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Thread: Small Program Help!!!

  1. #1

    Default Small Program Help!!!

    last year I was the assistant coach at a local HS. by the time I got on board there were only 4 kids. I am now the head coach and those same 4 kids returned. i had 2 new kids join and after only 2 days, they quit b/c they said it was too tough. i by no means am making it tough especially not tough like i trained. day one was 10 minutes of suicides and some running (only about 4 minutes of actual running), i went over stances for about 10 minutes than we went back into the wrestling room and cleaned the mats and walls really good. day 2 was only 8 minutes of suicides and some running (only about 3 minutes of actual running) than we went to the mats and went over some technique. now going into day 3 I am back down to the 4 returning wrestlers. I am at a loss now b/c with only 4 wrestlers I am afraid if I push them too hard one of them might quit and 2 of the 4 are seniors. any ideas on how to make practice more fun and how to get more kids to come out? I use to run 3.5 miles before practice and 3.5 miles before school everyday and I am only having them run maybe a 1/2 mile.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Small Program Help!!!

    I was a coach at a small school for the past three years and I did exactly what you are talking about doing. I made things difficult enough that if they chose to push themselves but no so difficult that they really "had" to push themselves. It was a mistake. I was afraid of losing kids. My first year I finished with 7, then 11, last year I finished with 11 or 4 depending on how you count (we had a bout with the injury bug and a hazing incident that cost a couple of kids the end of their season). If I had it to do over again I would have run a tough program and let my kids rise to the occasion. I'm unsure about the background of the kids you have left or of the wrestling background at your school/town, so you may need to teach them what it means to be a wrestler, how to work hard and push themselves but in the long run that will create a lasting and successful program.

    Let me put it to you this way: Would you rather have 4 kids in your room who busted their butts and went all out, maybe they all get to state and one or two even place or would you rather have 15 kids in your room playing grab ass all day long and then wondering what could have been?
    Last edited by Snackem; 09-22-2010 at 04:24 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flop The Nuts View Post
    [D]on't let lack of knowledge impact your ability to post as if you are knowledgeable.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Small Program Help!!!

    little 411 about louisiana wrestling. about 12 years ago LHSAA got rid of regional qualifiers, now we have 3 Divisions at state (Division is based on total student body of school, Division 1 being big schools and D3 being small school). if a kid wrestles varsity, he wrestles at state if he's the starter. I was part of a D1 program but everyone busted their butts and knew what hard work was. I have one kid who's a freshman who will either win state or be runner up in his weight class. he wrestled all summer and placed 4th in regionals and had a chance to wrestle with 2 double all americans and one was the greco national champ at fargo. the kid is good but i'm worried about getting more out. I can teach the technique but the problem is that all these kids hear stories about the few rare programs (that no longer exist in this state) that would run 5 miles with sweats on in the heat and run stairs for an hour. most of the kids that come out, come out b/c either their dad or uncle wrestled or b/c another kids talked him into it. all the kids that wrestle for me now can pretty much place or win state in their division, I just don't have the numbers to be a force at a tournament. if I could get a team of just 9 or 10 wrestlers in different weight classes, I could place the team in the top 5 and possibly take the team title. How do you get kids to come on and stay on the team? I am making conditioning so they can atleast wrestle one full varsity match with out getting totally gassed. I talked to the baseball coaches and football coaches to send me kids but none have shown up and some that inquire about it don't show up when they say.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Small Program Help!!!

    If you take the four kids you have and place them all at state, that will go a long way to get more out. One thing that I have done in the past that worked will to get out numbers is to make simple highlight videos throughout the year, and then another longer one at the end of the year. Kids all love to see themselves on TV or youtube. Windows live movie maker and apple imovie are both free programs that are simple to use and make a passable movie. If you can get your hands on premiere or another more advanced program even better. I'd make a video about once a month of match highlights and then burn it onto a DVD and give it to each of your kids. They'll show their friends I'm sure.

