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Thread: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

  1. #46

    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    I don't think it's good practice to base rules for the sport on the bottom 5% of all teams, but it's equally destructive to make rules for the sport on what are really exceptions to the common rules of logic or data on the other end when you look at the top 5% of teams. What's best for the long term survival of the sport is to find out what your trends are and to adapt to them.

    The average wrestling squad in the US right now is 24 members strong. With 14 wrestlers in a starting lineup, the sheer numbers don't add up when trying to justify a JV. Your average squad size around the US should be at minimum, double the number of participants per team on average. With that logic, 12 would be an acceptable number.

    One thing that troubles me about wrestling right now, is the apparent lack of a plan of action that the sport is using to ensure we are growing. We are, but if we're only growing as a result of an increase in overall population, we're not really growing. We need to have a plan in place that illustrates participation goals and how we're going to reach them through marketing, promotion and coach preparation. How many clinics for coaches do you go to where teams like Apple Valley or even less successful teams that have good numbers are asked to speak on how they recruit and keep athletes?

    I've yet to see that anywhere, and it makes no sense to fail to put a priority on that because who cares how good your ability to teach technique is if you have no bodies to teach it to?

    It would be a tough adjustment for the sport, but I'd like to see the sport consider (not neccessarily do, but look closely at) 11 weight classes and have a ten year goal of increasing participation to see teams average 33 team members each. It's only increasing your average national squad size by one each year, and with numbers going up without a concrete marketing plan, I think is entirely possible if you add that to the mix.

    Whatever we do, we better actually do something. We're the world's oldest sport, but our inability to adapt has warped us in a lot of ways. We need to clean up a lot of things, this being one big one.

  2. #47

    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    Champ Kind,
    Do you think that the big gap in the weight classes has something to do with the large numbers in 189 and 215? Surely the 18 pound gap between 171 and 189 and the 26 pound gap between 189 and 215 is a big reason these classes are larger. If we had a gap of 10 pounds between 130 and 140 in our state we would have had 91 guys trying to fill that class or 30 of them trying to cut another 5 pounds to get to 130. You know that too many kids cut too much weight. Looking at it from your point of view we would put a 180 lb class between 171 and 189 or a 200 lb class between 189 and 215. Ok again using my numbers we would have 98 wrestlers in three weight classes. Divide that up and it comes out to roughly 33. Five under the 38 we had in our 103 lb class. Does that make this a weak weight class? Or does the fact that these guys are juniors or seniors make it better but smaller? I think the biggest question here is do we eliminate classes or just adjust weights. I am not opposed to adjusting weights. I am very opposed to eliminating weights, because yes this eliminates opportunities. I don’t care that freshmen or sophomores fill the lower weights. They get Varsity mat experience and in 2 years I have a stud.

    I do go after the non-athletes. Trust me. I’ll take anyone that walks in my room. If you will subject yourself to my practices you are a “wrestler” whether you win an NCAA championship or you never win a varsity match. The three I spoke of are the only heavyweight guys in our school, period. True you don’t have to be 260 to wrestle heavyweight but a 200 lb kid doesn’t help me much at heavyweight. And by the way we have 9 kids over 200 lbs. 7 are athletes and 2 are in the band. There are 16 kids on our freshman teams that weigh under 105 pounds. That doesn’t include non-athletes.

    My 103 last season isn’t going to get a “reality check” this season. He was 9-1 last year at 112 with his one loss coming to the 112 state champ. His record was not inflated. He split with the other divisional state champ at 103. 53-2 overall and my guess is that he goes undefeated at 112 this season.

    BMT,

    You are right a JV team is out of the question at our school. I have 20-24 guys each year. Figure in 1-2 injured at any one time and I am very close to your number. Plus I am a non-faculty coach. I do not even work at the school where I coach. I work 40-60 hours at my real job, spend 10-14 hours a week at practice and 12-14 hours on Saturdays at a tournament. That doesn’t leave much time for sleep or my real family. I have some sporadic help from time to time, but can hardly find a full time assistant coach. Not sure who I would get to coach a JV team.

    I’m not sure how 11 weight classes helps us grow our sport. I think it’s a hard sell to tell a kid that he is gonna get his face kicked in for 2 years before he will ever see any varsity mat time. How many of those kids do you think we will retain? Believe me if you could give me ideas on how to recruit new athletes I’m all ears. I’d love to have to make cuts to my roster, cherry pick the very best guys. But, until then you can find me slaving away in our room.

