• Let’s Get Organized-Selecting and Educating Coaches

    by Morgan Whittemore | Sep 30, 2015

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    Let’s Get Organized-Selecting and Educating Coaches

            by Dennis A. Johnson, EdD 

            The recruitment and training (education) of youth wrestling coaches should be based on a sound fundamental philosophy.  I discussed the “athlete first, winning second” philosophy which emphasizes life skill development in the most recent blog.  Coaches at the very highest levels have been successful utilizing this type of a philosophy; e.g., John Wooden (UCLA basketball national champion) and Tony Dungy (NFL Super Bowl champion).  Hopefully program administrators can develop such a philosophy and recruit coaches who can agree to align themselves with such a philosophy for their youth wrestling program.
           Again, the Youth Coaching Manual produced by the NWCA is an excellent guide for thoughts on the selection of coaches.  The manual offers practice plans, parent education, and competition guidelines.  If selected coaches are not a physical education teacher educator or have some type of coaching certification they should be encouraged to participate in one of the National Federation of High School’s on-line coaching education programs.  The Fundamentals of Coaching course delivers research-based content in the areas of training, rest and recovery, hydration, growth and development. 
           Additionally, the NHFS also offers a wrestling-specific on-line course entitled Coaching Wrestling: Sport Specific Course which was developed by the NWCA. It offers information on risk management and demonstrates the basic tactical-technical maneuvers associated with wrestling. This course would be of special interest to inexperienced coaches who have limited knowledge in the tactical-technical aspects of wrestling.
           Finally a note of caution, coaches who may agree with program philosophy during the selection process may not actually “walk the talk” when competition commences.   McCallister, Blinde, Weiss, and Windee found in a survey of youth coaches that a coach’s stated philosophy was not implemented during the heat of competition (1).  Program administrators and parents should constantly monitor recruited coaches to assure that they are subscribing to the program philosophy of the youth wrestling program
    “Find a way and make it happen”….dj

    References: McCallister, S.G., Blinde, E.M., & Weiss, W.M. (2000).  Teaching values and implementing philosophies: Dilemmas of the youth sport coach. Physical Educator, 57.1, 35.

    Youth Program Wrestling Coaches: Let’s Get Organized-Selecting and Educating Coaches
    Dennis A. Johnson, EdD
      Associate Professor-Jamestown Community College (SUNY)
      Former wrestling coach &
    author of Wrestling Drills for the Mat and Mind

  • CEO for the Total Program-Aligning With All Age Groups

    by Morgan Whittemore | Sep 30, 2015

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    CEO for the Total Program-Aligning With All Age Groups

            by Dennis A. Johnson, EdD 

            As mentioned in the past, I work with personnel from the Institute for the Study of Youth Sport at Michigan State University to deliver the NWCA Leadership Academy at the annual summer wrestling convention.  This program is designed to educate collegiate coaches on how to develop and utilize CEO skills to manage their programs.  The high school head coach however, is not unlike the collegiate coach in that he/she is the Corporate Executive Officer (CEO) for their school and community’s wrestling program.  Thus the coaches should become experienced and efficient in the areas of communication, program promotion, safety, ethics, fund-raising, and in promoting educational values of wrestling.
           Another aspect that high school coaches should have an understanding is that of the stages of growth and development of children and adolescents.  Coaches also must be cognizant of the varying levels of maturation within age groups and design practice and competition accordingly.  Even in the varsity room, with wrestlers aged anywhere from 14-19 there is a wide variance in physical, mental, and social maturity.  Special efforts should be made to meet the needs of all individuals and that might even mean having some wrestlers involved in total all-out live combat wrestling, while other less-developed (physically and technically) might spend time sparring (50% go’s) and/or in wrestling-related game play to improve technique.
          Martens (1) points to two classic studies with implications for youth wrestling, in which 50% of the players in the Little League World Series were found to be one year older in anatomical age while the pitchers, first basemen, and left fielders were nearly two years older in anatomical age (Note: who usually win’s in elementary wrestling age-group tournaments?...the older and more physically/emotionally mature individuals!).  Further, he notes that only about 25% of elementary aged stars remain the stars in high school according to Clarke (2).  This has huge implications for middle school and youth programs.  Therefore the coach should set practice schedules and place LIMITS on the length of the practice time and the season which are appropriate for specific age-groups. 
          Coaches should refer to the NWCA Youth Sport Manual which suggests young and inexperienced wrestlers should not practice for more than 75 minutes and participate in at-most a 10 week season.  Older and more experienced elementary and middle school wrestlers will find 75-90 minute practices appropriate with a three month season.
    “Find a way and make it happen”….dj 


