Coaches Corner #11 - Pre-Season Preparation

R.J. Boudro (Lowell) and Mitch Hancock (DCC) discuss pre-season preparation. The talk about their fundraisers, team building activities, strength and conditioning, and Fall training cycle. These coaches come from 2 different types of programs, Lowell is a public school and DCC is a private school, so there are a lot of interesting differences between their 2 successful programs.

Fundraising: Coaches discuss what they do for their fundraisers in the Fall and talk about what they spend their fundraising dollars on.
Golf Outings
DCC had their Golf Outing on Sunday, August 29th and had over 150 golfers. This date is an opportune time to fundraise according to coach Hancock. 
Lowell will hold their golf outing on Saturday, September 11th. R.J. remembers how stressful it was thinking about getting his outing started and recommends that you do not wait and instead set a date and get working. 
Auction - Lowell holds an auction at the end of their outing and auctions off a number of items. One of those items being 10 wrestlers for 2 hours of labor. The winner can have the 10 wrestlers do whatever they need done like spread mulch, attend their child’s birthday party, etc. 
Cornhole or Bag Tournaments
Many programs have taken advantage of the new cornhole craze and started tournaments.  
Bowling Events
Greg Mayer at Warren Woods Tower High School has had a lot of success with this type of fundraiser.
Pie Sale
This is a big fundraiser for Lowell where they raise as much as $8,000 for their program. This fundraiser takes place in October (sell pies) and November (make and distribute pies). The entire program including parents, varsity wrestlers, coaches, youth wrestlers, and alumni work together to sell pies and then hand make anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 apple pies. They work with “A Piece of the Pie Company” to make this fundraiser happen. This is a great way to bring together all stakeholders and is often remembered as a favorite event for wrestlers. 
Resource - Check resources under Coaches Corner to find 2 flyers from Lowell’s golf outing. One is for the team registration and the other is to gather sponsors. 
Team Builders: This time of year you will see a lot of college programs posting pictures of their team going camping, fishing, etc. as a way to bring the team together heading into the season. R.J. and Mitch discuss different team building ideas for the Fall season. They discuss how these team building activities will humanize the head coach. Their wrestlers get to see them in a different environment where they are interacting with their wrestlers somewhere other than the practice room or gym. Athletes get to see their coaches with their families and start to realize that there is more to the coaching staff than just winning and losing. 
Program Picnic - Lowell hosts their team picnic at the end of August. They bring together youth families, varsity families, and alumni and gather at a local park where they float down a river, have a barbeque and potluck, and play games where a youth wrestler will pair up with a varsity wrestler and compete to win a prize. Some examples of games they play are a 3 legged race, a hula-hoop challenge, and a relay race. The winning teams get a medal and a candy bar and the smile on the youth wrestlers faces are priceless. This serves a great opportunity for new parents to network with veteran wrestling parents.
Cabin Weekend - R.J. talks about a weekend he just had with 20 wrestlers on his team where he brought them to his cabin and floated down a river, played spikeball, had bonfires, shot skeet, and ate lots of food. 
Senior Trip - R.J. take his seniors to a leadership camp where they are trained on close quarter combat with actual glock 9MM’s. They get to shoot live rounds at steel targets and learn from one of the worlds best soldiers. 
Ideas for team building opportunities
Service Opportunities
River Floats
Workouts/College: Jug workout, parks, trails, River rafting
Up north
Support Other Sports as a group
Weight Lifting: R.J. and Mitch discuss their philosophies on strength and conditioning in the Fall. R.J. opens up with some of his thoughts on the purpose of weight lifting and some of the struggles that he has faced with his team. He says that do dwell on the number of wrestlers that are not in the room and instead focus on those who show up. He lifts with his guys 2 days per week and will usually have around 6 or 7 wrestlers in the room because of other Fall commitments of the guys in the program (i.e. football and cross country) and says that he used to get really frustrated by this but has since let that go. Lowell uses a program where they lift together and insync and DCC goes with a program where he allows his guys to have a clipboard and pair up with other wrestlers and get through their lift in about 1 hour. This is a program that he did while wrestling at Central Michigan University. Coach Hancock likes to match up his upperclassmen with lowerclassmen. He also gets really creative with his strength and conditioning and stole an activity from Northwestern University where they carry 2, 1 gallon milk jugs filled with water for 30 minutes and run through different exercises. 
Resource - Check resources under Coaches Corner to find DCC and Lowell’s lifting plans.
Wrestling - 8 Week Fall Training Cycle
Lowell has a captains-led practice once a week where his captains use drills they have been doing since their freshman year to get practice started and then they will get into some wrestling. Lowell uses the wrestling vault to go over technique in the pre-season. Coach Boudro shares drills with his athletes through The Vault and his athletes are able to learn technique without coaches in the room. Lowell will also utilize the Michigan Grappler RTC club in Grand Rapids. His wrestlers have a place to train with other wrestlers in the area thanks to the MIG-RTC. 
DCC: Creates a weekly plan for areas of focus. Spend 20-30 minutes in each situation and allow your wrestlers the freedom to spar and grow. Add in some Easy In-Hard outs and live along with conditioning.
2-3x a week recommended
Share Practice Drills/Plans/Techniques with athletes utilizing WrestlingVault.com. 
Week 1: Offensive Setups/Snaps/Sitbacks
Week 2: Re Attacks/ Front Heads/ Chop D
Week 3: High Finishes/ Single D/ Leg D
Week 4: Mat Finishes/Hi-C D/ Knee Slides
Week 5: Underhooks/Shin Whizzar/Standups
Week 6: 2 on 1s/ Crackdown D/ Rear Returns
Week 7: Match Strategy/ Down By 1/ Up by 1
Week 8: Super 32 Taper 

Coaches Meetings: The Fall is a great time to hold your coaches meetings from youth to Varsity. Get nagging administrative things taken care of now instead of waiting for the season to begin.
Administrative Tasks to take care of in the Fall
Forms/Background Checks
Pre-Season Assignments
Pre-Season lineup projections
MI Grappler