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Coaches Wrestling Their Wrestlers

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says the guy who has OBVIOUSLY never been on the mat with real quality "little squirts"

 

I've rolled around with plenty of little guys, including JJ McGrew, John Smith and Kenny Monday.  I'd say those guys qualify as "quality".  JJ has an asterisk though.

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Personally,wrestling with one of our assistant coaches in college helped me tremendously.

 

I was a leg wrestler,pretty much the only one on my college team.

One of our assistant coaches was a master using legs.

Wrestling with him showed me a number of ways to use legs,that you can only "get",by going full speed on the mat.

 

Same thing,I was weak on take downs.

Working with the same assistant I was able to develop a pretty good single leg.

 

This was years ago,my only experience entering college was four years of high school wrestling.

 

That was long before before private wrestling schools/coaches and competing year round.

 

I don't know,given the skill level of kids entering college today,if wrestling with the coaches in college serves as much of a purpose.

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I've rolled around with plenty of little guys, including JJ McGrew, John Smith and Kenny Monday.  I'd say those guys qualify as "quality".  JJ has an asterisk though.

Great... now let us in on how you did with the "little runt" John Smith. Or you could pm me your name and I can ask him myself.

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Great... now let us in on how you did with the "little runt" John Smith. Or you could pm me your name and I can ask him myself.

 

Sure, ask him about the 190 pound walkon his Fr year :D

 

Tell him "Toby" says "hi" :D

 

Here is how it went down. I was a walkon and Tommy Chesbro had no idea who the hell I was.I showed him a newspaper clipping of how i did at state and he laughed and started calling me by the school I went to (Cleveland). Anyway Tommy was willing to let me walk on since I was willing to sign a waiver in case I got hurt, but he wanted to make sure I could actually kinda defend myself. So Tommy turns around and says "John. Yeah, John, come here a minute". And he makes 126 pound John Smith wrestle me. Now understand, I knew who John Smith was. Del City, big school state champion. But he didn't know who the hell I was, lol, So I had a go at John. As I recall he actually shot on me and basically I just spawled on top of him and crushed him like a bug. Funny side affect of that match: the next day when doing laps around the football stadium I came upon John Smith and a couple other of the little guys loafing next to support beam. John motions me to stop. So we had a little conversation. He asked who I was, what I'd done in High School, and such. He seemed unimpressed with my credentials :D He was pretty cool, but I could tell he was annoyed from the day before, lol.

Edited by TobusRex

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Does anyone think that wrestlers going live in practice is a bad idea?

 

If not, how is going live with your coach fundamentally different than going live with a teammate?

 

Sure, there are any number of ways you can do this wrong.  If you're doing it to prove yourself, that's usually not a good idea.  If either the coach or the athlete is being physically broken down, you're definitely doing it wrong.  But if "there's a wrong way to do it" was a good reason not to do things at all, what would we do with our lives?

 

There are parts of this sport which are hard to communicate, but which can be learned by feel.  Most athletes don't have such a wealth of high-quality training partners that ruling out a very experienced opponent without solid reason is wise.  It's not necessary for a coach to wrestle with his athletes, but it can certainly be beneficial.   KTG119 hit the nail on the head:  as with most things, it "comes down to knowing what a kid needs, and coaching them accordingly."

 

Dan Gable, by the way, is a bad example in most cases.  Unless you're planning on abusing your body in all the other ways he did, the comparison isn't relevant.  As far as the Brands brothers go:  it's hard to explain how ridiculously strong they were, even by the standards of elite wrestlers.  Beating up larger college kids in their old age is no surprise at all.

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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.

Flo said they saw it prior to the Iowa - OSU dual I think last season.

 

And no - a former world champ who wrestles every day should be able to beat a high level recruit. That is normal.

 

What do you think Cael does to Nevills in the room?

Edited by Housebuye

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Flo said they saw it prior to the Iowa - OSU dual I think last season.

 

And no - a former world champ who wrestles every day should be able to beat a high level recruit. That is normal.

 

What do you think Cael does to Nevills in the room?

 

I bet Cael doesn't "throw around" Nevills in practice either. If they get on the mat Cael probably slicks some takedowns out of him, maybe even a few cheap tilts or something like that, but I guarantee he's not throwing that big boy around like a rag doll, which is kinda  what I was reading into that Marinelli/Brands comment.  I can't see little fellas dominating a legitimate middleweight threat, not in a brute force kinda way. Now what I could see is the Brands slicking some takedowns with quickness/finesse, but that's different than "tossing around" or "throwing around", in my opinion. When those words are mentioned I just assume a guy is tossing another guy around like a gorilla with a suitcase. Which is a great feeling, lol. Throwing suitcases, I mean.

