This week’s article is kind of a hard one for me as it required some candid introspect and humility. I tell people all the time to focus on the process (versus outcomes); yet sometimes my actions or words might show people something different. As a parent sitting in the stands watching my son wrestle - I hope for his success. Although I know (success) may not come each time he steps on the mat.
Contradiction - my words and behavior vs the process. I find myself worrying about things that are outside my control. I worry about the calls an official is making. I find myself more focused on what the official was doing than enjoying what my son is doing. I’ll wave my arms or maybe yell out loud that a certain judgement call was made. My actions certainly show that I am only worrying about the result. I suspect that for my son that winning likely feels great and losing likely comes with pain - but now I am challenging myself and the readers of this article to look at the bigger picture.
I wonder what I look like to the fans sitting on the other side of the gym or what the official thinks when he hears my voice? What if my son saw tape of me and my actions in the stands? I know I want him to be proud of me as I am of him. After he watches the tape, would he say he is proud of me? There is no call that an official makes that is more important - than what my son thinks of me! A friend of mine mentioned one time that one of the most defining moments of his life as a wrestling parent – was during a time where he was getting worked up, worried, animated about an upcoming match. His son (the wrestler) said, “don’t worry – I’m the one wrestling.” In that simple exchange, his son clearly and strongly underlined the importance of knowing our roles. The wrestlers wrestle. The officials make the calls. The coaches coach and the parents just need to be supportive of their kids. He said that after that point, his own enjoyment level was something he had never experienced before. At the same time, his son (later) said that the pressure and anxiety that his dad was projecting on him (and everyone around him) – was eliminated and he could focus simply on wrestling.
Without question, in my opinion, being loud and supporting your team is a must! I think it’s one thing we have lost in recent years. Be proud of your program and be loud for your son or daughter. Focus on them and enjoy watching them and let the results take care of themselves. A loss only hurts if you don’t learn from it. That guy standing in the middle of the mat wearing a striped shirt is just there to enforce the rules to the best of his ability. He is not there to be bullied, let alone to make a call or change his mind based upon someone sitting more than 100 feet away in the bleachers. If I am focused only on results, sometimes I might forget that this referee is very likely a good person, trying their best, and seeing things through their own eyes with a better perspective, closer proximity, and possibly a better understanding of the call and / or the rules in play.
Looking forward to a great 2018 for all student/athletes.
USA Wrestling shared a nice piece, by Matt Krumrie, for those interested in wrestling in college.
- Coach Kluever
Tips from the Recruiting Trail
BY MATT KRUMRIE | DEC. 20, 2017, 5:25 P.M. (ET)
Want to wrestle in college? It’s going to take more than success on the mat to get noticed.
But year after year, students make it happen. Below we identify some important strategies and tips to get noticed, get recruited, and get an opportunity to wrestle in college:
Take the First Step
Everyone has a story of how they came across their opportunity to wrestle in college. And Nick Stewart is no different.
As a high school wrestler at Jeffersonville High School (Jeffersonville, IN), Stewart never made it to the state tournament. But he still ended up with a
wrestling scholarship, thanks to persistence, dedication, hard work, and a nice suit.
As a senior in high school, Stewart personally wrote letters to 40 different colleges expressing interest in wrestling for their programs. Of those 40, three offered Stewart some form of wrestling scholarship. He eventually decided to wrestle at Lindenwood-Belleville, an NAIA college in the St. Louis Metro Area, then coached by Paul Collum.
“It’s all about getting your name out there to as many colleges as possible, at all levels,” Stewart said.
Taking initiative is something college coaches value. Stewart sent a letter contacting the coach and drove four hours with his mom to visit Lindenwood-Belleville. Upon arrival, Stewart's mom asked Collum point blank, “Why would you want my son wrestling for you? You’ve never seen him wrestle in real life.”
