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High School Numbers Down AGAIN


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#1 gowrestle

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 01:09 PM

30,000 down since 2011

6000 down since last year

What can be done?

#2 TobusRex

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:00 PM

Nothing. Face the facts: most kids are lazy slobs and would rather spend a couple hours a day playing FarCry than working their butts off in a stinky 100 degree wrestling room.

 

Look at the bright side. In 25 or 30 years the only guys in this country that will know how to wrestle will be the old timers. We'll be able to kick the crap out of the youngsters with impunity using our lost art.


Edited by TobusRex, 11 August 2017 - 02:13 PM.

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#3 BigTenFanboy

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:02 PM

There needs to be top level HS varsity quality coaches at the middle school level. The coaches need to be visible within their school building and needs to be well liked by the student body. It helps if they're also the middle school football or soccer coach as they can recommend and encourage the first time middle school athletes to give wrestling a try. Youth clubs are always going to cater to the elite and are already highly trained. The middle school level needs to be more recreation/participation based allowing the kid to gradually fall in love with the sport. Growing the sport from within middle schools will expose kids that aren't even aware the sport exists. Coaches need to cast a big net and encourage every kid possible. Once middle school numbers increase, it will trickle up into the high school numbers. The truth of the matter is the most difficult part of all this is finding the middle school coaches. Often times people typically want to coach at the high school level and feel coaching at the middle school level is beneath them. It really does take a village mindset to build a solid program but what you'll find is kids and parents who knew nothing about wrestling start loving the sport.
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#4 gowrestle

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 05:27 PM

There needs to be top level HS varsity quality coaches at the middle school level. The coaches need to be visible within their school building and needs to be well liked by the student body. It helps if they're also the middle school football or soccer coach as they can recommend and encourage the first time middle school athletes to give wrestling a try. Youth clubs are always going to cater to the elite and are already highly trained. The middle school level needs to be more recreation/participation based allowing the kid to gradually fall in love with the sport. Growing the sport from within middle schools will expose kids that aren't even aware the sport exists. Coaches need to cast a big net and encourage every kid possible. Once middle school numbers increase, it will trickle up into the high school numbers. The truth of the matter is the most difficult part of all this is finding the middle school coaches. Often times people typically want to coach at the high school level and feel coaching at the middle school level is beneath them. It really does take a village mindset to build a solid program but what you'll find is kids and parents who knew nothing about wrestling start loving the sport.


Well said...

#5 stp

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 06:51 PM

30,000 down since 2011

6000 down since last year

What can be done?

Add more divisions so everyone gets a participation medal.


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#6 matts1w

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:08 PM

The every Saturday from 6 Am to 9 Pm marathons are killing the sport.  Kids, parents, and fans dont want to sit in a gym every Saturday for months on end.  Bring back the dual meet.


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#7 patmilkovich

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 10:18 PM

Wrote an article on "interest killers" over a year ago...you folks are finally catching on.  

 

Length of Tournaments - Year Round Wrestling - Diminished Emphasis on Dual Meet Rivalries - Hard to Understand/Follow the Rules - Too Much Wrestling - Negative Perception of Weight Cutting...to name a few sub-titles.


Edited by patmilkovich, 12 August 2017 - 08:14 AM.

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#8 gowrestle

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:00 AM

Wrote an article on "interest killers" over a year ago...you folks are finally catching.

Length of Tournaments - Year Round Wrestling - Diminished Emphasis on Dual Meet Rivalries - Hard to Understand/Follow the Rules - Too Much Wrestling - Negative Perception of Weight Cutting...to name a few sub-titles.


Absolutely agree and I will add keeping headgear on. Cauliflower ear is up there with weight cutting.
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#9 BigTenFanboy

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:06 AM

I once attended an individual tournament that had 24 teams and was ran on 3 mats over 2 days. Wrestled first match at 9am and second match at 830 pm. Sitting in that gym for almost 12 hours between matches was a nightmare.

#10 JasonBryant

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:18 AM

Let's also look at the number of high school coaches who aren't teaching in the school or the school system. There's something about having someone recruit you out of a classroom or hallway. We've seen success stories countless times where the science teacher/wrestling coach saw a kid who needed an outlet and got them into wrestling. 

 

All we need is two new kids per program per year to set all-time highs, folks. 

 

What happened to the teacher/coach? Is it a by-product of the helicopter parents, soft kids, budget, coaches coming through not wanting to work as hard as their coaches did? 