  3. #48

    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    Call me crazy, but adding 215 didn't send our growth into a skyrocketing direction. We grew, but our growth has been more gradual. I think the same could be said when we went from 12 weight classes to 13 in 1988. In fact, you may have answered your own question or issue in describing the situation. Why have a guy on his own expected to deal with 14 weight classes?

    I love how coaches tend to look at this almost entirely from the perspective of how it impacts them directly, rather than what's best for the sport. It's insane to believe that no JV team makes your program stronger, which if our sport has the average squad size to justify 12 weight classes, the numbers state that we'd have. Our current arrangement sets us up amost instantly to fail with the average team.

    And it's the average, the vast majority, the overall picture that has to be looked at when considering weight classes. While it's painful to accept, we need coaches to realize that what might not be best for their team would benefit the majority of teams out there.

    JV situations rarely set up someone to have their teeth kicked in, but as someone who works so hard for their paycheck, you must appreciate the paycheck. Try being a backup who never gets matches. Why would they stick around? If they're on JV, the likelihood that they're going to get their teeth kicked in is pretty unlikely. You get to learn at a reasonable pace there, and there have been a lot of greats who spent some time on a JV.

    As for retaining numbers and keeping big teams together, it's not the mysterious process it may appear to be. Eliminate any forced weight loss and limit or get rid of running for the conditioning and replace it with live wrestling. Recruit like mad with posters and hit the phones to call guys when they're not there the first day. Hit the phones again when people miss a day. If that's too much, have a phone list to give guys on the team to use to call to locate why guys were gone. Make the guys who come out sign a contract to finish the season. Get your back ups matches however that has to happen. Reconsider the uniforms and image of the program. Build a connection with the football team and if ask the coach to speak with the freshman team if you're not able to actively get a person from your program to coach. On a day it rains, set up in advance for the team to come in the wrestling room and do some drills that simulated tackling and or wrestling. Use the video announcements if the school has them, and get a kid or someone you know to make a thirty second video spot for the school to show during announcements.

    I'm not sure if those will help you or not. It seems as if in one paragraph, you described that you can't handle having more kids than what you have but wish you had more. I'm not sure how to tackle that, but maybe...just maybe, eleven or twelve weight classes by itself would help match your hard work wth numbers in your program.

  4. #49

    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    I guess what I am saying is that I'd love to have the luxury of picking and choosing. But, I really don't want to eliminate opportunity. Sure my staffing problem is my problem. I love my guys, this sport and the interaction on this team. I'd love to have a JV I just can't do it all. Coach JV, Varsity, Club Team, Grappling team etc. So yeah it is a quandary. You certainly have some good ideas. We will have the band at meets this year and we are even considering a father-son dual meet or an alumni meet. So I'm trying, but in the south football is king. I have very little weight cutting in my program. Last year I had one kid cutting 3 pounds a week. Every other wrestler was basically on weight(within 2 pounds) when they walked into practice on Mondays. So I'm trying. Believe me. 4 years ago my program had only 6 wrestlers. Last season 25. This season should be the same about 25.

  5. #50
    Olympic Champ therick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    I think what we're dealing with between guys like me and coach bull is that we're coming from completely different places as far as participation is concerned.

    Around here, everyone, except the 103's, some 112's and the few special freshman above that, have to work and wait their turn for a varsity spot. We go at least 3 and up to 6 deep in every weight except HWT and 103, and on average we have more HWT's than 103's. So, for filling both a JV team and a freshman team with some kids left over isn't an issue. The result is that the when the kids come up from the middle school programs, they expect to have to beat out multiple upper classmen to earn that starting job, and yet even the kids who are second string JV don't quit because they know the only way to earn that letter is to keep at it and work.

    Now looking at the state wide numbers from coach bull for LA, I can see how there would be fear that if kids have to simply toil in practice for a year or two, that they'll quit. But, I'm coming from a state where the state tournament is 3 division of 16 boys in each weight, whittled down from approximately 128 kids per weight, per division. So obviously we're not seeing anything close to the same side of the issue.

    I would bet that there are more people in coach bulls position than mine, simply based on what they see on a year to year basis. As I said in an earlier post, I can see both sides to this argument and I suppose much of my personal opinion is formed by my circumstances.

  6. #51
    NCAA Champ ccbig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    Sport specialization and direct opposing sports competition can be a problems too when trying to get kids into wrestling.