    Also try and get some pictures taken of them in matches and give the pictures to the local newspaper, or the school newspaper (if they have one). The more publicity you can generate for the program the better. Call all the newspapers in your area to report results, along with other local media outlets. If you don't have a home meet/tournament or two do whatever you can to get one. Even being small you could bring in another small school (that fills weights you don't) and a larger school with a bigger lineup and then dual them--you and the other small team against the larger team.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flop The Nuts View Post
    [D]on't let lack of knowledge impact your ability to post as if you are knowledgeable.

  5. #5
    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Small Program Help!!!

    All very good advice from Snackem. If you make the practices easier, you will be cheating yuor wrestlers out of the opportunity to be the best that they can be. You may want to copy these articles and give them to the football coach or even coaches of other sports:

    How Participation In Wrestling Can Benefit The Football Player
    by Robert C. Loveless, Instructor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation / Wrestling Coach, Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania

    In this, the era of sport specialization, many young men feel that in order to excel in one individual sport; they must devote their entire training regime to that particular sport. This concept is indeed unfortunate to many athletes in the sense that skills associated with one sport may compliment the skills associated with and demanded by an entirely different sport.
    No stronger correlation exists between that of football and wrestling. Far too often the football player can be found in the weight room concentrating on developing upper body strength through such exercises as curls, bench presses, etc., after the completion of the regular season. Now obviously, weight training conducted in the proper manner serves as an excellent supplement to any training program. Unfortunately, however, in many cases the athlete who is constantly "pumping iron" may be the same athlete who is neglecting such developmental areas as agility, reaction time, flexibility, balance awareness and cardiovascular endurance.
    The sport of wrestling, therefore, can be of particular value to football players. Wrestling not only provides a more qualified football candidate, but it also gives him a unique kind of training he can receive nowhere else.
    The following nine reasons should be considered by football candidates in regards to why they should participate in wrestling. (particularly in the high school level):
    1. Wrestling helps eliminate fear of harsh body contact.
    2. Wrestling maintains muscle flow and supple pliability.
    3. Wrestling teaches the athlete to roll with a fall and avoid injury.
    4. Wrestling will help the athlete in the development of timing.
    5. Wrestling will aid in the development of coordination.
    6. Wrestling will improve one's sense of balance.
    7. Wrestling will provide flexibility and stretching of the muscles for bulky linemen as well as lean running backs.
    8. Wrestling serves as an excellent cardiovascular endurance training program during the "off season" (this aspect is often neglected by the football players who feel that power lifting is the cure for all problems). As one great Olympic weight lifter once said, "It does me absolutely no good whatsoever if I have a million dollar body with a ten cent heart." This could be one of the reasons why every football season it is not uncommon to hear of players passing out and dying during pre-season workouts. Certainly it gives one something to think about and raises many questions in the area of cardiovascular conditioning required for football.
    9. Wrestling starts the athlete thinking about moves to counter his adversary.
    Now granted, wrestling is not the solution to all conditioning and training problems, but it comes pretty close. Certainly it is an alternative which should be considered by the high school football player who is too short for or has no desire to play basketball and is seeking a way to add to his weight training program in a way that will in turn assist him in the development of skills associated with football. Success in wrestling is dependent primarily upon strength, agility and endurance, in addition to knowledge of the correct techniques. If a person is strong and agile, it is likely that he can develop into an excellent wrestler. In addition to the physical benefits one will experience through wrestling are the “side effects" that also develop within wrestlers. Such characteristics as self- discipline, nutrition awareness and self confidence. This is valuable training that is found in wrestling perhaps more than any other sport. So, football players, after you play your last game of the season, when you’re on your way to the weight room, don't pass by the wrestling room too quickly, as you may also be passing by a great opportunity to develop valuable skills used in football.