 

A big part of athlete recruitment and retention, to me, is having a coach IN the school. There are plenty of examples of successful programs where the coach isn't in the school or the school system, but my own eyes have seen better numbers when there's someone walking the halls. 


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#11 BigTenFanboy

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:43 AM

Let's also look at the number of high school coaches who aren't teaching in the school or the school system. There's something about having someone recruit you out of a classroom or hallway. We've seen success stories countless times where the science teacher/wrestling coach saw a kid who needed an outlet and got them into wrestling.

All we need is two new kids per program per year to set all-time highs, folks.

What happened to the teacher/coach? Is it a by-product of the helicopter parents, soft kids, budget, coaches coming through not wanting to work as hard as their coaches did?

A big part of athlete recruitment and retention, to me, is having a coach IN the school. There are plenty of examples of successful programs where the coach isn't in the school or the school system, but my own eyes have seen better numbers when there's someone walking the halls.

Agreed. Unfortunately teaching and coaching is becoming harder and harder due to lack of funding/crappy teacher salaries, overbearing administration and having to deal with those helicopter parents. They say that most new teachers quit and leave the profession within the first 5 years of teaching. Furthermore, 30 years ago if a kid misbehave or did poorly in class the kid would be punished. Today the teacher is the one that gets punished. The truth of the matter is it's a very difficult job that is garnering less and less respect with more and more restrictions and requirements with crappy pay.

So you ask where did the teacher/coach go? They quit teaching and got a better paying job where they get treated better.

Edited by BigTenFanboy, 12 August 2017 - 05:46 AM.

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#12 tec87

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 06:44 AM

Agreed. Unfortunately teaching and coaching is becoming harder and harder due to lack of funding/crappy teacher salaries, overbearing administration and having to deal with those helicopter parents. They say that most new teachers quit and leave the profession within the first 5 years of teaching. Furthermore, 30 years ago if a kid misbehave or did poorly in class the kid would be punished. Today the teacher is the one that gets punished. The truth of the matter is it's a very difficult job that is garnering less and less respect with more and more restrictions and requirements with crappy pay.

So you ask where did the teacher/coach go? They quit teaching and got a better paying job where they get treated better.

sadly this is pretty accurate. I was a teacher for two years and was the assistant high school wresting coach and head middle school coach and when I got laid off from decreased enrollment in the district, I looked for a teaching position for a year but moved on. Terrible behavior of kids in school and a lack of supportive parents at home are driving a lot of new teachers out of the profession. I still miss it from time to time and miss coaching but I've now got a job where I'm answering phones all day and sadly making more than I did as a teacher and with a lot less stress. You don't get into teaching for a big paycheck but when you have to put up with everything you have to do as a teacher, it would be nice to get a decent salary.


On to some of the other points, JB is right about the decrease in teacher/coaches. Where I was at teaching, the head coach was also a teacher so we were constantly trying to talk kids into coming out for wrestling. I taught at Casey Cunningham's old school and everyone thought they could be basketball players there so we'd try and snag the short kids to get them to fill out the smaller weights and be like, "hey, look at what you can do as a wrestler! Look at this guy here and what he did and look at what his brother did." What also hurts is if you have schools that have football programs where the coaches aren't supportive of wrestling for some ungodly reason. We always tried getting more football players but "nope I've gotta do winter weight lifting." Hey football coaches, if you strongly suggest your players wrestle in the offseason, uh it's really going to benefit you a lot!
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#13 BigTenFanboy

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 08:59 AM

Agreed... no one goes into teaching for the money. They typically go into it for altruistic reasons, ie personal satisfaction of helping people and making an impact, but when that personal satisfaction is taken away by unappreciative students/helicopter parents, a condescending administration, and an adversarial political opinion, it's no surprise no one wants to be a teacher.
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#14 paboom

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 12:24 PM

I think we need a self appointed blue ribbon panel of 60-70 year olds from the mid west get together to discuss this.

Oh wait.....

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#15 CTMopar

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 12:58 PM

Show me one school district nation wide with a "Help Wanted" sign for a teacher...They typically go that route because they have student debt and can't get a real job!!!

 

Agreed... no one goes into teaching for the money. They typically go into it for altruistic reasons, ie personal satisfaction of helping people and making an impact, but when that personal satisfaction is taken away by unappreciative students/helicopter parents, a condescending administration, and an adversarial political opinion, it's no surprise no one wants to be a teacher.