Collum responded, pointing to Nick, saying, “He filled out the questionnaire, replied back to me promptly, and you guys traveled almost four hours to meet with me. It also helps you are wearing a suit.”
Stewart chose Lindenwood-Belleville that day.
Lee Pritts, assistant coach at Arizona State University, also encourages wrestlers and parents to be the aggressors. Even at the Division I level, collegiate wrestling programs have limited budgets. They can’t be everywhere, and/or see everyone. So, if there is a school one wants to wrestle at, take initiative.
“If you sit around and wait for people to come to you, chances are, you will stay waiting,” Pritts says. “You have to be proactive. Complete a recruiting
questionnaire. Pick up the phone and call a coach, add them on social media, send them an email with your academic info, your desired major, your contact info, your graduation year. Add video links. Use all your resources. Keep it short and to the point.”
An introductory email is very important—it’s your first contact with that coach/team—so make the email personal to the coach you are emailing, says Bill Vasko, assistant softball coach with the University of Massachusetts Lowell. “Do not send a cut-and-paste email that’s the same to every coach. Take time to personalize the email to those programs you are most interested in. Make sure that you use the correct coach’s name and the school’s name and spell them correctly.”
Take Academics Seriously
For some, success on the mat will get them noticed. Those who win major tournaments, such as Fargo (Cadet or Junior Nationals) are on the radar of
college coaches. Winning state tournaments and placing high at prestigious national tournaments also helps. But it’s not the only way to get noticed—and it's not the only criteria college coaches look for when recruiting wrestlers.
Troy Nickerson was a highly-recruited high school wrestler out of New York, who wrestled at Cornell University. He’s now the head coach at the University of Northern Colorado, where he and his staff look at a student’s ACT, SAT, GPA and intended major when considering if a student-athlete will be the right fit for their program.
Bottom line is this: To increase chances of wrestling in college, focus on success in the classroom, and on the mat. One Jeffersonville High School
wrestler competed on JV his entire career. But he even sent letters to colleges about wrestling for a program, and was such a good student he ended up with an academic scholarship.
Don’t Blow it on Social Media
Coaches research student-athletes online. And yes, they absolutely check social media profiles. This is an area where many aspiring athletes go wrong,
like in this situation, where a football coach at Ottawa University in Arizona eliminated one recruit from consideration because of a profanity-laced social media rant:
“Be mindful of what you do away from the field—college coaches are watching your every move, on and off the field,” Vasko says. “They watch the way you warm up, how you interact with coaches and teammates, how you treat your parents, and how you act off the field. They also monitor your online activities—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. If all your social media accounts are locked, then a coach may wonder what you are hiding. So, keep them public, and keep them clean.”
The Right Fit Off the Mat
Getting recruited “is about much more than winning your state tournament,” Nickerson says. “We look for kids who are aggressive, who like to score points, who don’t give up in tough situations. I really like seeing how a kid reacts when he gets on the back side of a tournament,” Nickerson says. “Does he default out or wrestle back for third?”
Coaches also like the approach Stewart took and encourage wrestlers to reach out to them.
“Genuine and personal interest is always crucial,” Nickerson says. “If you are truly interested in my school and think we may be overlooking you, make a call or send a personal email.”
Start the Process Early
Want to wrestle in college? Start the process early. Stewart admits he waited too long.
“Don't wait until the end of your career,” Stewart says.
Those who are serious about competing in college wrestling should start the process as early as their freshman year. That’s when Joe Stabilito, President of Pennsylvania USA Wrestling, and the 2014 USA Wrestling Kids/Cadet Person of the Year, starts working with both parents and wrestlers to educate them on the college wrestling recruiting process. He works with kids to make video highlight reels, encourages them to start thinking about their major or areas of interests, potential schools, potential fit from a wrestling standpoint, and so on. He helps them contact schools, create the right message and make first contact. He also is realistic with parents, and discusses a student-athletes wrestling potential, and finding a fit that’s right for them. Not everyone is going DI—and not every wrestler is getting a scholarship. Then over the course of the next three to four years, all work together to modify the plan as the wrestler moves through high school. Some end up not wanting to wrestle in college, others do, and with the plan in place, they are putting themselves in a better position to succeed in their quest to wrestle in college because they started the process early.
