Ben Askren illustrates a pretty lethal technique utilized by Mizzou Tigers’ NCAA Championship contender Josh Wagner.
So as I was writing last week procrastinating, I checked a discussion on Flo out. Is MMA good for wrestling? Different people responded in various ways. This is something that I have given much thought since my brother has switched to MMA and my folk-style wrestling career has recently ended. I think there is a big problem with this question. The biggest being that it is ambiguous. Because of the US’s unique situation, there are two different questions that really should be asked. Is MMA good for folk-style wrestling? Yes. Is MMA good for freestyle wrestling? No.
Most of the time insomnia is a thing of the past for me, but here and there it catches me. Fighting doesn’t work too well, so this past week during an episode I sat down to my computer and started watching matches. I started by finding ranked wrestlers first and watching opponents and then their opponents so I didn’t have to keep going back and forth. A majority of the wrestlers still had holes in their wrestling which limits the guys they can compete with. Seeing kids inept in such important positions pains me. Kids with so much athletic potential lack the technical knowledge. Holes ranged from small things such as not being able to return someone to as big as having no mat wrestling skills. Reasons for not developing these aspects are many. Environment is lacking in competition or knowledge, the philosophy of only working one thing is maintained, etc. Ultimately though, we need to be accountable for ourselves, strengths as well as inadequacies.
A conversation I have every year at the end of the folk-style season is, “Why wrestle freestyle?” The answer is plain and simple. Freestyle promotes attributes that greatly help folk-style wrestling. This is why the best folk-style wrestlers wrestle freestyle. I have different thoughts on why this is and what freestyle does for wrestlers. I think the change to freestyle helps not only technically, but has a profound effect for the mentality of wrestlers. Freestyle helps folk-style wrestlers by developing “mat awareness” and refining technique in neutral, providing a low stress environment necessary for kids to learn, changing scenery keeping wrestling new and fun, and making the biggest tournaments in the nation available creating another focus to motivate young wrestlers.
Coming down to the final stretch of the season I look to my athletes and wonder what can I do to best prepare them for success. I see way too many techniques that are still missing and there just isn’t enough time to cover it all. I started out this season hoping I could get these guys the right tools to do well in most matches. So I decided to go through positions and decide what was essential and what was secondary. Being able to keep the match in certain parameters means you need to cover less technique. For instance rather than spending time scoring from your underhook, and defending all that can happen from theirs, only defending when people try to get one is essential. This allows for a simple highly focused gameplan. Simple game plans do three major things: allow less possibility for error, constitute less factors meaning greater focus, fewer done well equates to confidence.
This week choosing just one topic was a hard thing to do. Big tournaments bring deficiencies front and center and require analysis. Hundreds of ideas and questions ran through my head and with only three wrestlers entered in the tournament I had plenty of free time. I decided on writing about a dilemma I had when choosing what order to teach… What should be taught first? What is essential? Though I never reached a conclusion, it lead me to reframed my schema for pushing the pace in matches. Condition is one of the greatest tools that you can possess as a wrestler, but it seems too often the ability to use it escapes us.
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