West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on the Importance of the Assistant Coach

What role must the "assistant coach" play in the development of a successful wrestling program?

Primarily, the assistant coach needs to understand the head coach's philosophy, and believe in it. Furthermore, the assistant coach should be the top mentor's "public relations man," while helping to promote the mat sport throughout the school.

The faithful assistant coach must also be instrumental in helping the head coach cope with such concerns as scouting, keeping track of wrestler's grades, discipline in the classroom, and practice absenteeism, and evaluating parent attitudes.

An open line of communication with the parents is very important. And, at times, the parents will tell the assistant coach certain things they wouldn't express to the head coach.

In reference to the team, the assistant coach must act as a "buffer." He's the one who often consoles the wrestles after the head coach has reprimanded them. In essence, he is sometimes the "mediator" with the squad members, explaining the reasons behind the head coach's decisions. In other words, the assistant coach plays the role of "good cop" in helping the wrestlers to better understand the head coach's reasons for his decisions and actions.

Likewise, the assistant coach should be actively involved at all daily workout sessions. Why? Well, the wrestlers need to have as much belief in the assistant coach's abilities as they do in that of the head coach. If not, when the head coach can not make it to practice, the team members won't respond or work nearly as hard for the assistant coach.

Briefly stated, a truly great wrestling program is comprised of dedicated wrestlers, supportive parents, a zealous head coach, and a very loyal "assistant coach!"

... on Wrestling and the Team Manager

The successful operation of a wrestling program does not begin when the athletes jog through the gym doors to compete. No, it goes much further than that and starts weeks before the season ever begins.

Today's wrestling coach is burdened with many responsibilities, from assembling a well- balanced team to organizing supportive, money-making projects. This load is lightened considerably by the presence of the mentor's "silent partner" -- the team manager.

The team manager receives neither press clippings nor athletic laurels, but he's as vital to a wrestling program as the ignition key is to a car. The manager's duties include distributing equipment to squad members, cleaning the mats, keeping score at dual meets and tournaments, seeing to it that the coach is aware of any internal problems which may arise, and I could go on and on.

Before, during, and after each contest, his work is never done. Like the coach, the manager is the first one there and the last to leave.

Now it is with the utmost sincerity that I take this opportunity to publicly applaud these fine young men, throughout our grand Ohio Valley, for a job superbly and nobly executed.

"It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."
- W. Somerset Maugham

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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