The dedicated wrestler does not stop learning and training when the last practice of the season ends. He is continually looking for ways to improve his wrestling skills, muscle tone, and cardiovascular endurance. These objectives can be accomplished through a variety of activities during the postseason months. The following are off-season priorities for the aspiring state champion: summer wrestling clinics, postseason wrestling tournaments, weight training, and off-season sports or running.
Summer Wrestling Clinics
To improve technique, the sincere wrestler should attend summer wrestling clinics, prepared to take notes. He should not try to learn all the moves taught during the weeklong clinic, especially those so-called "clinic moves." These are maneuvers that look fancy but are rarely used or successful in competition. They are not founded on sound fundamentals. Clinicians present them to catch the eyes of the campers in order to teach the truly worthwhile moves.
The wrestler's prime objective should be to learn one or two new moves in each area of wrestling (takedowns, escapes/reversals, and rides/pinning combinations). They should be maneuvers that suit his wrestling style and body type. For example, if a wrestler is tall and thin, he should pay special attention to novel leg-wrestling moves.
Finally, the wrestler must consider the moves that he has had the most success with in past competitions. With this in mind, when the clinician demonstrates the wrestler's favorite moves, he should write down those subtle additions to the maneuver that make it even more effective in a match.
Clinics can be very worthwhile in perfecting wrestling skills if the clinic participant lives by the following two guidelines:
1. The wrestler must keep focused on the preceding suggestions.
2. The wrestler must approach the clinic as though it were a classroom. It is not to be perceived as a place for competition but as a place for learning. Therefore, he should never be afraid to ask questions!
In abiding by these guidelines, the wrestler will find the clinic experience to be of great personal benefit on the mats.
The three prime components of successful wrestling are skill development, conditioning, and strength. When opposing wrestlers are identical in skill development and conditioning, the deciding factor often becomes strength.
Weight training is a year-round endeavor if a wrestler aspires to be a state champion. Furthermore, the wrestler's priority should be to lift weights for muscle endurance strength--more reps with less weight, and not for explosive strength--few reps with more weight.
The wrestler's first step in initiating an off-season weight training program is to talk with his wrestling coach, strength coach, or weightlifting trainer from the local fitness center. One of these individuals will see to it that the wrestler starts his weight training program at appropriate weights (and with the correct amount of time at each station) for his body type. Not knowing the proper weight or number of sets and repetitions to do for beginning weight training can cause serious muscular injury.
One time-tested approach is circuit training with one set of 10 repetitions for each of three weightlifting exercise cycles. The amount of weight for each exercise should be enough that the wrestler strains to accomplish the last two or three repetitions. The ideal weight-training program should occur three days a week (for example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).
Safety is another important factor. To begin with, it would be wise to work with a partner of similar body size so that one can spot while the other is lifting. Note also the following basic safety tips for free weights and weightlifting machines.
1. Take great care in putting the weights on the bar evenly; otherwise the bar could tip, potentially causing injury.
2. Make sure all weights are locked securely. 3. Watch out for bars that are shoulder height or above. Athletes could get serious facial injuries by walking into the bar.
4. Put barbells, dumbbells, and weight plates away when you are finished so that nobody trips over them.
1. See to it that the selector keys are inserted all the way.
2. Place levers and seats at locations that suit your body size.
3. Establish a stable sitting and foot-support base when performing exercises.
4. Keep hands and fingers as far as possible from any moving objects on the weightlifting machine. Always remember that off-season weight training is just as important to the dedicated wrestler as in-season weight training.
Off-season activities are very important for wrestlers who want to succeed in the mat sport. Summer wrestling clinics, postseason wrestling tournaments, weight training, and off-season sports and running are prerequisites for such achievement. As their coach, you are responsible for guiding them in such a positive direction. Note: The above are excerpts from The Wrestling Drill Book (Chapter 7 - Off Season Activities) which can be purchased by contacting Dr. Bill Welker via his e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week, we will discuss postseason wrestling tournaments, off-season sports and running.
Updated March 25, 1999