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Illifornia

Health of the International Styles in the USA

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Our top level guys are doing great at the World Level and that is awesome. But one thing that is alarming is the relatively small numbers of actual participants in  grade level/age group events. For that matter, National level events can have tiny numbers. In the early/mid 90's it was easy to have 50-100 kids in one weight class at a state tournament. Now, the numbers are usually between 10 to 30. Local tournaments had 300+ total and now are lucky to break 100. 

 

CA has been the #1 producer of Olympic talent over the years. But now, FS and GR Wrestling in Southern California is on life support. Sure there are some great athletes out competing, but its very hard to get people out. A little research will show the same exact thing all over the country. Heck, look at the numbers for Junior Freestyle for the state of ND at Fargo. The National Tournament is in the same town and they can't get people to go!

 

There are plenty of potential explanations such as: most kids do not want to go get their ass kicked if they are not going to win, the coaching pool is declining, so and so governing body is at fault, etc. The thing is though that this needs to be addressed or the only people Wrestling these styles in 20 years will be the 5 best dudes in the country and no one else. And without age group and grassroots participants, there will be no Freestyle and Greco in America. 

 

It is super awesome how great we are doing on the World Level, but I think there is some smoke and mirrors here. "Regional Training Centers" often consist of like 3 dudes who are there just to train with the college kids. We need to invest in the youth and developmental programs.

 

 I am seeing our governing body out here making some very needed changes so that is good. But the truth is youth Wrestling is light years behind up and coming youth sports in terms of professionalism and a branded product. Without pointing fingers and placing blame what are your thoughts on how to move forward and increase participants?

 

 

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One problem we have in Michigan is that the youth Folkstyle tournament is held the last weekend of March and the state FS/GR meets are the third weekend in May; basically, the window for FS/GR is so limited it has little time to gain momentum.

 

I feel the youth Folk state meet should be in the middle of Feb. or the last weekend in Feb. at the latest to give us more time to introduce the Olympic styles and build enthusiasm.

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Our top level guys are doing great at the World Level and that is awesome. But one thing that is alarming is the relatively small numbers of actual participants in grade level/age group events. For that matter, National level events can have tiny numbers. In the early/mid 90's it was easy to have 50-100 kids in one weight class at a state tournament. Now, the numbers are usually between 10 to 30. Local tournaments had 300+ total and now are lucky to break 100.

 

CA has been the #1 producer of Olympic talent over the years. But now, FS and GR Wrestling in Southern California is on life support. Sure there are some great athletes out competing, but its very hard to get people out. A little research will show the same exact thing all over the country. Heck, look at the numbers for Junior Freestyle for the state of ND at Fargo. The National Tournament is in the same town and they can't get people to go!

 

There are plenty of potential explanations such as: most kids do not want to go get their ass kicked if they are not going to win, the coaching pool is declining, so and so governing body is at fault, etc. The thing is though that this needs to be addressed or the only people Wrestling these styles in 20 years will be the 5 best dudes in the country and no one else. And without age group and grassroots participants, there will be no Freestyle and Greco in America.

 

It is super awesome how great we are doing on the World Level, but I think there is some smoke and mirrors here. "Regional Training Centers" often consist of like 3 dudes who are there just to train with the college kids. We need to invest in the youth and developmental programs.

 

I am seeing our governing body out here making some very needed changes so that is good. But the truth is youth Wrestling is light years behind up and coming youth sports in terms of professionalism and a branded product. Without pointing fingers and placing blame what are your thoughts on how to move forward and increase participants?

Blame the family associated with Buchanan and Clovis for the lack of depth in international styles in California. They seem to be changing course this year but they made a conscience decision to track away and a lot of the central valley followed suit.

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Blame the family associated with Buchanan and Clovis for the lack of depth in international styles in California. They seem to be changing course this year but they made a conscience decision to track away and a lot of the central valley followed suit.

Never go against the family

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Blame the family associated with Buchanan and Clovis for the lack of depth in international styles in California. They seem to be changing course this year but they made a conscience decision to track away and a lot of the central valley followed suit.

