POSTCARDS FROM AUSTRALIA— ‘Keep us in your prayers’

American Samoa is being represented in the 2012 Senior Oceania Wrestling Championships (January 27- 29), with wrestlers from the American Samoa Wrestling Association (ASWA), as well as those who are of Samoan descent and have been training off-island, in Sydney, Australia. The tournament is the first stage of the Olympic qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London, England this summer.

Head coach for Team American Samoa is Ethan Lake, who is also president of the ASWA, is sending ‘postcard’ updates to the territory — via-email — and asks to please, “Keep us in your prayers”.


Today was make weight day. With Weigh-ins at 6 p.m., the primary focus for most of the wrestlers was to make weight. We only had a few that had to worry about their weight — that has been one of the negative images about wrestling is making weight. However this is something that is no longer emphasized like in days passed. Yes, there will always be wrestlers that need to make weight, but the emphasis on cutting exorbitant amounts of weight is discouraged. The emphasis is to train and wrestle at a healthy weight.

As a coach, I leave the decision of what weight to wrestle to the athlete, with emphasis on hard training and healthy eating  and not dietary weight loss or extreme cutting.

With that concept most wrestlers only work on losing a few extra pounds, which many times is done the last day or so in shedding their water weight, through sweat and perspiration by running, exercise and working out.


Well today all of our wrestles qualified in their weight classes during weigh-ins. They had to go through a full medical screening first, then went to do their official weigh-ins. Today's medical checks and weigh-ins were for Men's and Women's Freestyle for Friday's (Jan 27th) Freestyle competitions.

Wrestlers will have to weigh-in once again on Friday 6 p.m. for Saturday's Greco, Grappling and Combat Grappling competitions.

In many ways, making weight is their first and most important opponent because if you don't make weight, you are knocked out. So, everyone now has their first win.


Now that we are in competition mode, you may only receive a few individual post cards from the wrestlers. For the most part, all of the wresters are focused on their matches and have gone into the zone.

The zone is a place many athletes, especially wrestlers go to when they compete. The zone is a place of positive thinking, focus, concentration, direction, confidence and determination. The zone is a place where an athlete blocks out the outside world and only sees the world directly in front of them which is their matches and the competition; everything else does not exist. It is place where you must get in order to perform at your peak. When you’re fully in the zone, everything clicks for you, your timing is on, everything falls into place, you are at your best.

Getting into the zone is very important in wrestling. Unlike other sports such as football or basketball, if you are not in the zone or on your game, you do not have teammates that can pick up the slack and help carry you and the team to success.

In wrestling you are on your own.

There is no one to cover your mistakes, there is no one to help carry you to victory, there is no huddles, no substitutions, no time outs. Once you step on the mat, you have to be on your game, you have to be in the zone, you have to get the job done yourself. There is no excuse, no blaming someone else, no point fingers, nowhere else to look. You leave it all on the mat. Everything you put into your training, and everything you didn't put into it is out on display during your match. It is all out there for the world to see. There is no sitting on the bench, standing on the sidelines, or teammates to hide behind. You take all responsibility for your outcome, win or lose it is all you.


As a wrestling coach I do not stress the win or loss, though winning is the ultimate goal.

I stress that fact that you go out there and give it everything you got, both in training and on the mat. How you perform on the mat will indicate or show how you trained, there is no hiding that fact. If you did everything you could to train and you do everything you could in the match, then the wins will come on their own. But no one can ask you to do more than to give everything you got. Win or lose, how can you give more than what you have in you?

I tell my wrestlers to give 110%. In truth though, no one can truly give more than 100% of what they are capable of, however what you think is your 100% is not always the case. For most, their 100% may only be 90%  or less of their capabilities; they just sell themselves short.

So I ask wrestlers to give what they think is their 100% then push themselves beyond what they think is 100% and they will find that they can always give more than what they thought. As people, we tend to sell ourselves short and never rise to our full potential. But if pushed hard enough, we can always go beyond our own expectations.

In the next few days, these wrestlers will be pushing themselves beyond their own expectations. And with the Lord’s help and guidance, they will come back as winners. They will leave it all on the mat, with no regrets, knowing that they gave it everything they got.

Keep us in your prayers


Comment Here