     1. Martens, R.  (2012). Successful coaching. Champaign, IL:  Human Kinetics

      2. Clarke, H. (1968).  Characteristics of young athletes, Kinesiology Review, 33-42.

    Scholastic Wrestling Coaches:
     CEO for the Total Program-Aligning With All Age Groups
    Dennis A. Johnson, EdD
    Associate Professor-Jamestown Community College (SUNY)
    Former wrestling coach & author of Wrestling Drills for the Mat and Mind

  • Let’s Get Organized-Talent Development Thoughts

    by Morgan Whittemore | Sep 30, 2015

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    Let’s Get Organized-Talent Development Thoughts

            by Dennis A. Johnson, EdD 

             I recently organized and administered a coaching education program in conjunction with a summer wrestling camp in a local Pennsylvania community.  There were several youth coaches in attendance who raised concerns they found difficult in terms of conducting practices and program administration in general.  They struggled with many of the realities that come with coaching a youth sport.  For instance…How to keep kids on task? How to make practice work for a group that has participants ranging in age from five to twelve?  How to deal with parent expectations?  All great questions, however, the most alarming concern that was brought forward had to do with retention rate (i.e., wrestlers quitting the sport before they entered the junior high program-grade 7).  One particular coach noted their program may have 50 participants in their youth program and yet be lucky to have 2 or 3 come out in junior high.
             We analyzed the timeline of their program and although I am speaking from     Pennsylvania, it mirrors the schedule of programs in many other areas of the country.  This youth program began in November, similar to the start of the scholastic season and the participants continued for a month after the completion of the high school season in order to compete in Junior Olympic state tournaments.  That is over five months of practice and sitting in gyms on weekend’s waiting and watching competition-for children!  Research indicates that this certainly is not the best approach in terms of talent development for young people.
            The first question regarding talent development (TD) is; does one want to be a 10-year-old state champion, a scholastic state champion, NCAA champion, or possibly even an Olympic or World champion?  If the answer is the higher level goal, then let’s look at what the talent development research has found.  Entry or the initial phase of TD (i.e., youth wrestling ages 5-11) should find the child trying a variety of sports and the focus should be on having FUN and developing fundamental skills (1).  Summary research results “emphasizes the importance of children NOT specializing in sports too early, of focusing on fun and development early, and having supportive but not overbearing parents (p. 551)” (2).
            In sum, youth wrestling should find kids rolling around on the mats having fun!  And certainly not for a five month season but rather for a 6-8 week period which would allow kids to sample other sports like gymnastics, swimming, indoor soccer, hockey, and so on.  However above all else, the wrestling experience MUST BE FUN!!!!!  Check out the Youth Coaches Resource Manual at NWCA for more information.
    “Find a way and make it happen”….dj


    1. Gould, D., Dieffenbach, K., & Moffett, A. (2002).  Psychological talent and its development in

      Olympic champions.  Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 177-210.

    2. Weinberg, R.S., & Gould, D. (2015).  Foundations of sport and exercise psychology. Champaign IL:  Human Kinetics.

    NWCA Sport Blog
        Youth Program Wrestling Coaches:  Let’s Get Organized-Talent Development Thoughts 
    Dennis A. Johnson, EdD
    Associate Professor-Jamestown Community College (SUNY)
    Former wrestling coach & author of Wrestling Drills for the Mat and Mind


  • Time to Train the Next You!

    by Morgan Whittemore | Sep 24, 2015
    Blog Header

    Time to Train the Next You!

            by Dennis A. Johnson, EdD 

             I work with personnel from the Institute for the Study of Youth Sport at Michigan State University to deliver the NWCA Leadership Academy at the annual summer wrestling convention.  This program is designed to educate collegiate coaches on how to develop and utilize CEO skills to manage their programs.  Hopefully, the more educated college coaches become in the areas of communication, program promotion, safety, ethics, fund-raising, and promoting educational values; the more our sport will evolve and grow.  As a facilitator in that program, I was surprised to learn that a large number of coaches even at the highest level have never been enrolled in a coaching foundation class or participated in a coaching education/certification program.

