Performance enhancement training

Many athletes enhance their training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center

In recent years, many athletes have used performance enhancing training to combat athletes who use illegal performance enhancing drugs to gain unfair advantages when training and competing. This paper will describe performance enhancing training that, I argue, is equally effective if not more beneficial than the aforementioned PED’s and in fact is legal/fair. Below these lines, you will find some of the PET’s that many successful people use on a daily basis to reach their goals.


You are a powerful tool and what you say to yourself is even more powerful. If you talk to yourself in away that builds your confidence on a daily basis, you will have confidence in your abilities and reinforce your beliefs in your abilities. When you tell yourself: “I always fight for every single point and I compete for every single position every time I wrestle” privately to yourself…then perhaps out loud to yourself…then finally saying it to yourself in the mirror consistently, you will actually start to believe what you are saying and do it.

Have you ever said something like this to yourself: “I stink and do not deserve to be at this tournament”? If so, you may be subconsciously sending a message to your brain that you are not capable…this could lead to you giving half your best…that could lead to less than ideal practice, participation, or preparation…and that will lead to inconsistent performances.

Think about what you are saying to yourself and ask yourself this “Is it working?” If it is working, continue to use it. If what you are saying to yourself is not working, consider the above suggestions.

Here’s an example of what a wrestler said to me about another athlete that really may make you a believer in the power of self talk: “She said she loves when people score on her because now she really gets excited to score more points.” Big deal you say…well the athlete who explained the story wished she could say the same things —> SHE CAN!

U.S. Olympic Committee sports psychologists suggest what you see over and over again in your mind (imagery) has a tendency to seem, appear, and become real. The advantage of seeing & saying productive thoughts and actions over in your mind is similar to studying any discipline you aspire to master. This means, you have programmed your mind to learn the material and reproduce what you learned on demand…or in time for the test/exam.


I first heard this term (SMART goals) from success guru Zig Ziglar and this is what he meant: Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely goals. If your goals meet the above criteria, you plan accordingly, you execute your goal(s), and your goals are more likely to be realized. Frequently, you may need help with SMART goals from a mentor or someone that has accomplished similar goals that you are trying to attain.

In short, SMART goal attainment is more achievable because you have given yourself a timeline in which to accomplish a precise outcome/process within in reach of your ability. Again, you may need help identifying distinct achievable goals in a given amount of time and or how to plan/execute goals.

Training journal/log

Olympic Champion Steve Fraser inspired me to write an article about training logs last year due to the effect they had on his training to become the very best in this galaxy. Also, earlier this year when Fraser visited the U.S. Olympic Education Center, he explained to the USOEC resident athletes the simplicity and importance of tracking factors like sleep, diet, goals on a daily basis. Fraser believes monitoring influences in your life will help you attain your dreams especially if this is done daily with reflection and an evaluation.

Video analysis

There are at least a couple of different ways to watch/scout films, video, or motion pictures that are performance enhancing for athletes. Scouting entails looking for key movements in sport that lead to scoring positions and take a trained eye and or experience for robust learning.

One type of video analysis or scouting deals with watching what the best in the sport are doing in actual competition. The best in the sport depends on what level you are competing at and might be Olympic Champions, World Champions, National Champions, State Champions, etc. The idea behind watching the champions is to see what is working at the highest level consistently. Once you have discovered what works for the best, you may begin to put together your arsenal of attacks/counter attacks appropriately because if the champions are scoring with these movements, strategies, and techniques, so can you.

Another type of video analysis is watching your own matches and reviewing what worked and what needs work. Again, a careful eye will notice trends that will work on everyone and trends that need more attention to detail so that you can reach your highest potential. After reviewing what works for the champions, you may notice you have a similar style as they; thus, you may begin to add other skills based on your own personal skills that are like those of champions.

Reviewing technique of teaching videos is also a way to analyze video to enhance your performances. This type of review reminds or teaches you a variety of different ways and means to accomplish your technical goals. Analyzing teaching videos is similar to analyzing champions execute skills except the skills may be taught/seen in a slower fashion or at least easier to understand, learn, or mimic.

Strength & conditioning

All things being equal, a stronger body and mind will tend to have more success. There are two types of fitness that can enhance your performance and both influence the mind and body i.e. strength for minimal repetitions (1-3) and strength for many repetitions (3 or more).

Both types of strength stretch the mind because as you get closer to your maximal potential, the gains are less. This taxes your mind because now you will need supreme work ethic combined with an intrinsic motivation to continue to develop. Of course, a well designed annual plan will help you or anyone and that will be discussed soon.

Strength & conditioning should come in many forms so the body and mind adapts to different types of pressures and ultimately can reduce the risk of injury in the sport of wrestling. A stronger body and mind tends also to have less injuries especially if you plan to train year round or close to 10 months or so.

Stress & recovery tracking/monitoring

Being stressed out and not knowing why may be a crucial point to your success. Stress or more aptly over-stress to the point of exhaustion mentally and physically on a daily basis over time will cause decrements in your health and performance. How can you determine what is causing this stress?

There are several ways and means to measure elements of your life that may direct your results like tracking/monitoring your stress and recovery levels. In the manual Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes by Michael Kellmann and K. Wolfgang Kallus, 2 different questionnaires are suggested which, based on how you are feeling over a set amount of time (i.e. days, week, month, quarter, or year), reflects how well you are dealing with stress and how well you are recovering. Another text edited by Kellmann, Enhancing Recovery: Preventing Underperformance in Athletes, offers a weekly questionnaire to keep athletes abreast of how they are feeling physically and emotionally regarding life stressors like academics and athletics.

After using the above references, you may notice you are not getting enough sleep or eating only once per day or feeling sluggish all the time and not recovering in time for training. Now, that you are aware your sleep patterns, diet, and energy levels, you may notice the effect they have on your stress levels, and recovery, and training; this could lead you to change your patterns for better production…if you choose to.

Annual plan

Periodization (training in distinct periods) is another name for what European coaches and sport scientists many years ago developed as the annual plan. Originally, annual plans entailed putting the aforementioned (and more) into a systematic, organized training design with the goal of maximizing top performances 2-4 times per year. These days, annual plans must be organized systematically to plan for many more events with the goal of many more maximal performances per year.

Most of the literature about periodization points to the ‘Cold War’ era, when the Soviets, Germans, and others developed systems to peak the body for major events like the Olympic Games, World Championships, and European Championships. Much of the focus was on training the body in peaks and valleys or manipulating the amount of time spent in high volume training and high intensity training. Amazingly, rest and recovery was just as important as training and the right amount at the right time was also a key factor.

The U.S. Olympic Committee held two “Training Design Symposiums” from 2007-2008 to teach coaches the intricacies of annual planning and the effects they have on performance. The conclusions seemed to say that organizing training so that athletes get more than adequate amounts of rest, recovery, and training was critical and many National Governing Bodies may plan too many competitions (which may lead to underrecovery, overtraining, and injuriesfor a periodized annual plan to be maximally effective. Suffice it to say that annual plans are important and getting athletes to reach their maximal potential must be organized systematically.


Sport specific practice, wrestling, is left out of the above paper because all of the events listed above are designed to be utilized with practice to enhance your performance. In other words, practice is the Key to success in most areas of life and wrestling is apart of life. Said another way, practicing your sport or wrestling will give you the tools you need to employ basic mastery of sport.

Another thought, practicing is similar to a lecture in college or a classroom discussion in high school. Performance Enhancement Training is the homework you do on your own time (with the exception of the annual plan) to master what the educator has taught.

 Copyright © by Coach Shannyn, All rights reserved

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