Summer camp season is fast approaching. Wrestling camp directors across the country are lining up clinicians and guest speakers to attend their wrestling camps.
Day after day, practice after practice, coaches in all sports consistently preach to their athletes about the importance of believing in themselves, and building the confidence needed to achieve success.
In wrestling, high school and college coaches are constantly looking for a mental edge for their athletes, hoping to find a way to motivate, push, and get the wrestler to believe they will achieve their goals.
There are many wrestlers who have a laundry list of wrestling credentials. State champion, national champion, All-American, and so on.
But success on the mat doesn't always translate to success as a coach. At the same time, there are several successful wrestling coaches who did not achieve a high level of success on the mat that have turned into great coaches, leaders of young men and women, and who any athletic director would like to hire to run their high school or college wrestling program.
It happens in every sport, at every level: Kids transfer from one school to another.
At the high school level, there can be numerous factors. A parent moves to a new city or new state to take a new job. A family isn't happy with a child's current situation, so they move them from one school to another. In some cases, kids get to know other kids through clubs, national teams, or camps, and want to join them at the high school level, and decide to transfer. While that isn't technically reason enough to transfer by state high school association guidelines, the reality is, it happens.
At the collegiate level, kids don't fit in the way they thought they would, they get homesick, don't feel like the program is the right opportunity for them, have off the mat issues, or realize they may not see a lot of action in the lineup, so they seek other options.
Every wrestling coach has dealt with that one parent who makes things difficult. In fact, many coaches may cringe when they think of the difficulties they have had with certain parents over the years.
Perhaps not as difficult as dealing with Lavar Ball, who USA Today just declared the worst sports parents ever.
Since 1994, the number of women who participate in high school wrestling has increased from 804 to 13,900 (according to National Federation of High School statistics). There are now 36 women's collegiate wrestling programs. And recently, thanks to the hard work of organizations like USA Wrestling, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Wrestle Like A Girl, the National Wrestling Coaches Association and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, a proposal was submitted to the NCAA seeking Emerging Sports Status for women's wrestling.
Ask any dedicated coach, and chances are, they relish the chance to develop and build the average athlete, just as much as they do the chance to lead the star athlete. While the star athlete may bring wins, program recognition, and put a team and/or coach in the spotlight, the long-term success of any athletics program --wrestling included -- hinges on the ability of coaches to develop the average athlete.
If it's a Friday night, or Saturday morning in the fall, there is one place Jeff Wichern loves to be, other than inside a wrestling room.
And that's at a football field, watching wrestlers he currently coaches, or has coached in the past. Wichern owns and operates the JJ Trained Wrestling School in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and is the youth wrestling director for Eden Prairie Youth Wrestling. Eden Prairie High School is a traditional Minnesota football powerhouse. The Eagles, coached by Mike Grant, son of legendary Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant, has won 10 Minnesota large school state titles, with many Eden Prairie wrestlers making an impact on those teams over the years.
On Saturday, Nov. 12 the South Saint Paul, Minnesota High School wrestling team hosted a wrestling fundraiser. The event? A professional wrestling match at South Saint Paul High School. It was a fun evening for wrestling fans and the local community. It raised money, and helped promote the sport of wrestling. It helped the team get together and create a buzz for the upcoming season.
Wrestling rankings, whether team or individual, are a great way to help promote the sport of high school wrestling. It provides an opportunity for discussion, highlights those who are succeeding and helps a sport that may not get a lot of publicity provide information to both diehard and casual fans. However, opponents of rankings will say it puts too much pressure on an individual or team. And there are also, unfortunately, coaches, parents, fans and Internet trolls who place too much emphasis on rankings and that's where potential problems can develop.