    In Minnesota during wrestling season the main two competing sports are basketball and hockey. Very few basketball players have ever made the switch to wrestling although a few kids from hockey have. (Probably because the parents loved the lower costs involved with wrestling vs. hockey)

    When it comes to the freestyle and greco seasons we lose wrestlers to some spring sports like baseball and track.

    We had a good athlete come to some practices for wrestling but his folks vetoed wrestling for him because he was a starting pitcher in baseball and they were afraid he would be injured in wrestling. Ironically he was injured playing baseball- he took a hit to the face from a line drive when pitching batting practice that took him out of baseball almost a month.

    We have been lucky that my son's wrestling team that at least one of the football coaches who also was a wrestler and helps to coach the wrestling team. We are a combined wrestling program with two high schools. If we could get the other football coach on board with wrestling it could be a big boost to our wrestling program.
    If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them.

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  7. #52

    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    Yeah Rick I hear you. And certainly we in the south have different problems. My "fear" is that some of the coaches or associations up north will have greater input on this issue than those of us in the south when we have completely different problems.

    My guess is that you could find men all over your community that are ready and willing to pass on the their knowledge and love of the sport. Down here there are very few and many of us have wear too many hats. Middle school programs? Those are unheard of hear because we cannot find enough coaches at the high school level.

  8. #53

    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    Do you think that the big gap in the weight classes has something to do with the large numbers in 189 and 215?

    In a way, yes. Obviously with a bigger gap, more kids can wrestle in that range. Just as if the weights went from 120-135, those weight classes would grow.

    Divide that up and it comes out to roughly 33. Five under the 38 we had in our 103 lb class. Does that make this a weak weight class?

    Its not the numbers that make it a weak weight class its the quality of the numbers. 33 180lb kids are going to mostly be filled with upperclassmen that probably have two or three years of experience. 38 103lbers is going to be mostly filled with underclassmen with less experience. The difference there is the quality of the kids. You also have to figure in that there would be some new kids come out for the sport if there was an 180lbs weight class. I'm sure there are some kids that are 180-185 that don't want to wrestle 189 because they are too small, and they either don't want to cut the weight to 171 or can't lose the weight.

    I think the biggest question here is do we eliminate classes or just adjust weights. I am not opposed to adjusting weights. I am very opposed to eliminating weights, because yes this eliminates opportunities. I don’t care that freshmen or sophomores fill the lower weights. They get Varsity mat experience and in 2 years I have a stud.

    I would rather adjust the weights, but am not 100% opposed to eliminating a weight or two. The problem with what you are saying about having younger inexperienced kids starting varsity is what hurts this sport. You will never see a baseball coach throwing out a freshman that makes numerous errors and can't hit worth a damn, just to get experience on the varsity level. You'd never see a football coach throwing out a freshman quarterback on the varsity team because he's going to be good as a junior or senior. In both instances the kids would be playing on the freshman or JV teams getting experience and growing against kids of their own ability.

    How good would the younger inexperienced kids get if they only wrestled kids of their own ability for a whole year? They would be gaining confidence and possibly have a lot more fun than being thrown to the wolves like some are now.

    That kind of stuff is hurting the product we are presenting to the community at wrestling meets. The best matches are ones with two experienced wrestlers going at it.
    I will smash your face into a car windshield and then take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out to a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!

    Tell me about it, this morning, I woke up and I shit a squirrel, but what I can't get is the damn thing is still alive. So now, I've got a shit covered squirrel running around my office and I don't know what to name it.

  9. #54

    Default Re: Thoughts on poss. weight class changes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Champ Kind View Post
    You will never see a baseball coach throwing out a freshman that makes numerous errors and can't hit worth a damn, just to get experience on the varsity level. You'd never see a football coach throwing out a freshman quarterback on the varsity team because he's going to be good as a junior or senior. In both instances the kids would be playing on the freshman or JV teams getting experience and growing against kids of their own ability.
    What you say is true, but you WILL see freshman moved up to JV if they are able to compete. My son played JV lacrosse as an 8th grader, along with several of his classmates. They were able to compete because of their years of experience.

    I know many experienced football players who are moved from their freshman teams to JV because they are good enough to do so. My son has been told he will probably play varsity lacrosse this upcoming season. A few of his friends at other nearby private schools will also play varsity lax as freshmen. If the kids are good enough, that's where they should compete regardless of age.

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