West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Better Relationships between Wrestling Coaches and Officials

Unfortunately, more often than not coaches and officials consider each other to be adversaries. I think I can offer some suggestions that may help to alleviate this uncomfortable condition between the two factions. Both coaches and officials can work together in closer harmony if they understand the concerns of one another.

The following is a survey taken of coaches and officials by Robert G. Hoehn. First, the eight "big wishes" of coaches and then the top eight desires of officials.

1. Act in a professional manner. Treat coaches and their athletes with respect.
2. Thoroughly know the rules.
3. Be consistent when making calls and decisions.
4. Keep the athletes moving at a brisk pace.
5. Be on the lookout for dangerous situations, and alert the coach when the athlete runs the risk of injury.
6. Demonstrate a positive attitude toward athletics, not one of supreme authority. In other words, don't act like gods, but stewards of the sport.
7. Refrain from prejudging a coach, school, or athletic team. Give everyone involved the opportunity to prove themselves.
8. Finally, don't cover up a mistake. Nobody expects perfection. If an error occurs, admit to it, and try not to make the same mistake again. Also, avoid coaching an athlete at the coach's expense. Never make a coach look foolish by correcting athletes in a condescending manner.

1. Treat officials in a polite, friendly manner. However, don't come on like college chums meeting for the first time in fifteen years. Being too friendly creates problems when close calls go against the opposing team.
2. Keep negative comments about coaches, athletes, or other officials to yourself. A coach that ridicules others in front of strangers displays poor judgment and shows a lack of good sense.
3. Have everything ready to go so the contest can start on time. Provide a safe and secure environment for officials to store their valuables.
4. See to it that officials are paid on time. Either pay the day of the contest or mail checks out the following day. A great way to strain a relationship is to wait four or five weeks before mailing checks.
5. Refrain from discussing a previous contest and close calls. Officials must concentrate on today's match or game, not rethink past competitive situations in which they were involved.
6. Hold conversations to a minimum. Don't distract officials with needless chatter.
7. Know the rules. Read the rule book. Study any new rule changes. Don't waste the official's time with matters in which you should have known the rule.
8. Approach the official with respect, as an equal, when questioning a difficult call. In essence, coaches and officials need to be thinking on the same wave length. This is really not too difficult to accomplish, especially when both the coach and official follow the values of good sportsmanship.

... on Success as a Coach

No dedicated wrestling coach should ever think his efforts are in vain.

Many years ago I had the worst wrestling team that anyone could ever imagine. We lost all our dual meets by wide margins, and not one of my wrestlers placed in a tournament that season. The year seemed to last forever; it was exquisite agony!

During this stretch of mentor misery, I constantly tried to get my grapplers to believe in themselves and their abilities. But nothing seemed to work. In the end, I began to "second guess" myself and even considered the possibility of hanging up my coaching whistle. Of course, I didn't.

Well, a few summers ago the fruits of my labor were finally realized. I received a long distance phone call from Florida. The call was from a former wrestler of mine (let's refer to him as "Bob"), who participated on the varsity squad grievously noted above.

Bob is presently a wrestling coach and he phoned to tell me that he, too, was faced with a team of "non-believers." At first, his matmen won only one match and had lots of blisters on their backs. But then Bob proudly asserted, "I kept emphasizing what you taught us, and it paid off. This year we went undefeated and won our league championship!"

So, coaches, don't give up the "faith," because some rewards are very slow in coming.

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
- Beverly Sills

Editor's Note: A former Pennsylvania State Champion, Dr. Welker is a nationally recognized authority on amateur wrestling who has published hundreds of articles and two best-selling books (The Wrestling Drill Book, 1st & 2nd Editions) on the subject in which 1000s of copies have been sold nationwide. His drill book can be purchased at www.Amazon.com or www.HumanKinetics.com.

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