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Tofurky

What's the difference?

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I've seen a lot of top high school wrestlers during my 50+ years in the sport. Many of the insights are quite accurate. Let me add my two cents wirth.

 

1. They have to LOVE wrestling, not just the matches, but in learning and mastering techniques.

2. Have something to prove. I think this is why many less hearlded high school wrestlers excel and those with more accomplished resumes don't

3. It has to be their top priority in life. I remember Stan Abel who didn't start wrestling until his sophomore year in high school, finishing 3rd as a senior, telling me he majored in wrestling in college. He said he went to all his classes and made sure he was eligible, but on his own he looked at film every day on his own picking up techniques he could use.

4. The opposite can be true. Wayne Wells told me that Dan Gable didn't offer a scholarship to a great high school wrestler in Oklahoma, because the kid's main goal was to become a doctor. Gable wanted only those who were willing to make a full committment to wrestling.

5. Physical maturity. There is usually a huge difference between a 17 year old senior and a 19 year old senior. I think this maybe why many of the Brandon wrestlers don't pan out in college.

6. Some programs make the kid. A kid who wrestles at Blair or other top program gets the best coaching and competition. Most that wrestle varsity have been getting top coaching and competition from a young age. I had a conversation with a top 5 program head coach. He wasn't recruiting the Altons because he didn't think they had much upside potential, because they'd had the best coaching and compeition their entire careers.

7. The is some natural internal drive the great ones have to excel. I remember Tommy Evans answering a fan's question as to why Wayne Wells had surpassed Greg Ruth. Both were great college wrestlers, with Greg having the better career. Tommy said at some point Greg stopped getting better, while Wayne kept getting better.

8. I've told more than one high school/college wrestler that champions pay a price to become one. It reminds me of the comment a famous violinist said to a woman said she'd give anything to play in Carnegie Hall. He said no you wouldn't. The great ones make sacrifices others don't.

9. A great coach helps if you are willing to work as hard as he wants you too.

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How many kids are very teachable and will work hard to drill but get pounded on by kids who can just walk out and win?

 

I would be interested in seeing what the burnout rate is in Russia compared to the United States.

 

A lot. Wrestling isn't fair and deserve has nothing to do with it.

Tom Brands "you deserve what you earn"

Rob Koll "it's all your fault"

Things you hear a lot in my room.

I always tell my kids that no matter how many times you do the right thing, someone won't and they might still beat you. But, you won't even have a chance if you don't put in the time.

 

When you get that "just walks out and wins" kid and they learn to work, they are called state champs.

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One thing I didn't add. When I'm scouting I am always looking for a freshman or sophomore who loses a close quarterfinals or semifinals match to the eventual champion. When the studs reach their junior year you don't get to see how they deal with adversity from losing a close match very often. I look to see if those younger wrestlers comeback and take 3rd place, or do they fold their tent. In college you have to have guys who'll fight back through consolations and still place at the NCAA tournament. A wrestler whose never lost in high school can have a hard time in dealing with adversity in college. Whereas the kid who improved to win a couple of state titles instead of 3 or 4 is used to dealing with adversity, and already has developed the mindset of knowing how to bounce back, and work on improving his technique and conditioning when he gets to college.

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Good topic, and it doesn't seem to have incited arguments.

 

My thoughts are similar many above, e.g. BigRedMachine's. I think you have to look at how their success was measured in high school and what contributed to it, and then subtract some random factors.

 

From the first two you basically get a spectrum with GuysMoreLikelyToHaveCollegeSuccess at one end and GuysLessLikely... at the other. But it is probabilistic, not deterministic.

 

Finally, you then have to account for a set of random factors that are mostly negatives that will cause guys to have less success than the above model would otherwise predict.

 

1. How was their success measured? Guys who won national events (Fargo) and/or were multiple time state champs in wrestling belt states are more likely to end up at the high end, all else being equal. I think you have a truer measure of how they stack up relative to their peers, and I think this also tends to capture some of the intangible mental toughness factors. Of course, it is not a necessary condition, since some kids will not have those opportunities. (And, of course, continue reading for the rest of it)

 

2. Then you have to look at what contributed to their high school success. If they were older (held back) or just hit puberty earlier, then this is likely to catch up with them in college. Coaching, I think, is not linear. Guys who did not benefit from great coaching but excel in high school anyway are likely to have more upside in college. However, I don't think the reverse is true. The usual argument is that guys who got great coaching in high school might be already "coached up" and have less potential, and I agree that this is possible. However, I also think you have high schoolers who got great coaching and therefore have solid fundamentals and fewer bad habits upon which to add even more great coaching. So, I would put less weight on high school coaching as a good predictor of who Exceeds or FallsShortOf expectations in college.

 

Physical gifts are important too. As has been said, you can't coach "quick". Some guys are just quick, or have freakishly long arms or big hands, or something else that makes them very tough opponents. On the other end, guys who had high school success because they cut a lot of weight will be less likely to succeed with only that strategy in college.

 

3. And then you have to subtract the random factors that are the reasons that this isn't a science, why coaches don't always get it right, and the things that allow posters on this board to argue "but if that reason guarantees success then why didn't do well?" In no particular order the random negative factors include injuries, academics, substance abuse, immaturity, burnout, girlfriends, homesickness, weight-cutting, and probably something else we didn't hear about. Although I think these things are truly pretty random, we have a tendency to observe them in so-called "can't miss" recruits in part because it is news when a star athlete gets a DUI, but not when they are sober. However, there might be a slight non-random bias in the following sense -- if the high school star was a high school star because they focused all their time and energy on wrestling, and were stage managed by their Dad, then they are probably somewhat more likely to fall victim to a 'random' college event because they have less practice at making decisions for themselves and managing their time.

 

Overall, it is just a probability of success, and naming individual guys who didn't excel really doesn't tell you much.

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There, fixed that for you. I don't consider checking results of a couple events and exhibitions a year "following".

 

Why not Ccrider? It seems to me that your definition of "following" is very different than the one I'm used to. I'd like to hear this definition.

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What about being coachable? Where does that fall into the equation once a high school stud who has generally manhandled his competition from the ages of 14-18, matriculates into college? It's hard to break bad habits no matter what the game is.

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