Any decent wrestling coach knows that there are no secrets to success. If you work hard, work consistently, and compete with pride, wrestling will give you as good a return on your athleticism as any other sport. There is no magic technique, inner circle, or secret to elevating an athlete. However this lack of secrecy has a dilemma. Many of wrestling’s core skills and most important concepts are so well known, that they have been reduced to cliche. Expressions like, “hips in”, “back pressure”, and “two moves” are repeated so often that they are essentially meaningless to most athletes, and coaches are left struggling to relate some of the sport’s most important concepts.
This is where body leveraging comes in. Carolyn Wester, MIT Grad and head coach at California based Wrestling Prep, has developed a series of exercises that are designed to develop not only strength, flexibility, balance, and explosiveness, but also revolve around positions and skills that are at the core of wrestling. There are three benefits to her system which are immediately apparent.
Firstly, they are a tremendous aid to coaches who want their practices to run more efficiently. Coaches struggle to get the full benefit of practice, while realizing that the longer practice runs the less receptive athletes become, and the higher their chance of injury. Body leveraging not only offers the opportunity to work on wrestling during the warmup and cooldown, but also curtails the amount of time spent focusing on abstract concepts during the teaching portion.
Develop the Feel
Secondly, body leveraging introduces important concepts by feel as opposed to intellect. Penetration, back pressure, level change etc., are easy to say but hard to understand, and even harder to implement while performing complex movements. By performing body leveraging, athlete’s bodies are placed directly in the scenarios they will experience in live wrestling, bridging the gap between feel and intellect that has always been the nemesis of coaches.
Expose & Address Developmental Weaknesses
Third, body leveraging reveals and develops the limitations in strength, flexibility and physical maturity that often underlie young athlete’s failures. Many wrestlers struggle with certain techniques simply because their bodies are not ready to perform them. This can be because athletes are physically immature, or because of their physical predispositions. In addition to revealing these limitations, body leveraging offers the exercises to work directly upon the underdeveloped area, allowing for rapid, specialized improvement as opposed to frustration and confusion.
For a better idea of what body leveraging looks like and how it aids wrestlers, take a look at the video from when Carolyn Wester visited the Christiansburg Blue Demon Wrestling Club.