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Coaches Wrestling Their Wrestlers

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Wrestling is the only sport when coaches scrimmage against their athletes in practice. Belichick doesn't spend practice doing drills with his players, he instructs and analyzes.

 

I understand that wrestlers have the psychological need to prove to their athletes that they are tough. But at the end, this use of the body breaks down joints and leads many to become somewhat disabled. Look at Gable. Guy can hardly move.

 

Is coaches wrestling with their kids a good thing?

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Yeah, coaches wrestling their kids is a VERY good thing. Maybe not for the coach, physically, but it's great for developing the wrestlers. That said, little guys should stick to little guys. Gable shouldn't be out there trying to wrestle 157/165 pounders like he used to do in practice. That's why he's messed up now, imo.

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i've heard good arguments on both sides, by outstanding coaches on each.

 

billy martin sr. and i used to chat about this, and he emphasized that he NEVER got down on the mat with his wrestlers, and that he did his coaching from a chair.  the man was a legendary coach, obviously.  i was in my 20s when he told me this, and still was in great shape with the exception of a couple herniated discs in my neck.  i continued to roll with kids for years (neck permitting, it was always touchy).  a decade later coached with one of coach martin's wrestlers from granby, also unsurprisingly a great coach.  he stood by his mentor's teaching on the issue, and never put his hands on a wrestler except to demonstrate.  he explained how decades before he used to, and believes he broke his young wrestler's confidence in doing so.  he didn't want his wrestlers to get used to be being bested, i suspect.

 

anyway, i still sometimes roll with some kids, and still comtemplate the give-and-take of hands-on modelling good technique, mat sense, and attitude.  i try to be a hill that i'm teaching my wrestler to climb.  i let them get the score, when they EARN it.  i'm never giving them my best, or even half.  i'm giving them a benchmark they need to reach that day, and the next day it moves.  i want them to be repeating the process of pursuing (and accomplishing) ever greater, ever more elusive, success.  but i'm also a little haunted by their admonition not to break a younger wrestler's spirit.

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Wasn't there just something about one of the Brands Bros tossing Marinelli around pretty badly? If the coach is still physically capable, then it's a great thing to roll with his guys. They have so much knowledge that is best shared through live practice. 

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Wasn't there just something about one of the Brands Bros tossing Marinelli around pretty badly? If the coach is still physically capable, then it's a great thing to roll with his guys. They have so much knowledge that is best shared through live practice. 

 

If Marinelli is getting tossed around "badly" in practice by little squirts like the Brands brothers, then that doesn't say much for his potential at 165.

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If Marinelli is getting tossed around "badly" in practice by little squirts like the Brands brothers, then that doesn't say much for his potential at 165.

 

A freshman vs a Oly Gold Medalist? Plus there's probably only 20-25lbs between them. I don't think it's that bad. 

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A freshman vs a Oly Gold Medalist? Plus there's probably only 20-25lbs between them. I don't think it's that bad.

 

Technique can only go so far. We have weight classes for a reason. Granted, the Brands boys aren't the typical straw armed runts, but they ARE runts :D

Edited by TobusRex

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Wrestling is the only sport when coaches scrimmage against their athletes in practice. Belichick doesn't spend practice doing drills with his players, he instructs and analyzes.

 

I understand that wrestlers have the psychological need to prove to their athletes that they are tough. But at the end, this use of the body breaks down joints and leads many to become somewhat disabled. Look at Gable. Guy can hardly move.

 

Is coaches wrestling with their kids a good thing?

 

I say yes as long as they remember they are coaches first and work out partners second.  i.e. they have to be able to put their ego aside and focus on making the wrestler better, not personally winning every match.  I also think some guys keep trying to go live way past the time that they should.  At some point that's what you have assistants for.

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Technique can only go so far. We have weight classes for a reason. Granted, the Brands boys aren't the typical straw armed runts, but they ARE runts :D

But who's to say what time during practice Brands started "throwing" him around. If he was looking tired and gassing in practice, I wouldn't be surprised that a fresh Brands jumped in there unloading on the tired kid to push him and make him work thru the exhaustion. I'd also bet that it was a short go they did, not some 10-20 min grind match.

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Basketball coaches and their staff members often drill and game with the players. But basketball is a soft sport, haha.

 

Either way, I figured coaches scrimmage live with players mostly because they love the sport, and not so much to prove a point.

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A freshman vs a Oly Gold Medalist? Plus there's probably only 20-25lbs between them. I don't think it's that bad. 

A former Olympic gold medalist.  It's not like Tom and Terry are in their physical primes and still competing on the senior circuit.

 

I guess some footage that you could see from way back was when Tom was beating down Cliff Moore in the IOWA room during that ESPN documentary.  That would be more like Tom and Terry in their physical primes.

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i've heard good arguments on both sides, by outstanding coaches on each.

 

billy martin sr. and i used to chat about this, and he emphasized that he NEVER got down on the mat with his wrestlers, and that he did his coaching from a chair.  the man was a legendary coach, obviously.  i was in my 20s when he told me this, and still was in great shape with the exception of a couple herniated discs in my neck.  i continued to roll with kids for years (neck permitting, it was always touchy).  a decade later coached with one of coach martin's wrestlers from granby, also unsurprisingly a great coach.  he stood by his mentor's teaching on the issue, and never put his hands on a wrestler except to demonstrate.  he explained how decades before he used to, and believes he broke his young wrestler's confidence in doing so.  he didn't want his wrestlers to get used to be being bested, i suspect.