    From the Gridiron to the Wrestling Mat; Wrestling is Training for Life
    Ted Witulski/USA Wrestling

    As the high school football season winds down the feelings inside most high school wrestling coaches turn to the anticipation of the upcoming season. Unfortunately, many wrestling teams at the high school level struggle for establishment. Coaches are faced with reality. To field a solid wrestling team requires 14 athletes from the mighty 103 pounder to the massive 285 pound heavyweight. Barely a wrestling coach in the country would fight against having one more body in the practice room. But, the football team in most high schools looks like a ripe orchard of prospective wrestlers to that same coach. The question is though, "how can I get those football players to come out for wrestling?"

    In comparing the two sports the transition from football to wrestling should be a natural move for high school athletes. However, the lack of knowledge and true understanding of the sport of wrestling can be an obvious barrier for many youth. The kids in American society are more apt to know about Kurt Angle's for-show struggles in the WWF, then his epic battle to win the gold-medal in freestyle wrestling in the Olympics. If a coach wants to get football players to move from the gridiron to the wrestling mat, they need to breakdown just how closely the skills of wrestling can translate to success on the football field.

    Of course, when a coach is trying to convince football players to take a shot at wrestling one of the common myths is that they'll have to lose weight. Kids who haven't wrestled will often have heard horror stories of wrestling weight cutting. Essentially, the coach should make it clear that cutting weight is not necessary. The message from the coach should be the opposite. The goal should be to make football players and wrestlers in general bigger in size, stronger in body, and stronger in mind. Wrestling's purpose is to build the stature of its competitors. To do that a participant does not need to cut weight.

    Once a coach has the ear of the football team, and assures the players that wrestling is not about cutting weight, then the coach can begin to educate athletes about the skills that translate between sports. Coaches can wow high school students with names of numerous football players who improved their abilities and refined their toughness by training on a wrestling mat.

    But, the deeper message to the kids should be wrestling requires total body control deepening skills that can be used in a variety of sports. Not a group of muscles in the body is overlooked. When a competitor steps on to the mat he/she takes responsibility for the development and coordination of every square inch of their body. Make yourself a wrestler and you'll learn skills and thinking that will boost your performance in every challenge-both physical and mental-that you undertake in life. Wrestling is training for life and we want you to be a part of it!

    When a wrestling coach takes a look at every position played on the football field, skills that are important on the wrestling mat leap off of the gridiron. If a football player is serious about working their way to greatness, enlighten them about the skills that the wrestling experience can help them with.

    Running backs have a storied history of a wrestling connection. For example, before Ricky Williams won the Heisman Trophy for the Longhorns of Texas, he battled World Champion Stephen Neal on the Wrestling mat. Surely the skills of wrestling played a part of his football success.

    Envision a running back trying to blow through the line of scrimmage. The explosiveness in the legs, the jukes and fakes, the stiff arm, the body control, and the balance carry the runner for yards after contact to the end zone.

    Then, transfer all of those skills on to the wrestling mat. For example a wrestler's shot when done correctly is a coiled spring exploding through an opponent, done chiefly with the legs. Undoubtedly a picture of Cary Kolat's powerful legs would be enough to convince most people that wrestling can build power.

    The jukes and fakes meant to leave a tackler in the dust are very closely associated to the same level changes, and motion meant to take an opponent out of position. Speed is an asset in wrestling and football. A season on the mat will make any participant quicker and more explosive.

    A running back carries the ball with tucked tightly to his body. Carelessness or a weak grip often results in a fumble. Daily in wrestling, competitors build a powerful grip. The farmer grip forearms are essential for a wrestler to find success on the mat. Dan Hodge a famed wrestler from Oklahoma often surprised fans at wrestling tournaments by squeezing an under-ripe apple into mush with one hand. If he was a running back surely he would've had a solid grip on the pigskin.

    Finally in a running back frame of mind the ability to maintain your feet and shed a tackle are amazingly similar to wrestler's ability to downblock or crossblock. Kevin Jackson, National Freestyle Coach for USA Wrestling often shows wrestlers how to extend one leg back and off the ground and drop a hand to the mat while leaning his chest forward towards the mat. Commonly before a football game running backs warm-up practicing the exact same skill only while holding a football and switching it from arm to arm. Fighting off a tackle is done every day in wrestling; wrestlers just call it defending a takedown.

