Staying In Tune: Sarah Hildebrandt's Intuitive Approach


Olympic Bronze Medalist and 4-time World medalist, Sarah Hildebrandt's journey in wrestling is not just about physical prowess; it's a holistic exploration of the mind-body connection. Sarah stands out for her intuitive approach. It is this mindset that has shaped her perspective and changed the game.

The demanding lifestyle of a wrestler requires a structured routine—eating, sleeping, and training religiously. Hildebrandt reflects on her experience with burnout that pushed her to relinquish the rigidity of her routine and find authenticity in her journey. "I realized that I didn’t feel very human anymore. I needed to bring a sense of intuitiveness into my life." 

Hildebrandt describes her intuition as a humanist navigating the gray areas of life. Wrestling, often perceived as a mechanical sport, became a canvas for her to explore the nuanced aspects of humanity. Sarah states emphatically, “Wrestling is not just a series of moves but an intricate dance where intuition plays a pivotal role.” Hildebrandt encourages fellow athletes to avoid letting wrestling monopolize their lives, urging exploration of the gray areas through diverse activities.

Though this mindset may seem carefree, Sarah emphasizes the difficulty in listening to your body and building trust in your decisions. “Trusting yourself now for a bigger picture outcome is scary. There are a lot of things that will instill doubt in you, external things you'll see other people doing that don’t align with you or what you are trying to become, and it’s easy to compare yourself.”



Incorporating an intuitive mindset requires you to disrupt your schedule and routine for the sake of yourself. "It was really uncomfortable at first and is still uncomfortable today, but I think those things are uncomfortable because they are new, not because they are something I am incapable of doing or something I am bad at. Remembering that has allowed me to step into those gray areas in training, my life, eating, and nutrition and learn what is intuitive to me."

The fluidity of the intuitive mindset allows Hildebrandt to adapt to physical and mental challenges, fostering a more resilient approach to the sport. “Intuitiveness becomes a game-changer in recovery, considering factors like injuries, fatigue, and the ever-changing nature of each day.” 


For Hildebrandt, freedom lies in a loose structure. Permitting oneself to be less strict opens the door to heightened output. Maintaining a keen awareness of body signals becomes a source of empowerment, aligning the mind and body for optimal performance.



The intuitive mindset brings forth open-ended creativity. Hildebrandt has learned to be playfully inquisitive, shedding preconceived notions about herself and her capabilities. “This mindset encourages a deep listening to oneself within the moment, fostering growth and adaptability.”

Hildebrandt's journey imparts valuable lessons to coaches and athletes. “Wrestling is not a rigid routine but a fluid dance, and teaching athletes to listen to their bodies is paramount.” Sarah believes that developing present awareness, reflective skills, and honest communication are key elements that coaches should instill to cultivate a well-rounded athlete.

The approach Sarah has taken to wrestling has transcended the boundaries of the sport. The philosophy encourages adaptability, creativity, and a deeper connection between the mind and body. She believes aspiring wrestlers should take note; in the dance of wrestling, intuition might just be your most powerful partner.


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