Our team finished the state tournament the third weekend in February. I am happy to say that we came out on top and won our 13th consecutive VA State Championship. Now that a couple weeks have passed we are well on our way to preparing for #14. One of the cornerstones of our off-season routine is strength training. This is a routine we have had proven and unarguable success with.
Coaches need to develop independent thinking and educate their athletes. Getting feedback from athletes in different ways, helps to see if they are understanding the teaching points. It doesn’t matter what the coach is thinking, if the athlete isn’t on the same page. If athletes aren’t understanding or just aren’t listening the coach can find out quick by getting feedback from them.
I talked to my athletes about how we need to plan for our lineup next year. The ability to spread out athletes to cover all 14 weights can make or break a lot of teams. Especially with the newer weight classes. The elimination of a middle weight and the addition of an upper weight has put a strain on many programs and wrestlers. Extra planning is often necessary to keep from sitting middle weights. I wanted to address this now while we have time to gain good weight if needed.
I asked each of my high school athletes to write 1-2 weights that they thought they would be at next year. I made it clear this would not be concrete. I just wanted to see what everyone is thinking and go from there. I discovered something interesting. What I thought was something I have always made clear, clearly wasn’t.
A lot of my athletes, especially the younger ones, wrote down the same weight class they went this year or even lower. My belief is that high school athletes should be trying to put on as much muscle and get as strong as possible when they can. This leads to sturdy athletes and helps in their success. Also, if you have any aspirations of wrestling in college you would be wise to show up as strong as possible.
Many younger athletes lose matches because they just aren’t as strong as the upperclassmen. They need to understand that one of the main goals of the off season HAS TO BE to get as strong as possible. This is the prime time to make strength gains because you are not tearing your body down as much as during the season.
I know that their are many factor to take in when planning an off season but the fact remains, you have to get stronger to succeed in wrestling. The off season is the best time to make strength gains. So now matter what your competition schedule is in the off season, I would guess it isn’t as rigorous as in season. So you have to take advantage of this time to make the necessary gains.
In know that there are many different situations and types of athletes. I am not suggesting that everyone should have the exact same goals. The large majority of high school wrestlers should have strength gains as one of the big pieces of their off season puzzle.
So I have the ammo for my next speech. I will be educating my guys on how to plan for the next season. You can bet that making off season strength gains is going to be a big part and gaining some good weight will most likely be a by product of this.