“Learn as much as you can about the recruiting process and financial aid in your freshman year in high school,” Vasko says.
Choose a College for More than Wrestling
Finally, base your college decision on a combination of things, not just the wrestling program/opportunity, and the coach, Vasko says. Consider
academics, financial aid package, location and fit, and the athletic program.
He says to ask yourself this: “If something happens—there is a coaching change, or you suffer a career-ending injury—will you still be happy that you
chose that school? Think beyond sports, and think about what the school offers you in the terms of an education and affordability.”
USA Wrestling has informed the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation, we are one of the leading states for retention rates among membership. We are very thankful to our membership for their loyalty to the WWF and USA Wrestling!
We discussed the importance of retention rates with Tony Black, Director of State Services for USA Wrestling. We spoke about the importance of having great clubs within Wisconsin.
Tony believes “Membership totals or participation levels only tell part of the story. Are you getting kids to wrestle at record numbers only to have them run out the back door at record numbers? Successful clubs get the kids to try wrestling, but they also figure out how to keep the kids coming back.”
It is obvious to us, our clubs have figured out the second part of that message. It is also vital we remember the parents are the consumer/decision makers in what sports their children are involved in. Mr. Black pointed out “Is the practice fun for the kids? Are coaches building up the wrestlers? Do parents see emotional and social growth of their children? What are tournaments like? Those are all questions a parent will think about when deciding whether or not their child participates in wrestling again.”
USA Wrestling will be doing a pilot program in Wisconsin called “Give Wrestling a Shot” January 15-21, 2018. This is for USA Wrestling chartered clubs to encourage participation in their club. USA Wrestling is waving the requirement of athlete membership for this week. That’s right – USA Wrestling membership is not required in order to participate in chartered clubs during the promotional week.
If you are a chartered club and have not received the email about this event, please contact Scott Kluever at email@example.com so you can get involved.
WWF Kids Team State Championships
Wisconsin wrestling history will be made Sunday March 11, 2018 in Wisconsin Dells.
The first ever ‘WWF Kids State Folkstyle Dual Championships’ will be wrestled.
State Dual champions will be crowned in three divisions;
A) Wrestling Schools/Academy's
B) Community Clubs – Division 1 (Div. 1 is if your high school is WIAA Div. 1)
C) Community Clubs – Division 2 (Div. 2 is if your high school is WIAA Div. 2 or 3)
This event is for teams consisting of 6th-8th grade wrestlers.
Please email WWF Tournament Director Jeff Jones firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be part of this awesome event. As of Wednesday, December 6, half the entries are filled.
For event details click here
Wisconsin Wrestling Federation Kids Team State Championships
Sunday, March 11, 2018
Wisconsin Dells Center (Dome)
2100 River Road, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Tomorrow is the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s the day we give thanks for all the blessing in our lives. For wrestlers, it is a test of your willpower. Be ready to explain to your extended family, YOU choose your weight class and with healthy eating you can have a great year. We all know there will be tons of food on the table as we enjoy our family gathering. So plan ahead and stick to your plan. Find time to get a morning workout in to help burn some of the extra calories you will be consuming. Next, treat yourself to the fest, but portion sizes do matter. Make sure you find your favorite dessert and have a small piece, you have earned it!
Get your rest, to be at your best!
Now that the wrestling season has started athletes need to manage their time wisely. One of the pillars to success seems to always get pushed to the back burner and that’s sleep! Several studies have shown us how getting the proper rest increases our reaction time, reduces injury rates and makes us less susceptible to illness. We also know that sleep loss impairs good judgment.