 

anyway, i still sometimes roll with some kids, and still comtemplate the give-and-take of hands-on modelling good technique, mat sense, and attitude.  i try to be a hill that i'm teaching my wrestler to climb.  i let them get the score, when they EARN it.  i'm never giving them my best, or even half.  i'm giving them a benchmark they need to reach that day, and the next day it moves.  i want them to be repeating the process of pursuing (and accomplishing) ever greater, ever more elusive, success.  but i'm also a little haunted by their admonition not to break a younger wrestler's spirit.

I know Steve Martin was pretty hands on his younger days. Recall him talking abut being able to run through the whole GB team when he was coaching there early on. and stuff from the wrestlers about how if Steve had his mouthpiece, they knew it was going to be a rough day. Same blood, different coaching mentalities. Course Steve had the Iowa influence in addition to his father's.    

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on the concept of coaches wrestling with the kid and 'not breaking the spirit' I think it also comes down to knowing what a kid needs and coaching them accordingly. now breaking the spirit should never be the goal, but maybe you have a kid who thinks he's hot stuff and needs to get knocked down a peg. or a kid who is really good and needs someone in the room who can actually go with him, and maybe the only one who can is the coach. in those cases coach wrestles at or closer to 100%. 

 

not exactly the same, but in HS soph year I was 105. we had a 145 who would win states that year and a 138 who would place 2nd. in the rare times I'd be live wrestling with these guys, the 138 would wrestle me more like a coach, or like he was doing hard drilling.....if I hit something cleanly he'd let me get it, or almost let me get stuff and then he'd get creative with how to counter stuff. A win / win if you will. The 145 would just maul me, beat my head into the mat, every thing was 100% all the time for him. I guess it toughened me up to some extent, but I enjoyed the 138's approach a little more lol. 

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"It Depends" is almost a cop out even as it does depend on the coach and how he handles it.

I know Gable's wrestlers too pride in having wrestled The Master. Gable's habit of pushing stamina and going for a half hour and more on the mat with some of his better guys added to their confidence and we watched the results.

 

If you have a Coach who was a world class competitor or Champion many wrestlers would consider it a great perk to go with him on the mat. Learning from a coach like this in 'goes' rather than just walk throughs would help in seeing where they need to push for improvement. Also gives the experience of hitting a guy who is definitely better than they are - an experience many will face during their career. Knowing the coach is wrestling to teach rather than an ego thing is something I believe is important. The coach is teaching, hands on and not trying to best the kid. A lot like having more experienced wrestlers in the room, it helps.

 

Nothing wrong with a coach who doesn't go with his wrestlers. It is their choice. Given a choice I would rather have a coach who goes on the mat at least some of the time.

 

 

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Depends on the coach and athlete, but for the cream of the crop NCAA guys with elite coaches still near their prime I think its of huge benefit. Depending on weight classes and school situation these wrestlers may not have training partners that are able to challenge them the way they need to be challenged to reach their full potential.

I think its a well known and accepted mantra in our sport that iron sharpens iron.

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I have some strong feelings about this issue. What good does it do a kid to be beat up or ridden for an hour by his coach? I've seen some  coaches do that. Also, if the kid beats the coach, does the kid lose respect? I had that happen to me with a potential state champion when I was coaching high school kids. He beat me once and changed his attitude. He lost respect and was cocky. From that moment on, I beat him up so badly that he totally lost his confidence and didn't even place. I'm mad at myself for possibly costing him a state championship, but I was young and was not going to let a high school kid think he could beat me --ego.

My college coach beat up a fantastic / cocky wrestler for a year and the kid didn't place his junior year. The next year, the coach let the kid "win" -- and the kid won the NCAA's, clobbering his opponent in the finals. The kid was actually the best wrestler at the NCAA's that year. To this day, 50 years later, that "kid" believes he beat his coach his entire senior year. 

The coach I'm talking about was Doug Blubaugh, IMO the greatest college coach ever. I told Doug that I would never say I beat him -- but that if I did the move right, let me have it!! Teach me -- don't beat me up. That was one of the best / smartest things I ever did. I can say it now that Doug has passed -- I took Doug down hundreds of times! (And there was nothing he could do about it! :-)

DA

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on the concept of coaches wrestling with the kid and 'not breaking the spirit' I think it also comes down to knowing what a kid needs and coaching them accordingly. now breaking the spirit should never be the goal, but maybe you have a kid who thinks he's hot stuff and needs to get knocked down a peg. or a kid who is really good and needs someone in the room who can actually go with him, and maybe the only one who can is the coach. in those cases coach wrestles at or closer to 100%. 

 

not exactly the same, but in HS soph year I was 105. we had a 145 who would win states that year and a 138 who would place 2nd. in the rare times I'd be live wrestling with these guys, the 138 would wrestle me more like a coach, or like he was doing hard drilling.....if I hit something cleanly he'd let me get it, or almost let me get stuff and then he'd get creative with how to counter stuff. A win / win if you will. The 145 would just maul me, beat my head into the mat, every thing was 100% all the time for him. I guess it toughened me up to some extent, but I enjoyed the 138's approach a little more lol. 

 

Which one of them was M Murray??

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Which one of them was M Murray??

bet you can tell from how I described it and if you can't, here's a hint: M Murray also gave me a concussion in a 'non contact' pass coverage drill the year before at jv football practice. 

 

good times and still good friends....

Edited by KTG119

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bet you can tell from how I described it and if you can't, here's a hint: M Murray also gave me a concussion in a 'non contact' pass coverage drill the year before at jv football practice. 

 

That's hilarious.  He and I had once had a late evening, upper body, grudge match on the streets of Lexington.  I think a few adult beverages were involved. 

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