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#16 superbowlhomeboy

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 01:10 PM

Show me one school district nation wide with a "Help Wanted" sign for a teacher...They typically go that route because they have student debt and can't get a real job!!!


My school starts Monday and we still have several positions that are yet to be filled. Neighboring schools have yet to fill a few as well. Huge difference from five years ago. The word is out - teaching in the 21st century sucks.

Edited by superbowlhomeboy, 12 August 2017 - 01:10 PM.

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#17 BigTenFanboy

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 01:17 PM

Show me one school district nation wide with a "Help Wanted" sign for a teacher...They typically go that route because they have student debt and can't get a real job!!!


Hence my point. Many people look at teachers and don't view the work they do as a "real job"

#18 patmilkovich

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:25 PM

Having a coach in the school helps to recruit and establish rapport with other sports coaches who might otherwise not share their athletes, but they will have no impact on many of the "interest killers." It won't matter who's in the school or who's coaching because: Tournaments are still going to be all day affairs nearly every weekend,  weight cutting will still be worrisome, kids will still be encouraged to wrestle year-round (and commit to only wrestling), there's still going to be cauliflower ear, they'll still wrestle too much (50-60 or more matches a season), and the rules will still be like trying to decipher the 2000 pages of Obamacare for many folks...it's too much effort and too much time for most parents/kids.  I'll be interested to see how concussion's/head injuries in football becomes an interest killer.


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#19 MadMardigain

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 11:28 PM

Single sport specialization and HS coaches pushing for more of the athletes time isn't helping the cause much either. It's definitely pulling some away from the sport and I mostly see it with potential wrestlers that in years past we would have got to at least try the sport during MS and HS.

We used to see a lot more two and three sport athletes all over the school. Now it's a rare sight. A lot of the kids are specializing in one sport by the time they walk into HS. It used common to get a few more guys out for the wrestling team just for something to do during the off season and next thing you know they liked it. Now many those guys are doing more for their own sport year round which either conflicts with wrestling season or that is their only few months off of anything a year. Finding schools that push multiple sport athletes is a major advantage for all the sports at those schools.

We used to see more football coaches pushing younger athletes to join wrestling and learn some skills to help them on the field for next season. However now many of the football coaches are putting pressure on these guys to get in the weight room or to off season practices so much that they are almost deterring those athletes from trying the sport. The coach may not say don't do wrestling but if you also don't tell them it's and option and instead tell them they need to do XYZ in the off season to start then it's basically the same thing. The kids only get so much down time a year so if XYZ is taking must of that up wrestling is either intercepting with XYZ or it's their only down time from it. Finding football coaches that can work with the wrestling staff is a huge advantage at those schools.

Edited by MadMardigain, 12 August 2017 - 11:34 PM.

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#20 AnklePicker

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 11:48 PM

Let's look a bit more closely at your "interest killers."

In NJ where I coach most youth tournaments these days are split sessions. Tots, bantams, midgets in the morning, juniors and intermediates in the afternoon. Are they still long especially in high school? Sure, but it's the nature of the beast and it's ALWAYS been that way.

Weight cutting is still worrisome but at the high school level especially they've put in place a weight certification process that is pretty effective. Weight cutting is DEFINITELY not as extreme as it used to be.

Wrestling year round isn't exclusive to wrestling. It's happened to ALL sports. It's even worse in soccer and baseball. Also I might add the best wrestlers in the country nearly all wrestle more than just the regular season.

Cauliflower ear is hardly a major problem for the sport. If it were the NCAA wouldn't have considered doing away with it.

In NJ we have match limits. I would agree that some states wrestle WAY too many matches but I don't think it's a sport killer.

The rules have ALWAYS been difficult to explain to a non wrestler or fan. That's not what's causing the decline.

I agree it comes down to coaching. I think we lose a TON of kids at the youngest level which we call tots in NJ because we have a majority of coaches who don't know what they are doing and think you need to be a hard azz to be a good coach. We need better opportunities to train coaches not just in the techniques of the sport but in the growth mindset of the sport. Ways for them to make it an enjoyable experience that kids won't fade away from. Yes sitting for half a day kind of stinks but if your kid is telling you how much they love it parents will sacrifice.

My HS team gave up 4 forfeits when I started. I busted my butt, took over the middle school team as well for two years and low and behold we saw success and our numbers grew. Our stands went from crickets to filled and we consistently get 30-35 kids out for the team and we are group 1 the smallest in the state. Athletes come and go but the coaches remain and are either program builders or killers.


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