 

I don't think that any 2 teams or one town has that much effect on things. CA is a huge state. This is a nationwide issue. But, my example of Southern California is to prove a point in that we have a MONSTER population of people and not enough participants.

 

One other problem is the overemphasis on the top kids and not enough emphasis on participants in general. Also, there used to be a much larger "volunteer army" that no longer exists. USA Wrestling needs to understand this and professionalize .

 

Even if you look at the current gold standard states like Illinois who are thriving and have things dialed in, the numbers are probably at most 30-40% of what they were in the 90's. Because of this, less people passing the skills on and helping out. 

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If this isn't the best then kudos to whomever else is.....especially in terms of OLYMPIC MEDALS. My original point is that this will be hard to replicate in the future if participation does not increase.

 

ROBBY SMITH - 2016 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) BORIS NOVACHKOV - 2016 Bulgarian Olympic Team Member (Freestyle) JAKE VARNER â€“ 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist (Freestyle) JESSE RUIZ – 2012 Mexico Olympic Team Member (Freestyle) ADAM WHEELER â€“ 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist (Greco-Roman) MARCIE VAN DUSEN – 2008 Olympic Team Member (Women’s Freestyle) STEPHEN ABAS â€“ 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist (Freestyle) JAMILL KELLEY â€“ 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist (Freestyle) PATRICIA MIRANDA â€“ 2004 Olympic Bronze Medalist (Women’s Freestyle) ERIC GUERRERO – 2004 Olympic Team Member (Freestyle) HEATH SIMS – 2000 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) QUINCY CLARK – 2000 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) TOWNSEND SAUNDERS â€“ 1996 Olympic Silver Medalist (Freestyle) MARCO SANCHEZ – 1996 Puerto Rico Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) DAN HENDERSON – 1992 & 1996 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) TIM VANNI – 1988 & 1992 Olympic Team Member (Freestyle) MARK FULLER – 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) DEAN MANIBOT – 1988 Philippine Olympic Team Member (Freestyle) DAVE SCHULTZ â€“ 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist (Freestyle) MARK SCHULTZ â€“ 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist (Freestyle) GREG GIBSON â€“ 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist (Greco-Roman) JOE GONZALES â€“ 1984 Olympic Team Member (Freestyle) JOHN AZEVEDO – 1980 Olympic Team Member (Freestyle) SERGIO GONZALEZ – 1972 Olympic Team Member (Freestyle) J. ROBINSON – 1972 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) BUCK DEADRICH – 1972 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) JAMES STEIGER – 1972 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) RICHARD TAMBLE – 1968 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) GABE RUZ – 1968 Mexico Olympic Team (Greco-Roman) RUSS CAMILLERI– 1960 & 1964 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) PAT LOVELL – 1964 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) CHARLIE TRIBBLE – 1964 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) BEN NORTHRUP – 1960 Olympic Team Member (Greco-Roman) DICK DELGADO – 1956 Olympic Team Member (Freestyle)

Edited by Illifornia

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having sent kids all over the country for years now, i can say that numbers might be down a little here and there, but, 90% of who shows up has no real business being there... just bracket fillers... that is replicated all the way through seniors... so, i am not convinced lower numbers really mean that much overall... particularly taking into account that we are on the upswing internationally in cadets/juniors/seniors...

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So that is the overall indicator? Because we are on the upswing at the highest levels internationally? 

 

What the hell does "no real business being there" mean? I say anyone who wants to show up and fight has business being there. 

 

The point is these elite guys had to start somewhere, compete in some tournament, and turned on to the sport by someone in the past. If the events are garbage and small, the talent pool will go WAY down.

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not to be that guy, but, perspective is valuable thing... 

 

first, you say CA is the #1 producer of Olympic talent then post some list that shows 10 names across all 3 styles Greco/Free/WF for the last 20 years... 

 

second, claim numbers are way down locally, but, offer no real insight into the landscape nationally...

 

third, claim talent pool is going to go WAY down...