            Coaches have been recently listed as the most important influence on young athletes in a recent survey by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (2011).  Therefore, experienced high school coaches should take it upon themselves and work to help mentor and educate our next generation of coaches.  Coaches might encourage  newly-recruited coaches in their programs who do not possess a physical education teaching degree or some type of coaching certification enroll in the National Federation of High School’s coaching programs.  Specifically, the Fundamentals of Coaching course delivers research-based content in the areas of training, rest and recovery, hydration, growth and development, and philosophy development.  However, possibly the most important topic for a scholastic wrestling program is that of educational athletics, in other words learning to become a transformational coach and emphasizing the teaching of life skills. The cost for the course ranges by state, e.g., North Carolina is $35 while coaches in Pennsylvania will pay $50.  Also, in some states such as North Carolina all new hires in public schools must take and pass the course in order to coach.

             The NHFS also offers a wrestling-specific on-line course entitled Coaching Wrestling: Sport Specific Course which was developed by the NWCA. It offers information on risk management and the very basic tactical-technical aspects of wrestling. This course would be of special interest to new coaches who have limited knowledge in the tactical-technical aspects of wrestling.

            The research is pretty clear that coaches who participate in and complete some type of coaching education program that emphasizes educational coaching and the development of life skills have a much higher retention rate from one year to the next.  In one study Little League coaches who participated in a coaching education program had only a 5% dropout rate from one year to the next compared to a control group whose dropout rate was 29% (2).  So, experienced high school coaches should approach this season with the intention of training the next YOU by introducing future coaches to a coaching education program.

    “Find a way and make it happen”….dj


    1. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. (2011).  What sport means in America: A study of sport’s role in society.  Journal of Coaching Education, 4, 2-27.


    2. Barnett, N.P., Smoll, F.L., & Smith, R E. (1992). Effects of enhancing the coach-athlete relationships on youth sport attrition.  The Sport Psychologist6, 111-127.


                                                                                                  NWCA Sport Blog
                                                                 High School Coaches: Time to Train the Next YOU!
                                                                                          Dennis A. Johnson, EdD
                                                       Associate Professor-Jamestown Community College (SUNY)
                                                Former wrestling coach & author of Wrestling Drills for the Mat and Mind

  • Should I start pushing my child down the path of expertise at age 5

    by Admin User | Nov 26, 2013

    10 Years and 10,000 Hours to Become an Expert, Should I Start Pushing My Child Down the Path of Expertise at Age 5?

    You may have heard that it takes 10,000 hours and 10 years to become an expert in music, dance, sport, novel writing, and many endeavors. This comes from the research of K. Anders Ericsson(1). This finding has created misperceptions in the sporting community.

    When sport parents and some coaches hear that an athlete needs 10 & 10,000 to become an expert they begin the process immediately. It is better to get those hours starting at age 5, so that at 15 my daughter is an expert volleyball player, correct?

    Incorrect; most young athletes do not respond well to what Ericsson calls “deliberate practice”. This is repetitive, monotonous practice of working on your skills every day to become an expert. Deliberate practice is focused on working on skills that you are not necessarily performing well.

    Young athletes are motivated by getting better, but also by fun activities that keep them engaged in movement. Making sport about training skills (especially ones they have not mastered) makes it feel like a job and much of the joy can be lost. Most importantly, when children are in the fun and fundamentals stage of development you want to facilitate their passion for sport. A focus on deliberate practice too early can thwart the passion for sport(2). I am not suggesting that deliberate practice is unnecessary, only that a focus on it too early can be detrimental to the motivation of the young athlete.

    Another misperception of this 10 & 10,000 expertise principle is that parents decide it has to be all in one sport. Thus, the parents decide for the child to specialize in one sport and train 12 months per year. Big mistake - what we are learning is that many elite athletes actually play multiple sports through their adolescent years. Furthermore, many athletes that quit feel a lack of control over sport participation decisions as well as a feeling of wanting to do something else (3). This goes directly against a parent’s desire for a child to develop into an expert. Instead, the parent has been pushing the child to the point of leaving the sport.

