Coach's Corner #2 - Composure in the Corner


In this week's installation of Coach’s Corner brought to you by The WrestlingVault.com, we discuss proper behavior when coaching in an athlete’s corner. We both have come a long way in this area of coaching. As young coaches coming out of college, we did not know it but we had a lot to learn, and you will hear about our growing pains in this week's video. 

Upcoming Topics

  • Scheduling - Importance of a coach having control of his programs schedule
  • Communicating with athletes and parents
  • Marketing 101 for your program!  Promoting wrestling in your community

Culture as a Coaching Staff

  • The head coach is responsible for his staff. Coaches will often behave the same way the head coach behaves. 

  • It is important to have discussion as a coaching staff on the way that you plan to behave.
    • “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.  -Haim Ginot

Positive Coaching - Wrestler/Coach Relationship

  • Positive Coaching
  • Tell them what to do, not what not to do.  
    • Get to your ties vs. Don’t reach
    • Short choppy steps vs. Don’t cross your feet
    • Get to your #1 vs. You have to score
    • Head and hands low vs. He’s gonna shoot
  • One coach giving instructions, assistant coach positive and giving score/time/choice updates.
  • Fantastic example of how a corner should be operated. Cody Brewer/Matt Storniolo Northwestern’s Sebastian Riveria vs. Iowa’s Spencer Lee 2018 Midlands Championships

Common Mistakes Coach’s Will Make: Coach and Official Relationship

  • Coming to the head table hot
    • Walk to head table - When approaching the head table to speak with an official focus on slowing yourself down. Even try walking slower than normal.
    • Come to the table ready with a question and prepare to ask the question calmly. 
  • Badgering an official for a call
    • Getting on an official because you want him to make a favorable call does not work and will often work against you. It is important to focus on coaching your athlete with positivity and also to let the official do their thing. 
  • Losing your composure in front of your athletes
    • When you lose your temper in front of your athletes it is sending a message that things are contentious, which can be bad for any athlete getting ready for a match. 
  • Assign a coach to approach the table before the competition.  
  • Questioning a call vs. asking for clarity on rule or position. 
    • Make sure your first words to an official are positive, and are coming in the form of a question. For example, when questioning an out of bounds call, let your official know he is doing a good job with the match so far but you are unsure of an out of bounds call he just made. Tell the official what you saw and then ask the official to please tell you what he or she saw. If there is an assisting official always ask the official to consult with that official. 
  • Sending video to an official
    • We will often send match clips to officials after an event. Matches are sent to both help an official, and to give the official praise for a job well done. After an event ask your athletic director for the contact information for the officials and then send them a match or two with instructions on what to look for. Ask the official to watch the clips and to give any feedback on a situation. Make sure you are not trying to prove an official wrong and prove yourself right and instead are attempting to create a working relationship with the official so that you both can be on the same page. 

Allow your athletes to pick their corner

  • If you have the ability, let athletes choose who they want in the corner. It’s not about you,  especially in post season when you may not have as many wrestlers to work with. 
  • Coach #1 gives instruction and should be the “HC” in the corner. Coach #2 should be staying positive, giving situational information (time left, period choice, scouting information). 
  • Keep parents out of the corner and away from the mat.  
    • Discuss the importance at the Parents Meeting at the beginning of the year.  Easier to address this at the beginning of the year rather than mat-side, which you may have to do. 

Dual Meet Coaching

  • Dual Meet vs. Individual Tournament: In a dual meeting you will have 2 to 6, or even more coaches involved in a match. It is important that the head coach gives out roles to his coaching staff.
  • Setup matters. Is there a corner? If so, two coaches in the corner and if you're able to have certain coaches per weight classes, utilize them. Lightweight Coach: 106-132, Middleweight Coach: 138-160, Upperweight Coach: 170-Hwt.  
  • During lightweight matches, middleweight and upperweight coaches should be warming athletes up, encouraging positive self talk, and being a source of comfort and confidence. After the match, coaches can maximize conditioning with stance in motion or sprint work.
  • Athletes are not coaches. They should be focusing on their own match.  
    • Instruct athletes to focus on their match and not to ride the emotional roller coaster of a dual. Conserve energy. 
  • Let a wrestler build into a match and wrestle his style. Putting pressure on an athlete by telling him “we need six” is mentally and physically exhausting . 

College Corner vs. Youth or High School Corner

  • College wrestling is simply different than youth and high school wrestling when it comes to coaching in the corner. Many coaches get their coaching/corner etiquette from television or college matches being live streamed, which is not helpful in many instances. College officials often have a lot of experience and are paid to handle coaches being aggressive in nature; that is not the case in high school and youth wrestling.
MI Grappler