Successful wrestlers are a combination of physical and mental strength.
While training and the maturation process helped take care of Jordan Giacomin's body, it took different means for the Hebron sophomore to develop his mind.
"The light bulb has to go on," Hawks coach Todd Adamczyk said.
For Giacomin, there was no epiphany, just a realization.
"I was wondering why I didn't beat other guys. What's the difference between them and me?" he said. "Something just stuck. I got more confidence."
Adamczyk noticed it right away during summer workouts. Giacomin wasn't a timid, little 106-pound freshman anymore.
"He got thicker, a good thicker," Adamczyk said. "All of a sudden, he had shoulders. I was like, 'Who is this guy, and what happened to Jordan?' I liked it."
Not that the old version was so bad. Giacomin went 25-12 as a freshman, finishing fifth in the meat-grinder Crown Point Sectional, arguably the deepest bracket in the state.
"I waited sometimes for guys to do something and go from there," Giacomin said.
Now he's taking the attack to his opponents.
"I think I got a little more aggressive," Giacomin said. "You've got to want it more than the other guy."
The result? An 11-1 record at 113 pounds, his only loss coming at 120.
"It's not so much this and that technique," Adamczyk said. "He just wants it. You can't teach it. I've seen it in middle school and his freshman year. It's come out quite a bit."
It also doesn't hurt that Giacomin is a straight-A student ranked near the top of his class. He had some modest if not extensive background in the sport when he entered high school. What sets Giacomin apart is his ability to retain and assimilate coaching in matches.
"Around here, it's pretty rare," Adamczyk said. "You show him something one time, it's permanent. From a coaching standpoint, we can sit back and watch. We don't have to talk him through a match step by step like a younger guy. He's in the right position before we coach him to be in position. All the simple things, he does it by himself. He's eager to learn. He's the hardest working guy out there."
Thanks to that memory bank, Giacomin is able to wrestle instinctively, react to situations without having to think them through.
"I don't think when I wrestle," he said. "I just go."
Giacomin is anxious to see how he stacks up with better competition as the season progresses, knowing tougher matches benefit him more than first-period pins.
"Easy matches are cool, but I like to wrestle better opponents," he said. "I like to have a challenge."
Like most wrestlers, Giacomin dreams of making it to Banker's Life Fieldhouse for the state finals and standing atop the awards podium.
"I think that's a lot of people's goal," he said.
For now, Adamczyk just wants to see him take the first step in the postseason.
"I'll say this," Adamczyk said, "if he doesn't make it out of the sectional, it will be a huge disappointment."