Coach's Corner #3 - Scheduling
In this week's installment of Coach’s Corner brought to you by The WrestlingVault.com, we discuss how to construct a schedule to best fit your program and season.
- Communicating with athletes and parents.
- Marketing 101 for your program! Promoting wrestling in your community.
Who creates your schedule?
- Work with your athletic director to create your schedule. The head wrestling coach should have complete control of the schedule and work together with the athletic director to create the best schedule possible.
- Availability of gym space: Get with your athletic director in the Spring to work on the following year’s schedule. Gym availability is key and it is important to work on reserving time early.
- Budget (Overnight Trips): It is important to work with your administration to get clearance for overnight trips with plenty of lead time.
- Duals vs. Individual Tournaments
- Duals: Allows for more control of the number of matches, and also helps your team prepare for the “team portion” of the postseason.
- Duals also allow for your lesser skilled wrestlers to be a part of the team. The student can still lose, but if they only lose by decision, or simply don’t get pinned, they actually win.
- Individual Tournament: You have to schedule an individual tournament or two in order to prepare your athletes for the individual state tournament. Both DCC and Lowell travel to Ohio for a very competitive 2 day individual state tournament that is extremely helpful in preparing our athletes for the individual postseason.
- Peaking: Create a schedule that will allow your team to peak properly.
- Beginning of Season: Allow for your athletes to have some success if this is possible.
- Middle of Season (January): This should be the time when you test your athletes and push them to compete at their highest level. This will allow you to focus on individual athletes and what specific techniques or other parts of their game they need to work on.
Special Events: These are the opportunities coach’s need to build their program and also create memories for their athletes. During the senior exit interviews for Lowell, we constantly hear about how special the assembly dual or travel opportunities are to our wrestlers. These are the memories they’ll remember for a lifetime.
- Assembly Dual: Talk with your administration about hosting a wrestling dual meet during the school day. Lowell hosted the last 2 assembly duals in our auditorium which allowed for very cool lighting and sound to enhance the environment. It is important to host a team that is comparable in skill level as your team. A match that is competitive is entertaining for all to watch no matter the level of wrestling.
- Pre-College Dual: Work with area college coaches to see if you can schedule a dual before one of their home matches. College coaches are usually motivated to have high school wrestlers on their campus. This will also give your wrestlers an opportunity to see wrestling at the next level.
- Friday Night Duals: The OK White Conference was able to move their conference matches to tri’s/quads on Friday nights with an onsite weigh-in. This allowed the weigh-in used on Friday to count for the competition on Saturday and saved our athletes 6 weigh-ins on the year.
Quality vs. Quantity
- The days of wrestlers getting 60 matches in a year should be gone. Finding quality opponents should allow you to create a schedule that includes shorter days in the gym. An example of how to do this would be to create a dual tournament on a Saturday with 4 to 8 teams that are comparable in skill level, and only wrestle 3 matches. It is important to stress comparable skill levels here. Your athletes need to be tested, but building confidence is also a very important part of the sport of wrestling.
- This has several benefits:
- Start the tournament at 12 pm and end at 5 pm which will allow for a better fan experience and safer travel.
- Wrestlers will get 3 quality matches which will allow for a great week of practice the following week.
- Your athletes will not risk injury on meaningless matches at the end of the day.
- Here is a sample tournament layout with competitive teams.
- Competition with teams of the same division through different regions
- Travel to the west/east side of the state so you are able to prepare your athletes for the individual state tournament.
- Undefeated wrestling seasons are very rare for a wrestler in the Lowell or DCC program. We are constantly trying to test our athletes and find the best, and most comparable competition, we can. This allows us to create practice plans that focus on our weaknesses in order to become the best wrestling team we can be.
- Why travel?
- Experience to prepare for post season
- Simulate Individual State Tournament (2-3 Day event). It’s important to replicate the most important event of the year (multiple times, if possible ).
- How to manage warm-ups and breaks in between rounds.
- Leave the arena in between rounds. Allow your mind and body to rest.
- What a proper morning and breakfast looks like prior to competition.
- Up early, shower, nutritious breakfast, pre-tournament warm-up.
- Different competition
- Allow your wrestlers to engage with wrestlers from different states or regions.
- Competition in another state isn’t necessarily always better. Don’t stigmatize wrestling in a specific state to be “better” or “feared”.
- Different styles or techniques.
- Multiple weigh-ins
- Multiple weigh ins - How to manage weight through day 1 and into day 2.
- No cutting weight during the tournament. You need energy to perform and compete. Eat healthy and in moderation.
- An athlete may have to lose some weight after competition on day 1 or in the morning before weigh-ins on day 2.
- Overnight trips
- Team Building activities/sightseeing.
- Team meals (Subway or Panera Bread Stops)
- Positive conversations in vans/busses. Allows the team to grow together.
- Hotel stays are fun. Some athletes may have never traveled or stayed in a hotel.
- Memories that last a lifetime.
- Parent gatherings/Socialize.