4 Lessons learned from legendary PA coach Dave Crowell:
1. Coach Crowell noted that 85% of coaches only coach in the 1st dimension (physical) and neglect the mental and spiritual. What an opportunity to Jump Levels and impact lives on and off the mat! He noted that pressure and the fear of failure is what causes most wrestlers to choke in the postseason or big matches. The mental part needs to be addressed on a regular basis and strategies developed to mange pressure effectively. Spiritual training needs to at least be addressed (and focused on if possible) to maintain proper perspective. Wrestlers need to know their beliefs and values, and be willing to live them out on a daily basis.
2. Wrestlers are encouraged to break their opponents during matches. In fact, Coach Crowell gives his wrestlers a tshirt if they force their opponent into injury time (because they are fatigued not due to an injury). Effort and pace is more important than winning and losing.
3. Parents need to be educated! The #1 thing wrestlers want to hear from their parents after a match is... "I love watching you wrestle." It is unconditional and has nothing to do with winning or losing. Another key transition is the car ride home from a match. Coach Crowell strongly recommends not starting a conversation about wrestling on the ride home. Very difficult! The same goes at the dinner table. Let your kid bring up wrestling instead of initiating it yourself.
4. Stop stalling at the end of matches! Many wrestlers who have a lead going into the third period, shut down their offense and go into defensive mode. This is a dangerous strategy as it you are at risk for getting hit with a stall and more importantly changing your rhythm. National Champion Freddy Powell used to say this "When you shut down at the end of a match you are changing your rhythm." You are more likely to get takedown and scored on when this happens. Continue to score and keep a high pace late in the match, even with a 1 or 2 point lead!
More lessons coming from the PA Convention speakers- Frank Molinaro, Coyte Cooper, Stephen Neal, Zeke Jones and Brandon Slay. Stay tuned!