Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
smittyfan

Is there any evidence that it's better to skip folkstyle?

Recommended Posts

I'm curious to see how the Aaron Pico experiment goes. I hope he is doing the right thing for his career, but I have my doubts. I know that many on here think that by focusing on freestyle, Henry Cejudo blazed a trail for future Olympians, but I'm not buying that. Since about 99.5% of all of our Freestyle Gold, Silver and Bronze have come from former collegiate wrestlers, I find it hard to believe that such an anomaly in the progression of greatness would become the gold standard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm curious to see how the Aaron Pico experiment goes. I hope he is doing the right thing for his career, but I have my doubts. I know that many on here think that by focusing on freestyle, Henry Cejudo blazed a trail for future Olympians, but I'm not buying that. Since about 99.5% of all of our Freestyle Gold, Silver and Bronze have come from former collegiate wrestlers, I find it hard to believe that such an anomaly in the progression of greatness would become the gold standard.

 

It's not an anomaly. 99.5% of World medalists have not come from our collegiate wrestlers.

 

I'm curious as to what aspects of wrestling folkstyle in college are, in your opinion, more beneficial to being successful in freestyle than only wrestling freestyle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if there is some evidence, it's not statistically significant. Obviously, looking at American freestyle history, the vast majority of our world-level medalists will have wrestled fokstyle. But what does that prove, other than the fact that 99.9% of all our international talent was derived from a system that emsphasizes folkstyle through college?

 

I think the answer to your question entirely depends on the context. Better for what, for freestyle success, for preparation for life in general, for what?

 

For freestyle success only, it is crazy to think that having a folkstyle-based system is anything but suboptimal at best. Especially with these new rules, freestyle is sufficiently different from folkstyle that those with a folkstyle background will be disadvantaged. In which other sport is training in a related but fundamentally different style with different rules the best way to prepare?

 

Pointing to Burroughs or John Smith and saying, how do you explain their success then, is short-sighted. The question isn't how successful they were in spite of folkstyle, but rather, how successful at the same point in time in their careers could they have been had they only wrestled freestyle? Then there's the reality that for every Burroughs and Smith, there are dozens of other NCAA champs who didn't do jack internationally.

 

Freestyle is different enough from folkstyle that to optimize one's ability in freestyle, wrestling freestyle only is better than wrestling primarily folkstyle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it's impossible to test the theory in any kind of meaningful way. you'd need two sets of kids from similar backgrounds, one group going through college and one set only wrestling freestyle. and you'd need something like 25-30 kids in each group, per weight class.

 

obviously you can go the NCAA route and achieve international success, but i have to believe american wrestlers would fair better if the exclusively trained freestyle from day one. whats the argument for that not being the case?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
it's impossible to test the theory in any kind of meaningful way. you'd need two sets of kids from similar backgrounds, one group going through college and one set only wrestling freestyle. and you'd need something like 25-30 kids in each group, per weight class.

 

obviously you can go the NCAA route and achieve international success, but i have to believe american wrestlers would fair better if the exclusively trained freestyle from day one. whats the argument for that not being the case?

You'd need a much larger set, and of identical twins of identical temperament.

 

FS has been completely revamped, three different major sets of rules in less than ten years, and more going back twenty, including lowering the number of possible participants. If a current 24 yr old started focusing on FS at 10 he would now effectively be learning a third "sport". (Now we need to get rid of "shot clocks", and "almost" points)

 

Folkstyle has provided a much more consistent competition format for far longer. Many strategies/techniques translate well to particular iterations of FS, some do not. Most serious wrestlers spend spring and summer in the international styles. Some as a supliment to folk, and others with folk as the secondary focus. But in either case folk provides the most consistent and frequent opportunity introduction to wrestling and for competition, at very little $ cost through HS (to the individual participant and family).

 

Edit: if FS rules had been as consistent as folk then I'd say FS success might be greater. But that assumes the American style doesn't exist partly because it appeals to an American attitude about dominating and controlling, and that the number and quality of participants would remain the same. We haven't given up football for futbol, our basketball keys still have parallel sides and we don't allow goaltending after ball hits rim, and the world basically adopts American baseball rules.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's no direct evidence the best training for freestyle is freestyle. But there is a lot of circumstantial evidence.

 

For example, only six of the last 70 world-and Olympic-gold medals were former NCAA wrestlers. (Burroughs alone accounts for three of those.) In contrast, non-former-NCAA wrestlers won a whopping 64 of the last 70 world- and Olympic-gold medals.

 

Further, the youngest former NCAA wrestler to win a gold medal was Lee Kemp, aged 21 years. In contrast, just two years ago Asgarov became an Olympic champ at the age of 19 (and world silver medalist at 17). Again, this is not direct evidence that the best training for freestyle is freestyle, but it is circumstantial evidence.

 

In conclusion, there is no conclusive proof that the best training for freestyle is freestyle, but the circumstantial evidence leads me to believe its most likely true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Watching our best folkstylers struggle for a couple of seasons to get comfortable with freestyle (if ever), is plenty enough evidence.