    The final misperception of Ericsson’s 10 and 10,000 finding is that every hour counts toward the 10,000. Wrong; athletes that are going through the motions because they need a break from training but aren’t getting it, feel entrapped in their sport and not allowed to leave, or are just bored and not having fun are not ticking the counter. To become an expert the athlete must be engaged in quality practice where development goals exist, there is attention to the execution of the skills, the athlete is providing herself feedback and adapting, and a competent coach is overseeing the process and facilitating development.

    Do not assume that just because your child goes to the gym that he is one hour closer to become an expert. The decisions on sport participation and how they are made influence greatly if a child will be intrinsically motivated to engage in deliberate practice when the time is appropriate (see the long term athlete development model for more information at cs4l.ca).

    Common Belief: Youth athletes should immediately engage in the deliberate practice needed to reach 10 years and 10,000 hours and thus enhance their chances of becoming an expert.

    Science says… That rushing an athlete in to deliberate practice may lead to the child leaving the sport prior to becoming an expert, or sometime after. Children can wait until they develop a passion for the sport and reach the train to train stage to intensify their sport participation.

    1. Ericsson, K.A. (July-August, 2007). Making of an expert. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved at http://www.uvm.edu/~pdodds/files/papers/others/everything/ericsson2007a.pdf
    2. Cote, J., Baker, J., & Abernethy, B. (2003). From play to practice. In Expert Performance in Sport, J. Starkes & K. Anders Ericsson (Eds).  Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL.
    3. Weinberg, R. S., & Gould, D. (2011). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology (5th Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Envisioning Elite Status: The Foundation for Legendary Branding

    by Coyte Cooper | Dec 03, 2012

    Coyte Cooper, Ph.D. - CEO of Elite Level Sport Marketing

    December 3, 2012

    Our society is drawn to individuals and organizations who are able to achieve high levels of success.  I have to admit that I am a person who falls into this category as well.  As an athlete, I was always searching for ways to gain an advantage so I could reach a peak level of performance.  However, as I have grown as a leader, I have become far more interested in learning about unique individuals who have the ability to get the most out of the people that they are working with in a group environment.  Naturally, as a former athlete, this has led me to studying the philosophies of some of the all-time coaching “greats” in college sport (see suggested books: John Wooden [Wooden on Leadership], Dean Smith [The Carolina Way]).  As I have read these books (and many others), I have learned that a leader’s vision serves as the foundation for success in all elite sport organizations.  My hope is that I can provide some clarity on the steps that are necessary for leaders (administrators, coaches, and marketers) to build a solid organizational culture for their program.  I believe that this is an important step for building the brand of your organization and/or program.

    Steps to Establishing a Solid Program Brand:

    1. Contemplate a Specific Program Vision: One of the first steps that all leaders should consider when attempting to build their brand is to take the time to establish a vision for the program.  In simple terms, this means sitting down as a staff to determine exactly what the organization would like to achieve in the long-run.  For coach Wooden, this meant creating a vision of UCLA being the premier college basketball program far before they were at a competitive level. It was his vision that set the tone for UCLA becoming one of the greatest teams in the history of college athletics.  There must be a program dream that guides the decisions of the staff on a year-to-year basis.

    2. Establish a Themed Program Mission: If a vision is a "program's dream," then a mission statement is an organized outline on how an organization will achieve established greatness on a regular basis.  While mission statements can take a variety of different formats, the most important thing for leaders to understand is that they have the potential to guide (and inspire) staff members and student-athletes each day when implemented properly.  For this to occur, administrators and coaches must first clearly identify the concepts that they want their program members to embrace.  In leadership, these concepts are often referred to as core values.  As illustrated in the chart below, the "Pyramid of Success" was a themed program mission for the UCLA program.  With these values, it is no surprise that his players went on to achieve success in all aspects of life.

    3. Invest in Educational Opportunities: One of the biggest mistakes that many organizations make when establishing their culture is that they do not take the time to educate their members on their mission and core values.  This is not a mistake that Brian Smith (Head Wrestling Coach at Missouri) is going to make with his program.  After establishing his "Tiger Style" mantra (see "The Foundation to Branding" entry), he used coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success as a guide to craft his program's core values (e.g., Uncommon Accountability, Positive Preparation).  However, these efforts would not be effective without the educational opportunities that he has created for his student-athletes.  One example here is that he has developed educational sessions to teach his team members about each of the individual core values.  This is reinforced with sound reward policies that are explained to student-athletes in pre-season activities.  This is the same type of creative process that needs to be embraced within an organization.

