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Women's Freestyle Wrestling: Mental Preparation is the Key for Team USA at 2012 World Championships

Yahoo Contributor Network

As the women's freestyle wrestling team heads into world championships, national coach Terry Steiner says his team has been focused on one thing: mental preparation.

Beginning on Sept. 28, the U.S. women's freestyle wrestling team will compete at the 2012 FILA Women's World Championships in Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada.

Just six weeks after the Olympic Games, the women's wrestling team is returning to the mat with a renewed purpose. And this time, even more women will have the opportunity to compete.

At the Olympic Games, only four women's freestyle weight classes are contested. At the world championships, though, wrestlers compete in seven weights, including the non-Olympic weight classes of 51-kilograms, 59-kilograms and 67-kilograms. In addition, the four Olympic weight classes -- 48-kilograms, 55-kilograms, 63-kilograms and 72-kilograms -- also are contested.

The turnaround between the Olympic Games and the women's World Championships is extremely quick, Steiner said. Sometimes, that quick turnaround makes competing at the world championships difficult.

That's where the mental preparation comes in, he said.

"You have to come down after the Olympics and then get yourself ready to start training again first, but then get yourself in that competitive mindset again," Steiner said during an interview with USA Wrestling. "(We haven't done anything) too extensive. We didn't have too long of a time to do that, but we've really focused on the mind more than anything."

In order to help the women's team prepare mentally, Steiner said the team camp consisted of match preparation and match-type situations.

When the matches begin, Steiner expects tough competition from wrestlers from around the world. That doesn't bother him, though, since he expects the mental preparation his team has done to pay off.

"It's going to be tough, Steiner said during the USA Wrestling interview. "The top countries in the world are going to be there to win it, just like us. We're there to win it."

Read more from this author: About the Seven Women Who Qualified for the 2012 World Championship Wrestling Team

Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46

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