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gowrestle

High School Numbers Down AGAIN

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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

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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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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...

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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

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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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

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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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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

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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.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I thought the storyline from about five years ago was that FloWrestling was creating interest outside of the sport and that the numbers were going to explode as a result.

 

Without reading beyond the original post, I'm going to surmise that a good portion of it is that young men in most states who don't start wrestling before high school are smart enough to see the landscape of the demand for junior high results and feel that they just can't catch up in those four short years. With that happening, maybe they wrestle for a year or two, but then they choose something else to fill their time. If you're not "elite" by eighth grade, kids can understand that and seek other options out there.

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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.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

You are 100% correct regarding your opinion of coaches. No doubt a hard working smart coach builds programs. Unfortunately we can't seem to retain or attract the quality coach (like yourself) that will keep wrestling alive. ---- One thing --- I disagree with your statement on headgear; it is misleading. A committee of coaches who all have cauliflower ears and don't give a darn if their kids get it, recommended to the NCAA that headgear be made optional. When it got to the NCAA level, the recommendation was considered inappropriate. Some at the NCAA level even snickered at the suggestion. I coached in surburban New York and some parents did not sign off to let their kids wrestle because of cauliflower ear. I can't present scientific data but being involved in wrestling since 1967 as a competitor, coach, administrator, parent, and now fan, I can say with certainty cauliflower ear is not good for wrestling!

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The kids that are hallway recruits by teachers/coaches will have very little if any impact on the national scene. There are very few "Miles Lee's" out there. It will however increase the quality of wrestling at the county/league level. That's where IMO the focus needs to be to improve overall numbers and that is where the sport seems to be losing the most of its numbers.

 

Recruiting a kid out of the hallways by telling them, "Hey you can be a state/national champion and get a college scholarship" is not very realistic and could be overwhelming to potential first time wrestlers. It is VERY realistic however to tell them "You can be a league/county champion, you could have a winning record, you will get into incredible shape, you will be a big name in the hallways of this school" which could be very attractive to a lot of kids. The masses don't know or really care about the difference between a Spencer Lee and the "good" wrestler from their local high school. If we're talking about increasing overall participation numbers and interest in the sport, the county/league level is where they're going to make an impact.

Edited by BigTenFanboy

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