    Go to the other side of the ball, and generally regarded as the fiercest player on the gridiron is the linebacker. The player that sheds off lineman-finds the ball-and lays out big hits has a reason to step on the mat as well. Ray Lewis, All-Pro Linebacker in the NFL often credits wrestling for heightening the toughness needed to be a great linebacker.

    The skills are obvious again, the ability to fight with your hands is seen in linebacking as in wrestling. The quick pursuit mirrors that of a lightning fast shot. And finally, if a linebacker truly loves hard-nosed contact, then of course he'd want to test his ferocity on the wrestling mat.

    Olympic Champion Brandon Slay's ability to drop his hips and blow through his opponent resembles the powerful football tackles that he perfected playing under the lights in the football-crazed state of Texas. His shot often resembled a freight train compared to a methodical step-by-step technique. If a linebacker wants to improve his toughness wrestling will bring out the best-or is it the worst-in him.

    Often offensive linemen are overlooked for the intelligence and precision required to complete their assignments. To make a play spring clear for big yardage takes the efforts of the group exploding out of their stances down in the trenches. Mentally a lineman has to assess the defense and make the proper reads. Gap or seam, linebacker or double team and what was that snap count again?

    The quarterbacks call cues the explosion, and the o-lineman takes the precise steps called from his read of the defense and powerfully makes contact driving into the defender. That's what is going through the offensive lineman's head, but it is remarkable how many of those skills wrestling could help refine in a lineman turned winter-wrestler.

    Football coaches are often frustrated and stymied by an Adonis of a lineman that it is mental mush. "He just can't learn his plays or get to the right spot", might be a football coaches assessment of the lineman that should be better than he's showing.

    However, if that lineman tests himself in wrestling he'll learn the abilities to assess and attack during his wrestling campaign. Athletes on the mat develop "mat-awarenes", that really is the ability to recognize and remember the actions needed to attack or counter from a specific position. A wrestling scramble is a live-rubik's-cube, requiring quick perception and adjustment in a close contact setting. Neither sport should be overlooked for the thoughtfulness it requires.

    Once the snap is taken a lineman's footwork is supposed to have precision to attack a proper angle. Similarly the shooting and defensive skills in wrestling develop precise footwork and the focus of attacking at the right angle. Once an athlete learns where to put his feet, speed is the next essential element. Speed, strength, and explosiveness are constantly called upon on the wrestling mat. A high school football coach should want his linemen to work daily on these skills. There is no better place to get training for the next football campaign for an offensive lineman then challenging himself on the wrestling mat.

    Whether the player is a massive lineman or speedy d-back there are skills on the gridiron that can be improved by participating in wrestling. Seeing and relating the daily development of those skills is a good way to recruit more kids to wrestling.

    Wrestling coaches often ask football players to try out wrestling. A similar reply is often forthcoming, "I'm going to lift to get big for football" is the all-to-familiar response. Coaches know that there are many more skills needed in football to be successful than just raw power. Every football player has a variety of skills that they need to refine in order to be a top rated player. The agility, the level change, the motion from a powerful stance, the assessment skills, and fierceness in close contact are just a few of the transferable skills from the wrestling mat to the football field. A player that just wants to focus on getting stronger will unwittingly overlook all of the other skills needed to excel for the next season.

    A coach who can breakdown football skills and note how they are used in wrestling has a better chance at gaining access to more potential wrestlers. If a player wants to refine his skills so that they are more successful on the football field, then by all means encourage them to take it to the mat.

    Instead of proffering wrestling as an intimidating sport, coaches should encourage prospective participants to view wrestling as an essential key to greater physical and mental development. The skills transfer perfectly between the sports and most wrestling coaches already know that wrestling can be a positive life altering experience. Good luck in bringing more athletes into the wrestling community. After all, wrestling is training for life.
    Atrophy: what you get when you win atournament.

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