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I bet Cael doesn't "throw around" Nevills in practice either. If they get on the mat Cael probably slicks some takedowns out of him, maybe even a few cheap tilts or something like that, but I guarantee he's not throwing that big boy around like a rag doll, which is kinda  what I was reading into that Marinelli/Brands comment.  I can't see little fellas dominating a legitimate middleweight threat, not in a brute force kinda way. Now what I could see is the Brands slicking some takedowns with quickness/finesse, but that's different than "tossing around" or "throwing around", in my opinion. When those words are mentioned I just assume a guy is tossing another guy around like a gorilla with a suitcase. Which is a great feeling, lol. Throwing suitcases, I mean.

 

I bet Cael doesn't "throw around" Nevills in practice either. If they get on the mat Cael probably slicks some takedowns out of him, maybe even a few cheap tilts or something like that, but I guarantee he's not throwing that big boy around like a rag doll, which is kinda  what I was reading into that Marinelli/Brands comment.  I can't see little fellas dominating a legitimate middleweight threat, not in a brute force kinda way. Now what I could see is the Brands slicking some takedowns with quickness/finesse, but that's different than "tossing around" or "throwing around", in my opinion. When those words are mentioned I just assume a guy is tossing another guy around like a gorilla with a suitcase. Which is a great feeling, lol. Throwing suitcases, I mean.

kinda like sprawling on Smith ONCE and call that "rolling" with him. Cale I am sure HAMMERS Nevills.

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I just got my first job as a high school coach. The school's legendary football coached stopped by practice and saw me wrestling live with the team's best kid. The next day we had lunch together. He asked me how many wrestlers were on the team. I said 35. His reply," when you were wrestling with XXXX, 34 wrestlers on your team weren't being coached. He was right.

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First off it's absurd this is a topic.

 

Second, coaches break kids spirit in every sport without ever needing to practice with them.  The coaches who are breaking kids' spirits with live wrestling would be breaking the same kids spirits with some other cruel tactic if there was no live wrestling.  Go watch the guy and gal coaching cheerleading recently who were abusing their girls with physically forced splits.  Jerks don't need live wrestling to be jerks.  They find a way no matter what.  Get them away from kids as soon as you recognize it, but live wrestling is not the problem.  

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His reply," when you were wrestling with XXXX, 34 wrestlers on your team weren't being coached. He was right.

 

This is a good point, and you need to be mindful of the room, first and foremost.  That said, I don't think wrestlers need to be coached constantly.  Sometimes, when the athletes are being productive, you just need to let them be.  Live wrestling shouldn't always be structured.

 

Look at this from another angle.  Should coaches run sprints with their wrestlers?  You certainly don't have to, but there's a lot of credibility in it if you can and do.  Even if the athletes understand that you used to do that, seeing you do it sends a powerful message.  If you do it all the time, you probably don't have your coaching hat on enough, but that doesn't mean it's bad to jump in at times.

 

Of course, if you do, the message you should be conveying is, "I'm willing to do what I'm asking you to do," not "Look how much faster I am than you are."  Wrestling with the athletes is similar:  it's not about you.

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First off it's absurd this is a topic.

 

Second, coaches break kids spirit in every sport without ever needing to practice with them.  The coaches who are breaking kids' spirits with live wrestling would be breaking the same kids spirits with some other cruel tactic if there was no live wrestling.  Go watch the guy and gal coaching cheerleading recently who were abusing their girls with physically forced splits.  Jerks don't need live wrestling to be jerks.  They find a way no matter what.  Get them away from kids as soon as you recognize it, but live wrestling is not the problem.  

 

Which is why the coach needs to go differently with different wrestlers. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was wrestling for 8 years and would come into the season at around 205lbs. A coach can go 80-100% with a guy that seasoned and you're not going to break his spirit. But you can't go anywhere near hard with a first year kid, especially if there is a size difference. That's part of being a coach. 

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Which is why the coach needs to go differently with different wrestlers. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was wrestling for 8 years and would come into the season at around 205lbs. A coach can go 80-100% with a guy that seasoned and you're not going to break his spirit. But you can't go anywhere near hard with a first year kid, especially if there is a size difference. That's part of being a coach. 