You also have examples of success immediately after college, followed by less success a year or two later (Herbert, Gutches). And, again, our top wrestlers (99% of the time?) have significant years training FS/GR in the spring and summer. And some do it year round at clubs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Watching our best folkstylers struggle for a couple of seasons to get comfortable with freestyle (if ever), is plenty enough evidence.

You also have examples of success immediately after college, followed by less success a year or two later (Herbert, Gutches). And, again, our top wrestlers (99% of the time?) have significant years training FS/GR in the spring and summer. And some do it year round at clubs.

 

Those examples are outliers. What normally happens? That's the relevant question.

 

Sure, the top guys have reasonable FS/GR backgrounds of course, but how good would they be if that's all they trained? To be sure, there is a huge amount of crossover between folk and free (GR, not as much), but the rules are different enough that folk can never replace actual FS experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, I'll take the other side and admit it: freestyle is boring compared to folk style. The scoring is inconsistent. And I like mat wrestling - which barely exists with freestyle.

 

I suppose that I am old school. Freestyle is what my kids did when the folk style season ended. At least it gave them something to do in the off season. But no one liked it much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of great points! Maybe I'm wrong. Here's what I know.

We are just about the only country in the world that wrestles folkstyle, yet we gain about 10% of the World medals in freestyle.

Jordan Burroughs was just a "good" wrestler until he developed his blast double in the folkstyle room of Nebraska. John Smith came home to Del City one week-end and asked Pat what he thought of this new single leg he worked on in the OSU room. Gable, Kemp, Schultzs' Brands, Monday, Uetake, all of them came through the meat grinder that is college wrestling. Henry Cejudo...really, this is our guy to emulate? Maybe so, but talk about a small sampling!!! One amazing run, and you must admit, Henry, Cael, and John, all have one World or Olympic finish that could have been a lot different if the right opponent had been in the finals or even semis with them, but the difference is, John and Cael have more than one World medal. I know I'm being the devil's advocate, but I'm just like all of you, I'm pulling for the kid to have a long and healthy career before he goes MMA. If freestyle is as good as folkstyle for the basic art form to conquer before MMA, why are there so few Ruskies holding world titles in UFC?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JT1's observation that high school hype often does not translate into collegiate success (and vice versa)...Stating the "obvious" and IDIOTIC!

 

Discussing whether or not there is any evidence that it's better to skip folkstyle...NOT stating the obvious and BRILLIANT insight!

 

We certainly have some thinkers in our ranks, eh, folks? :oops:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If freestyle is as good as folkstyle for the basic art form to conquer before MMA, why are there so few Ruskies holding world titles in UFC?

 

FS is definitely not better than folk for MMA. Grappling in MMA is about control, and folk is much more about control than free, which rewards its biggest points from exposure. I'd much rather have the skillset of a folkstyler who has mastered all three positions than a freestyler who is only relevant to MMA in one.

 

But it's very hard to argue that folk is as good as FS for FS itself (I don't think anyone will ever argue it's better).

 

The US may have about 10% of medals, but it's also one of the biggest countries with the most resources and a very large pool of wrestlers to select its team from. You could make the counter-argument easily by pointing to Iran, which is more successful than the US while having 1/5 the population and 1/100 the resources.

 

Clearly, the US has produced exceptional FS talent. But what if John Smith had learned to wrestle in the Russian or Iranian youth system as opposed to Del City, OK? Might he have been even better earlier? Could he have been the youngest ever world champion or won seven, eight or even nine medals?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, well I'm no rocket scientist, but I did take up space in college. I think your points are well taken, and I wish nothing but the best for Aaron. I don't know the answers, I only know that there are great questions which will be answered shortly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A direct comparison would be the US women.

 

They wrestle freestyle at the collegiate level, leaving folkstyle behind after high school (just as Cejudo did). They are more than competitive at the international level.

 

I don't think this is a fair comparison. Women always perform much better internationally than men because women's sports are so developed in the US compared to the majority of other countries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Watching our best folkstylers struggle for a couple of seasons to get comfortable with freestyle (if ever), is plenty enough evidence.

You also have examples of success immediately after college, followed by less success a year or two later (Herbert, Gutches). And, again, our top wrestlers (99% of the time?) have significant years training FS/GR in the spring and summer. And some do it year round at clubs.

 

CCrider, if you were an exceptionally talented 18 year old wrestler who wanted to win a world/Olympic gold as soon as you could, what would be the better route to take: training full time freestyle (like Pico) or training folkstyle the majority of the year and then only wrestling freestlye full time in the offseason?

 

I think the answer to this question is obvious. I asked you this question directly a few times on a past thread and you never answered it directly.

 

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=399076&start=20

 

Read page 2 and see my last post to you that you never responded to. In the post I also address some points that you made that were irrelevant to the topic at hand. Check it out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much structure do SR level athletes have? I know it varies guy to guy but I know, despite college putting a lot of other demands on guys, it gives them a lot of structure which helps them focus on training.

