Cael on Youth Wrestling…

Undefeated in college and a gold medal winner and now coach of #1 Penn State wrestling team… interesting tidbits …

I asked PSU head coach Cael Sanderson about his thoughts on youth wrestling last week, and I found his responses to be insightful for those who have young family members in the sport or are thinking about getting started.

Q: “Is there an ideal age to start — too young, too old?”

A: “I don’t think the age is really that important. I think it’s more based on the individual. A lot of that is based on the attitude that you bring to the kid. I think you obviously want to make sure they love competing and they want to win, but it’s got to be fun. It’s a game. That’s one thing in our sport we’ve lacked across the nation: You kind of get thrown in into the fire right away as a young kid. And there’s nothing more humiliating than going out there and getting your butt kicked in front of your parents and your friends at a young age. It’s not like that in the No. 1 youth sport in the country – soccer, right? – it’s not like that in soccer. My kid can kind of hang out in the back and not get beat individually, so I think that’s important. Parents need to take that into consideration. We have a youth program. We actually have a practice tonight that we started here (with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, called Youth Recreation). We couldn’t get more kids in here. It’s full. It’s fun. They come in and wrestle on Sundays. It’s good. The point is to have it be a recreational style versus throwing them into the fire – blood and guts and glory – when you’re five years old. That’s not a good foundation, I don’t think.”

Q: “How much do you focus on technique during those youth practices?”

A: “I think technique is important, but a lot of what we do is correct bad habits that we see kids bring to college. … Hustle is obviously very important, but hustle will sometimes get you out of position. Getting off the bottom, a lot of it is more of positioning. If you just try to get out of there before your hands are clear, that’s kind of like trying to get out of the car without taking the seatbelt off. So there are those little things that you’ve got to correct. And, also, when you put a real strong emphasis on winning and losing at an early age, I think the kids are going to do whatever it takes to win and usually that means they skip the fundamentals, because the fundamentals are kind of a long-term success. You look at the Olympics, you look at the World Championships, as they say, I think, advanced techniques are the basics mastered. That’s an old combat quote, so I think that’s important. If you can actually teach your kids fundamentals first and let them learn it before you throw them into the fire, they’ll probably be more successful in the long run.”

 

Wed 12/9 Update – parent meeting

Great little team this year!  We’re pretty young and inexperience but our goal of introducing the kids to this great sport is definitely in sight!

May be late notice but I would like to have a parents meeting at the beginning of practice tomorrow – wed-12/9 – at the very beginning of practice.  Would like at least one parent present.

 

Why Kids should wrestle!!

In the next few months, many children will have the opportunity to participate in wrestling for the first time. Just like the kids, many parents will embrace the opportunity, while others will resist. Because of the timely life lessons wrestling teaches children, I urge everyone to seriously consider trying the sport, if only for one season.

Usually, those who resist wrestling are unfamiliar with the sport. Wrestling can be an intimidating sport, but it’s also one with great potential to develop young adults, both physically and mentally.

My own son resisted until seventh grade. “I don’t want to roll around with a bunch of sweaty guys,” he told me, echoing the popular mantra of basketball players everywhere. My wife, with her medical background, wasn’t very supportive either, citing the skin rashes she saw wrestlers bring to her clinic. I had wrestled in high school – I wasn’t very good, but I wrestled – and I knew what it could teach kids, so I persisted until both agreed to a one-year trial season.

That was four seasons ago – two in junior high, one on the junior varsity team and last year’s varsity season. In that time, he’s experienced extreme highs and extreme lows. There were times that he enjoyed wrestling almost as much as football, and there were times that he talked about quitting. There were dominating wins and puzzling losses, weeks when nothing could go wrong and weeks when everything went wrong. More important than all of that are the lessons that have helped him develop into the young man he is today.