Absolutely.  My first assistant job I had very good big kids at the HS.  From 160 up were all state qualifiers at the least.  I was about 175 and I got used to going nearly 100% with those kids.  I left that job for my first HC job and my better kids were much smaller kids.  I never went very hard with them by comparison, and right before regionals that year I still almost broke a senior 112 lb kid in half absolutely on accident.  I realized at that point that even half speed live wrestling for me was not appropriate with kids that size.  After that I'd live drill with the little guys but that was it.

 

Of course I also had some very good heavyweights who hurt me plenty of times and were never in danger of the reverse, even if I was 'winning'.  So yes, a real coach is very aware of what is needed and what is appropriate.

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Sorry to go on about this, but it got me thinking.  Upon reflection, I think "Is coaches wrestling with their kids a good thing?" assumes too much.  The prior question should be, "What am I trying to accomplish?"  If you have a clear idea about that, you can ask, "How can I get that done?"

If you find that, "Wrestle with an athlete," isn't a good answer to the second question, don't do it.  That's legitimate.  But it's pretty hard to say that that will never be a good answer for any coach, ever.

If we see (and we will) that some coach was very successful without ever wrestling with his athletes, that tells us it's possible (which it is).  That doesn't answer the question about what I, as a coach, should do, though.  Likewise, the fact that some successful coaches do wrestle with their athletes doesn't prove anything, by itself.  Maybe it's a detriment, but they're good enough to be successful anyway.

When I have a problem to solve, I want tools with which to solve them.  "It can be done without a wrench" is interesting, and good to know, but it doesn't imply, "So don't use a wrench."  If there are disadvantages to using a wrench, that still doesn't mean it's not the best tool for the job.  Interesting problems force you to weigh pros and cons.

I thought about listing things a team can gain from coaches wrestling, but I think the more important point is this mentality.  We don't need coaches following recipes.  We need coaches solving problems.  Saying that wrestling with the athletes is inherently good or bad is unrealistic.  Figure out what needs done, and do it.  Then be honest with yourself about the results.

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This is a good point, and you need to be mindful of the room, first and foremost.  That said, I don't think wrestlers need to be coached constantly.  Sometimes, when the athletes are being productive, you just need to let them be.  Live wrestling shouldn't always be structured.

 

Look at this from another angle.  Should coaches run sprints with their wrestlers?  You certainly don't have to, but there's a lot of credibility in it if you can and do.  Even if the athletes understand that you used to do that, seeing you do it sends a powerful message.  If you do it all the time, you probably don't have your coaching hat on enough, but that doesn't mean it's bad to jump in at times.

 

Of course, if you do, the message you should be conveying is, "I'm willing to do what I'm asking you to do," not "Look how much faster I am than you are."  Wrestling with the athletes is similar:  it's not about you.

 

Since I'm in a posting mood... Ray, intentional or not, you wandered into a question that extends far beyond wrestling, "what is leadership?"  And this is one that the 'opposing' philosophies will never come to agreement, as the discussion has gone on - well, forever.

 

Way, way back, in my days as a Boy Scout, we had a blowhard who was our Scoutmaster.  My dad, with two sons in, put in a lot of time as an Assistant, but didn't need the ego boost of saying 'I'm the boss of a bunch of middle schoolers'.  So one time we're discussing the service projects, and Big Man (he went about 360+lbs) says, "Ideally the project leader brings his lawn chair, he's drinking sodas, he's reading his comics, just keeping an eye on everyone else."  I'm all of 13 and I think, that's the worst definition of leadership I've ever heard.  The project leader should be the hardest working person there; it may not be visible, but he's putting in the effort, putting out fires, being anywhere and everywhere.  And as you said, if it's an all hands situation, they need to know you're not too precious to pick up a broom or a fire hose, whatever the situation calls for.

 

Many years later, I'm in a physician's lounge, and one guy decides to give his philosophy.  He was a military pilot, now an anesthesiologist (big $$$).  And I remember he said "leadership means never do something another person could do.  You ONLY do things that NO ONE else can do."  I very clearly remember he used the word leadership, and I could not disagree more.  If he came in a room with everyone else trying to do ten things and he saw an overflowing sink with water gushing on to the floor, he would not take the time to turn the faucet off - someone else needs to attend to it.  Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but he was very serious that he considered that 'leadership'.  Good for his income, perhaps, I wouldn't label it leadership.