    4. Reinforce Values on a Daily Basis: The core value developmental and educational elements (steps #2 and #3) are simply the first steps in building your program's brand.  The truth is that your organization's modeling and follow through will determine whether you are successful in taking your program to the next level.  If creativity and innovation is identified as an important brand element, then the "Director of Marketing" in a sport organization must make a commitment to modeling these principles on a daily basis.  This is the only way to increase the chances that other staff members will embrace these values.  When all members completely buy-in to the philosophy, the end result will be a series of products that send an intentional message about your brand.

    5. Incorporate Program Mantra in Innovative Marketing Efforts: In many ways, this final step is the most difficult for organizations to achieve because it clearly involves the ability to practically apply each of the previous steps.  Because of this, I believe it is a concept that only highly proactive organizations will embrace.  However, it is the type of concept that will take a program to an entirely new level from a marketing standpoint.  To describe this step, it is best to discuss the steps that Brian Smith has taken to build consumer interest in his program.  Following up on his "Tiger Style" mantra, he has developed entertainment opportunities such as the "Tiger Style" duals and "Tiger Style" tailgating to further enhance the brand of his program.  It is this above and beyond mentality that has allowed him to reach a new level with his program.

    Coach Smith has done an extraordinary job of packaging his vision for followers.

    So, what type of organization are you going to have?  Take the first step today and never look back!!!  More to come on building an organization "the right way" in future entries...

  • Why Losing Does Not Have to Hurt Our Confidence

    by Admin User | Sep 14, 2012

    Many coaches and parents believe that children need to win to have strong self-esteem. Is this true? Well to an extent it is true, people feel better after winning in most cases. But, they do not need to win. The importance of winning has been exaggerated. A 2007 survey by the Josephson Institute revealed that the majority of athletes do not think winning is essential to their experience (1).

    I remember when several youth hockey parents and coaches were on my case for creating a recreation or house league “draft” and not allowing coaches to bring their own teams in to the league. The goal was to create more parity and chances for everyone to have success. I was receiving complaints when one of the best teams from the previous year was not winning in the draft league. The argument was that losing was destroying their children’s confidence. My reply was that the focus of the league was development and having fun, the building blocks of confidence. Often it is the adults around the kids focusing on winning and losing that has the kids feeling down.

    So, another ivory tower professor that knows nothing about reality, right? I understand that winning is important. I love to win. I have spent the majority of my life striving to win and helping athletes and teams win at all levels. However, I realize that success has to be about more than winning. Winning is a 50/50 proposition and something we do not completely control. Should having a positive experience and learning from sport really be a 50/50 gamble?

    The theory of competence motivation asserts that youth are motivated to participate in sport because they perceive they are competent (2). This is influenced by winning but only partially. Competence evaluations also could be related to performance of skills, tactics, specifically as it relates to previous performances (under the child’s control). If coaches and parents, however, focus on winning to boost the confidence, then youth will only use winning as a marker of success. An uncontrollable factor is the primary source of confidence.

    Do you think winning is most important to young athletes? The Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University found that girls and boys put winning near the bottom of list of reasons for sport participation (3). Add to that a recent survey that found 74% of boys and 76% of girls strongly disagree with the sit on the bench for a winner; they would rather play (1).

    My argument is that often adults need to win to feel good about their coaching and parenting. In the future we need to focus our efforts on redefining success and helping all young athletes feel successful based on improving their skills. Winning is important but let’s put it in the right perspective   behind fun and development.

    Common Belief: Children need to win to enhance their self-esteem.

    Science says… The child’s perception of his or her competence is a controllable and better indicator of success.

    1. Josephson Institute of Ethics. (February 16, 2007). What Are Your Children Learning? The Impact of High School Sports on the Values and Ethics of High School Athletes. Retrieved on July 10, 2012 at http://josephsoninstitute.org/pdf/sports_survey_report_022107.pdf
    2. Weiss, M. (September, 2000). Motivating kids in physical activity. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Research Digest, 3 (11), Retrieved on July 10, 2012 at https://www.presidentschallenge.org/informed/digest/docs/200009digest.pdf
    3. Seefeldt, V., Ewing, M., & Walk, S. (1992). Overview of youth sports programs in the United States. Washington, DC: Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development.