What is the right amount of sleep? Depending on the study you read it is 7 to 9.5 hours for an athlete each night. Studies also show having a consistent bedtime and wake up time increases performance. This is an important part of your training, please make a plan and stick to it!
We are one week from the start of the WIAA High School wrestling season. It sure looks like a lot of people are excited for the start of the season! I have heard from a lot of graduated wrestler’s parents to enjoy the time, it goes way too fast! Well several wrestlers are in a season of lasts for High School wrestling.
Those parents who warned us of the speed of a High School career were spot on! In less than five months the seniors in Wisconsin will have completed their high school career. I hope those wrestlers enjoy the season to the fullest and remember to focus on the journey, not the destination. Enjoy every day you are with your teammates and coaches that have been there for you since that first day. It’s a special bond that cannot be duplicated later in life! Embrace looking into the stands at your hometown fans they are proud of what you have grown in to the last four years. Very few will leave as State Champions but all that complete their career will leave with a solid foundation to be champions in life!
In 2018 the WWF will be sending Schoolboy, Cadet and Junior teams to the USA Wrestling National Duals. This plan has been discussed among the lead coaches and the age level directors and was passed by the WWF board. Below are details regarding how to qualify for each age level.
Each age level will consist of one wrestler in each weight class per team. We will have a style specific Freestyle and Greco team at each age level. The State Champion in Freestyle and Greco will have first choice. If the State Champion declines the spot will be offered in descending order from 2nd through 6th. A true wrestleback will take place between 2nd and 3rd place finishers at the State Freestyle and Greco tournament if they have not wrestled. Anyone who may qualify for both teams will select the team they wish to be on and the spot in the other style will be offered in descending order from 2nd through 6th place finishers.
The cost has not been determined as of this time, due to the fact locations of each of the dual championships have not been determined. Please stay tuned for further information as it becomes available.
An Offer Teams Can't Refuse: USA Wrestling High School Team Membership Deal
Similar to previous years, USA Wrestling will again be offering the High School Team Membership. This program provides USA Wrestling athlete membership for all of the wrestlers on your high school team for a flat fee of $400. Derek Sikora is the contact for this program, so please contact him directly if you have questions or would like to take advantage of this deal. email@example.com
Download Team Membership flier below.
In addition to the High School Team Membership, USA Wrestling has three week-long promotions that will be in effect for the 2017-18 membership seasons, so please see below for a brief description.
Back to the Mat Week
Back to the Mat Week coincides with the first week of the high school wrestling season (November 13-19) for many programs nationwide, so the promotion is aimed at increasing high school participation. National Federation of High Schools data has shown a decrease in high school wrestling for the previous 7 seasons, so the goal is to stop that trend. High school coaches will be armed with tickets to invite kids to join the
high school wrestling team.
Give Wrestling a Shot Week
During the week of January 15-21, USA Wrestling will allow for any non-member of USA Wrestling to participate in chartered club practices as an introductory experience. Club coaches are provided with tickets that are meant to be given to parents of non-wrestlers as a way to invite their child(ren).
Wrestling Week Across America
A repeat week from 2017, Wrestling Week Across America will be March 12-18 as a way to raise the awareness of wrestling nationwide. Each day of the week has a theme that members and clubs are asked to take part in. The week’s highlight is the NCAA Championships Viewing Party on Saturday, March 17th, where clubs are encouraged to host viewing parties for their members.
In addition to the three week-long promotions, USA Wrestling has also implemented a Plus 2 Campaign, where it will be tracking individual memberships per club and recognizing those clubs that grow by at least 2 members from 2016-17. Nationwide, there are over 4,500 chartered clubs with USA Wrestling, so if every club grows by at least 2 members, membership totals will increase by over 9,000 athletes – nearly 5%.
Of all of the 50 states, Wisconsin continues to be the third largest in terms of membership. This is a testament to many coaches and volunteers like you, so thank you for your continued support and commitment.