athletes.

What is strength training and how is it beneficial to sport or wrestling?

That is actually a loaded question, which perhaps, several books have taken time to answer and also a whole industry is devoted to [the last question(s) is in the same category] and here, is a short answer:

Strength training, for purposes of this paper, includes building muscle mass to perform optimally in sport and to execute at the highest level consistently and includes conditioning the mind, body, and soul. That is a long answer for simply saying: increasing sport specific strength in mind, muscles, & heart by means of increasing effort gradually to perform better in sport.

By increasing strength gradually, one has the ability to apply more force and power and or sustain this force and power for exercise bouts which one is training for. Ultimately, if you or I are trained optimally to execute push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups, we are better prepared to do push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc.

How are sports nutrition and strength training related?

This is a very good question and essentially the crux of this article. Your body, and mine, will perform sport specific strength training feats at optimal rates if and when the right nutrients or foodstuffs are ingested in a timely manner consistently.

Have you ever tried to exercise with out eating for several days?
If you have done that, you are aware your body actually performs any exercise bout optimally when it has enough energy to do so and you might have experienced fatigue sooner because your body required more energy to do the work you intended on doing.

Stated in another way, your body needs fuel to exercise optimally and the right mix of water, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins will give you the energy needed if eaten at the right times prior to working out.

Cars need high octane fuel to run optimally…so do your bodies.

Cars do not run well with mud in their tanks as fuel…neither do your bodies.

Diets rich in salts, sugars, and fats may make you lethargic and you will have issues when it is time to perform at a high level consistently.

What sport specific skills are needed to perform at a high level?

Mastering the basics of sport is a starting point and is certainly the case for wrestling. However, if you have all the sport specific skills mastered in the ‘book’ and have neglected productive mastery of sports nutrition and useful application of strength training, you are only one-third (really one-fourth) of the way to consistent high sport performance in terms of this paper.

That written, sport specific skills mastery is what most folks are concerned about and the other two topics sports nutrition and strength training (not to mention sport psychology) appear to be set aside for another time.

For clarity, in wrestling, you can start by mastering balance, stance, motion, and level changing. When those skills are becoming mastered, you may begin to introduce agility games and drills to teach mastery of take downs and counter take downs; turns and counter turns. Those sport specific skills require (sports psychology) much effort and repetition of movement to get the patterns into the cells of the body or into the mind of the muscles.


In my short span of at the U.S. Olympic Education Center (8 years), it has been proven that an extraordinary sports psychology will help in mastery of most or all of the above. This entails persistence beyond belief, openness to learning, and a will to achieve and fail.

Summary addendum

Many coaches, in the past, have made their wrestlers cut weight (at an early age) while disregarding the above words which I am calling principles. When this happens, we have teenagers and young adults who use weight cutting as the primary skill to enhance wrestling performance which I believe is counterproductive to growth and perhaps an immediate short cut to success which is short lived and may cause burnout.

A more productive procedure involves integrating the sports psychology process of learning, teaching, and applying the principles of sound: sports nutrition, strength training, and sport specific skills mastery. This will produce more consistent results, will take time, and is well worth the weight or wait.

Copyright © by Coach Shannyn,  All rights reserved

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