The Season is Over

By Clint Koedam for The Predicament

High school state is in the books.  Yet another tournament put on in fine fashion by our athletic association.  Quick shout out to all the workers who make the event so awesome!  The entire state benefits from the sweat of so many!

Now that the season has come to a close, it is also time to reflect on what worked and what needs to be improved.  This may include a simple schedule change, philosophy change, or maybe a revamp of the entire system.  Hopefully the latter is not the case.  Everyone also has 9 months to improve as coaches.

Improvement as a coach is our #1 priority from now until next November.  We owe it to those kids who walk through the doors to be at the top of our game in all areas of program management.  I get that there aren’t a ton of wrestling coaches’ clinics out there during the spring and summer months, but this doesn’t get us off the hook in a time where everything is at the tip of our fingers.  Oddly enough, a coach clinic may not be the best use of your time and money anyway.

Let’s start off with an easy suggestion.  A simple way to improve yourself is to find another coach that you respect and pick his brain.  This is one of my favorite things to do because I get to pick the questions that I need answers to.  In addition, I feel this is productive because the coach you choose to talk to is a real life, high school coach, who is in the grind just like you.  I love to listen to Coach Manning at the University of Nebraska camp.  The problem is the way he runs his program simply doesn’t fit a guy in a high school in the great state of Iowa.  The UNL strength coach may share some cool stuff too.  I run into the same problem in that it isn’t doable at the high school level.  Finding some time to chat with a coach you respect gives you a chance to be more focused on your needs.  I think most coaches would find it an honor to be able to share with you.

Next, YouTube has a ton of free videos on about any topic under the sun.  It is a great place to find some new technique.  We are also all aware of the pay sites out there too which are great as well.  If you’re a little on the tight side, just hit the YouTube search.  There are tons of reputable folks out there with free stuff.  Kolat has a ton of stuff just as an example.  Subscribe to the Coach Insider newsletter which is also full of good technique videos.  I think the bonus to getting stuff online is that you can save it and watch as often as you like.

Even though I am not a huge social media fan, I think Instagram offers up some pretty good stuff!  Compound Wrestling, for example, posts tons of little 2-5 minute technique videos.  If you know Fretwell, you also know that you will have to watch it about 15 times before you figure some of it out.  I am sure there are many others out there with short technique clips to watch.  Social media also offers a pretty simple way to pass it on with a simple share.

If you are a reader, get yourself a good book on coaching, mental training, or whatever you like.  For those of you who don’t like to read, there may be a way you can get a version of the book that reads it to you.  This is always an easy replacement for the radio when you have some windshield time.

Don’t forget about all of the information that can be found on wrestling websites such as the NWCA site.  The blogs and articles on some of these sites are well organize and quick reads.  Website stuff is also easy to share with your coaching staff and probably won’t overwhelm them.  I wouldn’t suggest a book study but a quick article seems fair.

Finally, find some time to chat with some of the guys on your team.  Maybe consider doing some exit interviews with your seniors.  Take the gang out for some pizza and give them an opportunity to share what they see through their eyes.  My athletic director has always told me that is the athlete perspective that matters.  I didn’t like the idea at first, but it does make sense to know what the guys feel is a top notch and what they see as weaknesses of the program.

You may not be ready to dive back in to making yourself a better coach right now and that is fine.  We all need a break.  I encourage you not to put it off too long.  The next nine months will fly by way faster than we think!