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Zach Ledbetter

Advice for new HS program

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I was approached at the beginning of March that our high school will be starting a wrestling program. I have had plenty of student interest at the moment however I have not had any interest for any of the assitant coaches positions. My question for the post is, should I bring in a coach with zero wrestling experience and teach him along with the athletes or continue to pursue outside of the school for options. We are a small community with limited resources and as I stated before zero wrestling experience among the community. Any advice will help greatly, thanks in advance.

Edited by Zach Ledbetter

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Well you have some time so you may want to put the feelers out a little more to see who’s out there.  It sounds like you’re in an area with little wrestling participation so what are your chances of actually finding someone with solid experience?

The quality of the person is as important as their experience. If they have little to no experience delegate tasks they can do. Warm ups, conditioning or cross training  sessions at the end of practice, locker room supervision, weigh in process etc.  

Edited by AnklePicker

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I think that answer would depend on your own strengths and weaknesses (assuming you will be the head coach).  Some HS programs hire assistant coaches to handle administrative work/compliance and others to work out and teach technique.  Ideally you would fine someone that can help complement you.  

You can do some research and learn best practices form other top programs.  Both of the schools below have assistants and volunteer assistants (along with strong middle school and elementary feeder programs/summer camps).  Some families with strong ties tend to come back and help coach their siblings and next generation.  You can try and recruit a father or older sibling of a current wrestler to assist.  Hope that makes sense.

Crown Point (IN)

https://www.cps.k12.in.us/Page/9589

South Plainfield (NJ)

https://sphswrestling.wixsite.com/sphs-wrestling

Edited by YoungLee
Update

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Although the first five years of my High Schools wrestling we had 2 coaches with wrestling experience years 6-8 we had a Head coach years 2-4 out of college, and an assistant coach with zero wrestling experience. An assistant Track Coach and assistant baseball coach. Years 7-8 were conference co-championship years, in a conference with mostly teams with slightly longer existant programs.

So I would suggest pursuing both directions simultaneously, and see who you get.

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17 hours ago, AnklePicker said:

Well you have some time so you may want to put the feelers out a little more to see who’s out there.  It sounds like you’re in an area with little wrestling participation so what are your chances of actually finding someone with solid experience?

The quality of the person is as important as their experience. If they have little to no experience delegate tasks they can do. Warm ups, conditioning or cross training  sessions at the end of practice, locker room supervision, weigh in process etc.  

You are right that the area has little participation/exposure to the sport. My connections are in a different part of the state where I personally grew up, so even finding individuals in the community to help would be difficult. I am going to pursue the route of an individual that is a you put a quality person and can benefit the morale in my wrestling room as for kids with little exposure to the sport is extremely important. I appreciate your help and truly have never been in a situation of such few resources to pull from, we are truly starting ground up on the whole program.

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I would say that if you're starting from scratch, don't wrestle varsity year one.  Get them as much experience on the frosh and JV level as you can, whatever the maximum number of matches you can get them, and maybe mix in some weaker varsity teams for a couple of duals.  Get them used to competing first and feeling confident while building their skills up.  Because if you go varsity in year one, odds are you're going to get beaten a lot and in the long run it won't help you recruiting wise.  

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On 3/30/2020 at 1:14 PM, Zach Ledbetter said:My question for the post is, should I bring in a coach with zero wrestling experience and teach him along with the athletes or continue to pursue outside of the school for options. We are a small community with limited resources and as I stated before zero wrestling experience among the community.

Yes, if that coach is likely to be at the school long term and is well respected.  
 

I know a coach who was a college swimmer and never wrestled a match in his life.  Ended up taking over the wrestling program when they had no one else to do it.  He has been named coach of the year a few times now.  Just focuses on the basics and having his wrestlers trying to master the fundamentals.  Which for his small school in a low income and rural area, it allows them to be successful.  
 

A good staff is about a lot more than simply teaching technique.  

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Head Wresting Coach 6 years, Asst. Wrestling Coach 10 years, Head Swim Coach 10 years, Asst. Athletic Director 6 years.. In my 16 years I've learned only one thing about hiring a head coach and or an asst. coach. Hire WORK ETHIC!!!! I've seen some great technicians who had zero work ethic as coaches regardless of sport. I'd rather hire someone who never did the sport but wanted to invest in the kids than someone who was a collegiate AA and wanted nothing to do with the kids. Hire someone who will invest time in kids and the program. 

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