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Wrestling Tryout Secrets! Picking the best team from your tryouts!

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Wrestling Tryout Secrets! Wrestling cuts are going to be difficult to make. You have to decide between potential and skill with a little attitude. Even though wrestling is an individual sport, the team aspect is still important. And, you will have tryouts to see who is going to make the team. It’s just like any sport that way. You need to put together a team of wrestlers that is going to be able to win individually, so you can have a team win. That’s why it is important to do it properly now! Wrestling Tryout Secrets is designed to help take some of the gamble and guesswork out of selecting wrestlers for your team. I mean, you never really know how a wrestler is going to turn out in the end, but you can make a good assumption based on what you see in your tryout camp. To help you along in the selection of your team, I have provided the following resources: •

A strategy on choosing the right wrestlers for your team and the characteristics that make great team wrestlers.

A Selection Matrix that is going to help you decide which wrestlers have to go and which wrestlers to keep. It also gives you an opportunity to provide wrestlers who are on the cusp a little coaching direction to help them over the top.

In the spirit of Wrestling Drills and Practice Plan, I have included a few different practice plans that you can use for your tryout camps.

Coaching isn’t easy – especially at tryout time. You have to end up crushing a few dreams while making others come true. This plan is going to aid you in making the best overall decision for your team. Best of Luck!


Building Your Team OK, how many wrestlers? This is subjective in many cases, but I can offer you a few ideas on coming up with the numbers on your team. • • •

How many weight classes are you going to compete in? Do you have enough talent in each of the weight classes to compete? Do you have a restriction on the number of wrestlers you can carry to make up a team for a meet or match?

Taking into account all of these questions, you may want to carry enough wrestlers to compete in each division, while remembering that you don’t score points in the team match if you lose in the individual ones. You can usually find enough wrestlers to fill most weight classes – but you need to decide how many you want to carry; how many you can coach; and how many are going to make an impact on your team result.

Documenting the tryouts Many teams have attempted to equalize the playing field and have adopted a strict ‘documentation’ process for the coaches to follow. This ensures that everyone gets a fair shake during the tryouts, and forces the coaches to be accountable. Why did you make the choice to cut one wrestler and keep another? It will all be down in the documentation. That’s why I have come up with the Selection Matrix – it provides a great opportunity for you to evaluate the wrestlers that have come out for tryouts – and it provides you with the necessary documentation to make sure you are selecting the right wrestlers. The Team Selection Matrix I have put together a system that allows the coach to make fact-based decisions on their wrestlers. Here’s how this system works: •

List all of the tryout wrestlers from top to bottom on the Matrix

Decide on the 3 or 5 most important selection criteria for your team (I have examples below)

Apply a different weighting to the selection criteria, based on what you think are the most important traits.

Each criteria is scored between one and 10. These scores are multiplied by the weighting percentage.


The scores after the weighting will be added together to come up with a final tally that is used to choose the team.

You may come up with different selection criteria on your own, but here are three areas you can start with: • • •

Wrestling skills / technical ability Attitude and coachability Athleticism and potential

Wrestling skills and tactical ability In wrestling, you have your technical wrestlers and your wrestlers that grapple on brute strength and you are going to have to decide which ones are going to make up your team. You will also need to figure out who are your bread and butter winners, and which ones are developmental projects. Sometimes a wrestler has a great technique but they aren’t very strong or quick, when other times a wrestler is quick and strong – but their technique leaves something to be desired. Once you decide the type of team you want, you can bring in the wrestlers that you want – according to what they bring the team. Wrestling is a sport where technical skills are important. The ability execute certain moves during the course of a match is critical. Points are scored in wrestling due to the ability to maneuver better than your opponent. Sheer strength and speed are not going to guarantee points scored in wrestling. Tacticians are important members of your team – not only because they are often the best wrestlers – but they are able to assist other wrestlers in developing their skills. The best wrestlers have a combination of skills to go along with good strength and speed. This is still a strength sport, and the players have to be in excellent condition – but without technical skills they may not be able to reach their full potential. What’s more interesting, is that often times a technical wrestler can beat a wrestler that has a little more strength or quickness. The technical wrestler can often subdue the speed and strength of a quicker and stronger wrestler. Note: In my selection Matrix, I have weighted wrestlers and skills as 60%


Attitude and coachability If I am the coach this is one area that I place a great deal of importance on. While you can have a wrestler with average skill and a great attitude – and they can improve their skills with practice, the wrestler with good skill and a bad attitude is hard to change. That’s why I might lean towards wrestlers with good attitudes. A good attitude sets an example for the rest of the wrestlers on the team. The best wrestlers usually have the best attitudes. It is that simple. Since wrestling is an individual sport, it doesn’t rely on a team concept to win on the mat. Yet everyone needs to be working together when a wrestler has a match. If you have a few wrestlers who think they are above the team, or they don’t need to put out the same effort as other wrestlers on the team, they can affect an entire mentality on the team. You can select wrestlers who have a questionable attitude in the hopes that the others with a good attitude will sway them. You can also keep a close eye on these wrestlers so that they don’t become a distraction to the other wrestlers. A big attitude problem isn’t something I would take on my team. The wrestlers with good attitudes are great motivators for the wrestlers that do have the better skills and they can be valuable in pushing those wrestlers to greater heights. When I am putting together my roster and I have the final positions to fill, I fill it based on attitude over skill every time. Attitude and coachability get a 30% on my Selection Matrix.