 

There is a lot more flexibility when you are not required to focus on school and follow a daily schedule that includes things like classes along with training. Fore some guys this can be beneficial while for other guys it can be detrimental.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How much structure do SR level athletes have? I know it varies guy to guy but I know, despite college putting a lot of other demands on guys, it gives them a lot of structure which helps them focus on training.

 

In the case of Pico, the athlete in question, as much structure as possible. Not only does he have a dedicated coach, he also has a training plan laid out specifically for him that even involves international travel. I'd say he has more structure than a college folkstyler.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How much structure do SR level athletes have? I know it varies guy to guy but I know, despite college putting a lot of other demands on guys, it gives them a lot of structure which helps them focus on training.

 

In the case of Pico, the athlete in question, as much structure as possible. Not only does he have a dedicated coach, he also has a training plan laid out specifically for him that even involves international travel. I'd say he has more structure than a college folkstyler.

 

I thought the debate was about the college route so I was thinking more along the lines of Cejudo, or any of the others that elected to go to the training center rather than straight into college. I would expect a high school kid to still have a lot of structure. With his structure, it will be important to remember that, in the event that anyone else wants to also travel that route.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigh.... This again.

Reasons why you should actually train in the style you want to excel at:

A) technique is different. There is a big adjustment between the two.

B) time. Generally wrestlers have from 20-30 to be world class (with some exceptions on either side). For many the window us much smaller due to family, work, injury or burnout. For a lit if guys close to glad their physical prime is spent not wrestling in freestyle (see Cael Sanderson).

C) physical abuse. The long college season and many weight cuts really beat people up. Furthermore illegal guys going into Fs rely heavily on physically beating up opponents to win- great strategy for a limited time. Not too many guys have long careers wrestling like that.

 

I think it's pretty self evident that actually training freestyle is the way to improve in freestyle. Wether there us the structure in place to support this us another question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know spin, it gets frustrating having the same old conversations. I even applaud Team Aaron for doing what they genuinely feel is the best for their pony. It would absolutely be better to focus purely on freestyle, if you have the backing to travel the world, and seek out 20 or so matches a year, while training full time with the WT. The college guys do get beat up, but my point is this has worked for practically every great wrestler the US has produced in the last 80 years. Can it be a good thing to have a team pay your expenses and travel, and to get in 150 matches and 900 practices with many world team members and coaches? I mention WT members and coaches, because a stud like Aaron isn't going to wrestle for Liberty College. I maintain that what many freestyle aficionados say stunts our growth, and beats us up, may in fact harden the steel and give us more opportunities to prepare mentally and physically. I get it that in Russia it would be silly to train folkstyle because they truly are the big red machine and that machine is geared totally toward freestyle so their resources, coaches, training are all pointed in the same direction. Our system as flawed as it is. Our system is basically geared for the bulk of our talent pool to all go down the same cattle chute which is college wrestling...but proven is proven. If all of our (The USA) medals except 1% have traveled down one path, it becomes quite obvious that taking a new direction (if you're rich enough to do it) is taking a slight risk. I'm not as black and white as you guys. To me it's probably 55% better to go one way or the other, depending on a whole bucket full of individual preferences. I believe Team Pico is doing the right thing, I just think all important decisions deserve careful thought. While it's obvious that it should be better going exclusively freestyle, I'm just not sure that in the one country that dumps so much into another style that it is a 100% better option to go that way. Again, he certainly has the freedom to do whatever he wants, and I will be excited to follow his career the direction he is choosing. OK, I've beat this thing to death. Adios Muchachos!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

superold:

 

I believe I answered in multiple ways. You are asking the same question this (and many other) thread is asking, with age (17-18) and immediacy as a qualifier. I don't think anybody has ever chosen not to win a gold as early as possible. The question a few have chose to answer is what they choose not to try/continue participating in, in the hope it enhances their chances at that gold. There is one example of success going that route. But that can not tell you whether going the college route would have either hurt or helped Henry.

 

I would agree that concentrating on a specific rule set usually would be advantageous. But FS has had, and will continue to have such dramatic rule changes that a 24 yr old today who concentrates on FS will have basically have wrestled in three different styles already. What exactly is he concentrating on? Where is the disadvantage to havering a secondary (folk) style (that has some/many translatable techniques and stratagies) that stays consistent and provides a wide range of competitive opportunities? Many/most learn how to compete better through competition of any kind. Perhaps a reason there seems to be a significant number of brother combo's that are successful in wrestling? They competed their whole lives in multiple sports, for the last cookie, etc. being a great competitor is not a sport specific technique to be mastered - it is an attitude that is discovered and developed through many/any competitions. And, for me, wrestling of any style is at least as much about competing, while using whatever particular techniques are applicable.

 

So to directly answer: In theory, yes. Concentrating on one style, assuming competitive opportunities are the same would be the fastest.

But the style drastically changes in short periods (relatively), and the competitive opportunities are fewer.

So, I'd encourage doing both - allow the strengths of each to supliment the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...