 

actually going to events for years now, i can say the talent pool is not going down at all, but, the level is rising on the pointy end nationally... locally, i see lowered numbers in greco/free tourneys, but, i will counter that the top kids are not typically interested in going to local tourneys and focusing on the national tourneys for the most part... and the sheer number of "National" events have increased every year i have been a part of this sport,so, those are beginning to seem watered down a bit... 

 

plus, add in the ridiculous amount of BS folk tourneys/Duals that have cropped up recently in the summer... i know a HS kid that got over 70 folk matches last summer... that is totally ridiculous and was nowhere near as prevalent even 5 years ago must less 10 or 20...

 

add in all the summer camps being offered everywhere...

 

there are simply an increasingly large number of options for wrestling in the summer... it has an effect... no longer do you have to wrestle a local tourney in may to continue wrestling after the pre-season is over...

 

you want to make a compelling argument, then site some stats about lowered Fargo participation (not just from ND)... i dont get the sense that Fargo is any less attended recently even though the absolute best don't typically go as they are training for Worlds...

 

and to be perfectly honest, outright numbers do not mean much because whether or not you like it, most are just bracket fillers and have no realistic chance to place high... they are an entry fee for the tournament organizer...

 

the overall health of USA wrestling should be determined by world medals at cadet/junior/senior... those have been on the incline regardless of overall participation numbers... 

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I can't really speak for the whole country but can speak some for Florida.

 

For years we had a corrupt state association where tournament fees were used to send officials and state reps all over the world on wrestling trips. After a while, a lot of people figured out that money was getting funneled away from the kids and more towards the adults, so people stopped supporting the organization. Even teams like Brandon, who were notorious for success in the international styles, stopped competing at the state and national events as a result. Thankfully the old regime is out and the new management is doing a better job being transparent. Our current top dog, Lake Highland Prep is just now getting back into the Freestyle scene in Florida. Still events are expensive ($35-$50 per tournament) and the season is very short (5 weeks). In my opinion, lengthening the Olympic Style's season and making events cheaper would draw more bodies at the state level. 

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Yeah you could argue against my points and even probably with some merit. USA Wrestling memberships are at an all time high, etc. 

 

I am a HUGE believer in the International Styles and those who do not participate are generally flawed Wrestlers. 

 

The eye test says to me that the numbers are way down, The refs and support staff numbers are down and the refs, etc. are generally old. 

 

It can never be good to have less of anything. 

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I don't think that any 2 teams or one town has that much effect on things. CA is a huge state. This is a nationwide issue. But, my example of Southern California is to prove a point in that we have a MONSTER population of people and not enough participants.

 

One other problem is the overemphasis on the top kids and not enough emphasis on participants in general. Also, there used to be a much larger "volunteer army" that no longer exists. USA Wrestling needs to understand this and professionalize .

 

Even if you look at the current gold standard states like Illinois who are thriving and have things dialed in, the numbers are probably at most 30-40% of what they were in the 90's. Because of this, less people passing the skills on and helping out.

Sounds to me you are not looking for solutions but already have your mind made up and are just complaining. I've banged my head against that brick wall and it just gave me headaches.

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I hear ya. Maybe I am complaining but it comes out of a genuine concern. Actually currently doing what I can to help and see some embers burning but it’s not enough. We have rescued a completely dead entity by us and quality and quantity have improved, but not to where I would see it as a complete success. Guess I think we need some paradigm shifts or even some professional consultants or something to come in and completely revamp the system because the old one is broken and not coming back. The days of major volunteerism and investing in the community are dead. But maybe it just needs a facelift and United professionalism.

Edited by Illifornia

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I grew up wrestling freestyle and greco in the 90's in CA and went to all the state and regional tournaments.  I never wrestled a folkstyle match until I got into 7th grade.  When we noticed that some teams had kids focusing on folkstyle for their youth development rather than free/greco, there was a major shift in the focus in our youth.  I work with USA Wrestling to host their tournaments in my area and about 8 years ago we started including folkstyle in the spring season because numbers were dropping big time and that's now the focus.  For the majority, it's an advantage.  

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