Athleticism and potential This can be hard for some coaches to gauge, but I think it is important. All you have to do is think of the wrestlers that can make fantastic takedowns and are great technical wrestlers, but are really lazy when it comes to practicing. Or, you might have a wrestler that has excellent speed and strength, but when it comes to great technique – it just isn’t there. Each of these wrestlers has his or her own potential and you have to decide if you can tap into it. Athleticism is an important tool in determining the quality of a wrestler. Some wrestlers have skill, but very little overall athleticism. You are going to have to do a balancing act – in my experience, there is more potential in wrestlers with excellent athleticism and lower skills than with skill and little athleticism.


Potential is a funny thing. But, identifying it can be a gold mine for a coach. Uncovered talent is all over the place, but some wrestlers need a little more coaching than others. Every coach wants to find that diamond in the rough – so-to-speak. Especially if it is your job to find the next big star for the local secondary or high school team. So, put some stock in potential and see if you can cultivate a new wrestler or two every year. I place 10% on athleticism and potential in the selection criteria. Making your selections Well, after the three main areas that we have talked about, you could add some more of your own to make the process more specific. But, this will get you started. Now, following is an example of how the Selection Matrix works. You may alter it and adjust it, but I find that this works for me. I have included one sample matrix, and then a blank matrix that you can use for your next try out. Note: The key to making the Selection Matrix work is if you are honest about a wrestler’s skills. Don’t count anyone out unless they are really not up to par in the three skill areas. Some wrestlers may surprise you – others may not. But they all deserve the same chance. You do want the best team, don’t you?


Tactical skill score 1 to 10

Tactical skill weighted (x60%)

Attitude Coachable 1 to 10

A and C weighted (x30%0

Athleticism and Potential 1 to 10

A and P weighted (x10%)

Total Score (all weighted scores)

Decision

Comments

Jaxan Stevens

6

3.6

8

2.4

3

.3

6.3

Yes

Great attitude, can work on being in shape

Nat Brown

4

2.4

5

1.5

8

.8

4.7

No

Great potential, but maybe too raw

Danny Craft

9

5.4

4

1.2

6

.6

7.2

Yes

We can work on his attitude

Anthony Fucilli

3

1.8

9

2.7

9

.9

5.4

Graham Stone

8

4.8

8

2.4

6

.6

7.8

Yes

Could be our star wrestler

Stan Rhodes

5

3.0

6

1.8

6

.6

5.4

Yes

Modest skills in all area

Robbie Dawes

9

5.4

2

.6

6

.6

6.6

Yes

Poor attitude – can it change?

Player Name

Pos.

Diamond in the rough?


Player Name

Pos.

Positional skill score 1 to 10

Positional skill weighted (x60%)

Attitude Coachable 1 to 10

A and C weighted (x30%0

Athleticism and Potential 1 to 10

A and P weighted (x10%)

Total Score

Decision

Comments


Practice Plans for Tryouts Here are three basic tryout practice plans that you can use for your wrestling tryouts. These plans are based on the drills included in Wrestling Drills and Practice Plans:

Tryout Practice Plan #1 0 to :10 – Warm up joints (lifts, bridges, etc.) :10 to :15 - Stretching :15 to :20 – Warm up laps around the gym :20 to :35 – Ride the Hips (11) – Maintain control :35 to :40 – Water break :40 to :50 – Consecutive 5 second takedowns (34) great competitive drill :50 to 1:10 – Chest stick (12) – Opponent control is key 1:10 to 1:20 – Conditioning 1:20 to 1:30 – Back to back scramble (12) – Control or quick to the feet? 1:30 to 1:45 – 1st to takedown (20) – See which wrestlers are aggressive 1:45 to 2:00 – Cool down and end of tryout practice talk


Tryout Practice Plan #2 0 to :10 - Warm up joints (lifts, bridges, etc.) :10 to :15 - Stretching :15 to :20 – Warm up laps around the gym :20 to :35 – 1st to takedown (20) – See which wrestlers are aggressive :35 to :40 – Water break :40 to :50 – Consecutive 5 second takedowns (34) great competitive drill :50 to 1:10 – Neutral Scramble (14) – Get back to the feet 1:10 to 1:20 – Single and double leg attacks (15) – Quick move to takedown 1:20 to 1:30 – Conditioning 1:30 to 1:45 – 7 Second pin (28) – Those who pin can win 1:45 to 2:00 – Cool down and end of tryout practice talk


Tryout Practice Plan #3 0 to :10 - Warm up joints (lifts, bridges, etc.) :10 to :15 - Stretching :15 to :20 – Warm up laps around the gym :20 to :35 – 1st to takedown (20) – See which wrestlers are aggressive :35 to :40 – Water break :40 to :50 – Push the body (33) – Good thrust is basic technique :50 to 1:10 – 1st to Ride Takedown (29) – Who has the moves? 1:10 to 1:20 – Single and double leg attacks (15) – Quick move to takedown 1:20 to 1:30 – 7 Second pin (28) – Those who pin can win 1:30 to 1:45 – Hold the base (8) – Good basic technique – who can knock it off? 1:45 to 1:55 – Consecutive 5 second takedowns (34) great competitive drill 1:55 to 2:00 – Coach wrap up and cool down


Wrestling Drills