    NWCA Youth Sport Blog

    Grappling with the Toughest Youth Sport Issues

    Because Youth Sport Athletes Deserve Quality Coaching and Positive Parenting

    Larry Lauer, Ph D

    Director of Coaching Education and Development

    Institute for the Study of Youth Sports

    Michigan State University



  • Youth Sport Myths Abound

    by Admin User | Aug 30, 2012

    Every game you go to you will hear people use sport clichés such as “It ain’t over until it is over”. In the same way many assumptions of what youth sport should be have been proliferated across the United States between coaches and coaches, parents and parents, coaches and parents, as well as the media. Which of these assumptions is actually based on fact?

    Coaches and scouts know how to and should find talented athletes at young ages.

    The earlier you become an expert the better, you will have the upper hand and improve your chances of making collegiate and professional sport.

    10 years, 10,000 hours to become an expertise – get them as soon as possible.

    A champion at age 12 is going to be a champion at age 18 because they know how to win.

    You have to have a crazy, over involved parent to develop a champion athlete.

    Kids need to pick a sport and train with dedication to that one sport at an early age.

    Losing often will destroy a player’s confidence; we need to make sure we protect our children’s self-esteem.

    These kids are not motivated. You have to stay on them to motivate them.

    Youth today only play for themselves, if they play sport at all. They are less interested in team than we were back in the day.

    Many myths exist about developing athletic talent, motivating youth and getting the most of the youth sport experience. The purpose of this blog is to give you the facts based on science; not on popular opinion and surely not because a sports announcer said it was so! This blog will bust youth sport myths.

    Every month I will grapple with a tough youth sport issue and shed light on what we know based on research, theory, and best practices. In the end I will provide the best recommendations possible and, at times, leave you with questions to reflect upon.

    For example, do you know when your youth sport athlete should specialize in one sport and stop participating in other sports? The answer is not as simple as the age of the athlete, but recent thought has been not before ages 14-15 as well meeting several other criteria (don’t worry this will be the focus of a future post).

    This blog is not about how you develop a youth sport champion. While I will provide strategies for enhancing performance, my focus will be more on how the adults involved in youth sport can keep their involvement in perspective. What does this mean? Coaches and parents have a healthy, age-appropriate philosophy of involvement in sport.

    So, please come back to this blog as we grapple with some of the toughest youth sport issues and provide answers that you can take back to your local community and share. And, thanks to the National Wrestling Coaches Association for this opportunity. Until the next post – be an informed coach and parent!

    Larry Lauer, Ph D

    Director of Coaching Education and Development

    Institute for the Study of Youth Sports

    Michigan State University





  • USA Wrestling Presentation at NWCA Convention

    by Admin User | Nov 04, 2011

    Zeke Jones and Kerry McCoy facilitate a discussion on Regional Training Centers and developmental athletes with USA Wrestling and the college programs.

  • Benefits of the Mat Mayhem

    by Admin User | Nov 03, 2011

    NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer, speaks on the long-term impact that the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Meet Championship will have on Division I wrestling and the sport of wrestling as a whole. This will be the first year launch of the new Mat Mayhem event.

  • Mountain View (OR) H.S. Coach Les Combs

    by Admin User | Nov 03, 2011

    Les Combs has long been associated the the NWCA. Coach Combs talks about the importance of being involved with the NWCA from the scholastic level.

  • Coaches visiting the U.S. Navy facilities in Coronado and San Diego, CA

    by Admin User | May 26, 2011

    A small group of wrestling coaches from the east coast are currently touring the various U.S. Navy facilities in Coronado and San Diego, CA. The three-day tour has included visits to the Navy Seals BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition School), SWCC (Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman) school, a walk on the USS Pelelieu LHA-5, Helicopter Squadron Six tour, a guided bay cruise on a landing craft, and a guided tour of a submarine - the USS San Francisco. The coaches have had the privilege of not only seeing the facilities, craft and weapons and associated technology of the U.S. Navy but hear first hand about the physical and mental training necessary to prepare these men and women to protect our nation. Navy Seals research has shown that wrestlers in particular possess the qualities needed to become a Navy Seal.