 

On your running example, through the twists of life I found myself a platoon sergeant in the Army Reserves for four and change years a while back.  The CO put out a directive, bring your workout uniform every time, as we will conduct PT for an hour every weekend.  Some wise guys (and gals) figure, if I don't bring my workout clothes, they won't make me exercise.  Think again - you can work out in your regular uniform, belt, heavy blouse, cap, all of it.  And you can run with your boots on, AND - I will stay in my duty uniform and run right beside you.  This is when I could still run two miles in about 12:00, which hugely impressed them, no idea why. Anyway, one of the first times someone tried that, I took them to the running trail (CO let me pick the workout), I did not change into PT clothes, stayed in my uniform and did the workout, including running, with the boots on.  And so did everyone else, in whatever uniform they had.  Needless to say, no one tried that excuse again, unless they were new to the unit.  As you said, I will never ask/order you to do something I am unwilling to do myself.  You shouldn't have to play that card too often, but I personally believe it makes a significant difference when motivating people in your charge.  Lead from the front, not from the rear.

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Since I'm in a posting mood... Ray, intentional or not, you wandered into a question that extends far beyond wrestling, "what is leadership?"

A lot of wrestling questions extend far beyond wrestling. That's one of the things which makes it an interesting sport.

 

So one time we're discussing the service projects, and Big Man (he went about 360+lbs) says, "Ideally the project leader brings his lawn chair, he's drinking sodas, he's reading his comics, just keeping an eye on everyone else."

Sitting around drinking soda and reading comics sounds like a terrible way to spend your life, so I'm not sure why I'd especially want to do that while leading a project.

 

The silliness of this is obvious when you think about looking at it from the outside and forming this conclusion. "How would you like that guy to lead this project?" "Well, I think it would be ideal if he sat in a lawn chair, drank soda, read comics, and kept an eye on everyone." Why would you ever give such an answer?

 

And I remember he said "leadership means never do something another person could do.  You ONLY do things that NO ONE else can do." I very clearly remember he used the word leadership, and I could not disagree more.

Okay, while I don't agree with this one, it's less crazy. Following the principle of charity, I think we can find some good in it.

 

Leave lazy people out of the picture. Here are some mistakes hard-working leaders make:

  • doing it yourself because it's easiest, and gets the job done fastest;
  • doing it yourself because you're better at doing it than anyone else there; and
  • neglecting things no one else can do because you're doing things someone else can do.
The tricky thing about these is, they tend to work in the short term, and they make you feel productive.

 

Here's a common case for #1: a coach looks at a hard-working, respectful kid, and say, "Yeah, that's a leader!" So he makes him a team captain. The athlete is now in charge of making sure the mats are mopped. So, every day the athlete shows up early and mops them himself.

 

Well, the team captain obviously isn't leading, and the team isn't becoming more functional. The coach is at least delegating, but he's not teaching. This system doesn't scale. It's like always cleaning up after your kids: yeah, getting them to do it is an enormous pain, but what does the future look like if you keep doing it yourself?

 

Telling the team captain, "Don't do anything yourself that someone else can do," might actually be an improvement, here. To me, that's like telling an athlete, "always compromise the opponent's position before attacking"; it's actually not a solid universal rule, but it's a pretty good one to steer a novice in the right direction.

 

I used to do #2 a lot. Run every practice, and show all the technique, because I was really into optimizing the process. But on what level is the optimization taking place? When you're doing that, the coaches around you aren't getting better, and there's no way you can change things on a large scale. Similarly, a lot of coaches seem to want to make all the decisions, and have athletes who simply follow instructions.

 

I can't make as good a case for, "never do it yourself" here, but if you trust your people, you probably are going to spend much less time doing what they could do. Falling in love with your own wisdom isn't wise.

 

The last case, though, is where I can take "never do it yourself" seriously. In almost any undertaking, once you reach a certain level of competence, time becomes one of your biggest constraints. If you're competent enough that you should have a significant group of people under you, you're almost certainly in this position. There's always more to be done, and it's easy to wind up working non-stop and wondering why you're not hitting your milestones.

 

Even then, I think there's a case to be made for occasionally stepping in and taking a hand in the routine work, but you have to realize that it's expensive. No matter what you do, there's an opportunity cost: that's time you could have spent doing something else. So if you're going to take time away from doing the things no one else can do, you really need to make it count.

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