Coach's Corner #1 - Length of Practice


Welcome to our first installation of Coach’s Corner with WrestlingVault.com. Here, we’ll  discuss one topic each  week in short form that pertains to high school, middle school or youth wrestling. This week we discuss the proper length of a wrestling practice, the importance of practice plans, and how to structure a typical week of practice. You’ll find an outline of our discussion below. 

Make Up of Practice 

  • Lowell - 1 practice for all levels 50-60 wrestlers
    • First year high school wrestlers are mixed with experienced varsity wrestlers
    • 3:15 or 3:30 pm to 4:45 pm or 5:00 pm
    • 2 full mats
    • Individualized attention comes before and after practice.
  • DCC
    • 2 practices
    • 3pm-4:15pm JV and Frosh
    • Weightlifting, Study Hall, Bible Study, Wrestling Mindset for Varsity from 3:15pm-4:15pm.
    • 4:15pm-6pm Varsity 
    • 6 PM Youth

Regular Practice Length

  • 1 hour and 30 minutes
    • As a coach, you must come to practice prepared. Having a practice plan for every practice is imperative. R.J. writes his practice plans on a google document and shares that with his coaching staff.
    • Short and efficient practices help with engagement of athletes and also helps with my assistant coaches use of time.
      • R.J. - I do not teach more than 3 techniques in a practice, in fact I rarely demonstrate  more than 2.

Training Day Practice Length - 1 hour

  • 1 time per week, typically on Tuesdays. For the Lowell wrestling program, Tuesday is known as the ‘Tough Day’ and our athletes know that they need to be ready to go on Tuesday. On Tuesdays, no new techniques are introduced  and most of the practice is high intensity sparring and live wrestling, with conditioning at the end or mixed in with the live wrestling. 

Pre-match Practice Length - 45 minutes to 1 hour

  • Live Wrestling - short goes 30 seconds to 1 minute.
    • It is important for our athletes to wrestle live the day before a competition. Mitch found that when he only drilled on the day before a competition, his athletes did not perform well on competition day.

Post Season Practice Length - 1 hour or less

  • It is very important to keep your athletes fresh in the postseason and brief practices will help with this. 
  • Individual work is paramount during the postseason. In the postseason, we place  a lot of focus on the individuals that are wrestling  and it is important to have the entire team stick with the program's practices even though there will be athletes whose season is over.

Typical Practice Structure

  • House Cleaning - 10 minutes
  • Warm Up - 10 minutes
  • Technique and Review of Technique
    • Top - 10- 20 minutes
    • Bottom - 10 - 20 minutes
    • Neutral - 10 - 20 minutes
  • Spar - Play Wrestle 
    • Offense - 5 to 10 minutes
    • Defense - 5 to 10 minutes
  • Live Wrestle (Training Day) - 10 - 20 minutes
  • Conditioning (Training Day) - 10- 20 minutes
    • I will often mix live wrestling and conditioning together
  • Bring it up
    • Positive criticism to certain athletes
    • Individual work with specific athletes

Typical week of practice

  • Monday - Install day
    • Install the new techniques of the week and review techniques of importance from past practices.
  • Tuesday - Training Day
  • Wednesday - Recovery day or match day
  • Thursday - Drill and Spar, review technique
  • Friday - Pre-match practice
  • Saturday- Tournament/Competition
  • Sunday- Lift/Active Rest
MI Grappler