  1. There is no entitlement in wrestling. It doesn’t matter where you are ranked or whether or not your coach likes you, your value as a wrestler depends on your most recent performance on the mat. Last year, I watched a wrestler, who spent most of the season ranked #2, lose two tough matches in the district tournament and fail to qualify for the state tournament. He was a senior who had placed at the state tournament the previous year, but that and his ranking didn’t matter – only what happened on the mat. In a matter of minutes, his season was over. In wrestling, you must constantly earn what you get.
  2. Wrestling teaches toughness. I got my first bloody nose in youth boxing at the age of 7, and never forgot it. At first, I wanted to cry and get out of the ring, but something deep inside me brought me back to the fight. Too many kids make it through childhood without a bloody nose. In wrestling, we have “blood time.” Wrestlers get their mouths smashed, their noses bloodied, their eyes blackened and their joints twisted. Wrestling teaches athletes how to work through pain and discomfort. Wrestling teaches toughness.
  3. Wrestling teaches discipline. Because they have to make weight and need to be in superb shape to succeed, successful wrestlers maintain their bodies like finely tuned machines. Even away from practice and competition, they can’t forget that they are wrestlers. When their friends are feasting on fast food and sodas or staying up too late, wrestlers have to make decisions that will help them on the mat. They know that slipping on discipline will have negative consequences on the mat.
  4. Wrestling instills confidence. It takes courage to walk out onto the mat. Once you overcome the fear of competition and the loneliness of being on the mat, everything else in life seems easier. Famous collegiate and Olympic wrestler Dan Gable says that 80% of wrestling matches are decided before the first whistle blows. “One competitor already knows he’s going to win, and the other knows he’s going to lose before either steps onto the mat,” he says. Once wrestlers develop confidence, they learn how to use it to give themselves a competitive edge.
  5. Wrestling teaches self-reliance. Too many kids look outward for blame when they experience failure. When you are on the mat, no one is going to come save you. You have to decide how hard you are going to fight to win. If you fail, you have no one else to blame. You can’t blame your teammates, your coach’s play-calling or officiating. You win or lose on your own.
  6. Wrestlers don’t go pro. Yes, I know that professional wrestling still exists, but very few wrestlers have professional aspirations. Contrast that with other popular sports. Many basketball, baseball and football players believe that they are going to make millions in professional sports, so much so that they plan for it at the expense of education and other preparation. Wrestlers are under no such illusions. They compete for the sake of competition, not fame or money.
  7. Wrestlers come in all shapes and sizes. Height and weight are large factors for success in several popular sports, like basketball and football, but they don’t mean much in wrestling. Wrestling is a sport where small kids or heavy, but relatively short kids can be extremely successful. Where else can a scrawny 106-pound or short 250-pound kid win a state championship?
  8. Wrestlers learn to respect their opponents. There is a lot of down time at wrestling events, and many wrestlers will compete against each other multiples times in one season. In that down time, they get to know each other, and will even cheer each other on. Not all of them are friends, but they all know what goes into a wrestling season, and they respect each other because of that shared sacrifice.

Even if your child never wins a match, he’ll learn a lot about himself and how he fits into the world. While it’s true the other sports can teach most of these lessons, the intensity of a wrestling season is hard to match. When you sign your child up for a wrestling season, you give them a competitive edge that will help them succeed in life. Don’t miss that opportunity.

WWC Youth 2015-16 Season News!!

Greetings all!  Website and info should be updated!  Here is the scoop:  Registration is Monday and Wednesday (11/2 & 4) from 6-7pm at Short Pump Middle School.  If you can’t make it see me on the first day of practice – Monday – 11/9/15 at 6:00pm.

Practices are Monday and Wednesday’s.  All practices are at Short Pump Middle School.  Email or call for more information or I’ll see you at registration!

End of Season

We had a great season!!  End of year celebration/banquet is at:

RUMBLESEAT GRILL

12912 Plaza Dr
Richmond, VA 23233
Tonight – 2/18 at 6’ish!  See  you then.

1st metro matches – this weekend – 1/11/15

At Godwin High School.    Important items to cover and response needed.

1)      If your child will NOT be there Sunday, then please let me know ASAP.    He must be there prior to 12:30.

2) Please call me asap at any time when you determine if your child will NOT make it.  Our cutoff for the roster is Thursday’s but any information prior to Sunday at noon is helpful.  As a club, we will NOT tolerate no-show’s that were not previously communicated.  Seems a bit firm but the havoc caused by no-shows impact many.

3)      I need weights for all wrestlers so if I don’t get them tonight, I may call you after our practice this eve.

Sunday process at Godwin High School

– Referee’s show up in the back of the gym to start setting up (11:30am)

– All wrestlers show up at noon but before 12:30.  After 12:30 they will NOT have any matches.  You may be able to show up earlier than noon and come in the back of the gym near the driver ed parking lot.

– When wrestlers show up they will check in as they come in the building.  If they don’t get checked in and have a mark on their hand they are not wrestling

– Matches should start before 1 and will end at 3:30.  We are trying to get 2 to 3 matches per child.  At 3:30 we have to clean up as we have to be out of the gym/school at 4:00pm sharp!

– fans/parents should stay in the stands and avoid the mat side.  Although this demand isn’t successful, please do not be around the mats when your son is not wrestling

– there should be a coach in your son’s corner for every match

– matches are 3 periods, one minute each.  If there is a fall (pin) in the first period we’ll continue to wrestle out that period and the match will end.  If a fall occurs in the 2nd or 3rd period then the match will be over.

Other items:

– please do a skin check and make sure finger nails are properly cut.  There are plenty of people around familiar with ringworm, etc., so any undetermined skin rash can be diagnosed.  Let me know if you suspect something.  Kids with skin ‘funk’ will not wrestle that day.

– if you don’t have a singlet – will give out this evening – then seek me out asap to get one

– I will need volunteers to help with the concession stand.  Probably only one person and we can rotate through for however long you all deem necessary (i.e. one hour each….).  I need someone to help coordinate this.  Again, the league is made of volunteers, you/we make it what it is.