    Coaches participating in this unique experience include: Paul Marino (Paulsboro HS, NJ); Dan O'Cone (Brick Memorial HS, NJ); Kevin Ensore (Hereford HS, MD); Jack Holloway (Tower Hill HS, DE); Dave Crowell (Nazareth HS, PA); Joe Narkiewicz (Manheim Twp. HS, PA); Mike Rogers (Franklin & Marshall College); Jack Childs (Drexel University). There is one more day left of this tour...but none of us coaches want it to be over. Check out www.sealswcc.com for more information on the Navy Seals and SWCC.

    Submitted by Coach Dave Crowell.



  • Team USA Women's Wrestling Getting Stronger

    by Admin User | Oct 04, 2010

    It was an exciting summer for women’s wrestling.  As I mentioned in previous posts, more females are assuming leadership roles, college programs are adding women’s wrestling as a varsity sport and females participating in wrestling in the US is higher than ever.  I’m excited about these changes and I believe women’s wrestling is “on the right path” to growth and international success.

    Recently, the US men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman teams were unsuccessful in earning a medal at the World Championships for the first time since 1974.  Many athletes, coaches and fans are discouraged by the outcome and are beginning to question the “path” that our international athletes and/or USA Wrestling are on.  In the wake of all of the accusations and attacks, I think it’s important to point out what the women’s side of wrestling is doing and why I think the women are on a path to much more international success in the very near future.

    This group of athletes loves to wrestle!  I have a renewed sense of joy and love for the sport of wrestling after a weekend with our female athletes.  They love to train and compete.  The sport is still very new to them.  I believe joy and love are the two most important motivating factors on earth.  It seems as if there is a shift in motivating factors with many of the male athletes that is closely associated with winning medals and earning money.  The top women are competing (and having success) because they enjoy what they’re doing.

    The national team system is focused on development.  Terry Steiner and Coach Izzy do a wonderful job at developing the Cadet and Junior level athletes to compete at the international level.  They already have a lot of things on their side, such as more focus on freestyle (less on Folkstyle) for young athletes, females are physically able to compete with senior level athletes much sooner than men, etc.  Nonetheless, they place a keen focus on developing these athletes for future international success.

    The national team staff is tangible to youth athletes.  The pool of athletes is much smaller than the men’s side, no doubt, however, most of the female athletes at the various girl’s national tournaments know Terry Steiner and Coach Izzy personally.  Not only do they know them, they see them at their events.  It’s invaluable for those young female athletes to know the individuals they aspire to be and have opportunities to work with them.  On several occasions, the junior development camps are held alongside national team camps.

    We’re one team – Team USA.  Obviously, the domestic competitions are fierce and personalities are not always eager to work together.  However, in the end, it is one team.  I see USAW and the national team staff turn to grassroots members, college coaches and club coaches for input.  It’s almost as if people are uniquely positioned to challenge the leadership to help the program grow.  As a result, when it’s time to represent the country, everyone is on the same page because they have fought for common goals.

    Depth.  The women’s national team training model, including the things mentioned above, is proven to be successful with the current depth in the US.  The athletes train together regularly (iron sharpens iron) and our 2nd and 3rd athletes are as good as our number one on any given day.  This year, all seven world team members had potential to earn a medal at the world championships.  Not all of them did.  What’s unique about the women is that there were 2-3 athletes at each weight class that would have had the same realistic chance at a medal and in some cases, a better chance.

  • Future is Bright for Women's Wrestling

    by Admin User | Jul 29, 2010


    July 28, 2010

    It was another exciting summer of women’s wrestling in the US.  As a member of the women’s wrestling community, we have much to look forward to.  In the summer of 2010, the development of women’s wrestling at the grassroots level and the success at the international level has synergized like never before.  The continued commitment from prominent organizations like the NWCA and USA Wrestling will bring many visions to fruition in the near future.

    Cadet & Junior National Championships

    A landmark decision has been made within USA Wrestling and was unanimously supported by the women’s wrestling community to add a separate Cadet National Championship tournament for female athletes.  This is a giant step forward as it will allow many new and eager athletes to participate.  Previously, the freestyle national tournament held in Fargo, ND has included only Junior level athletes.  Although this includes most of the high school athletes, it excludes a large number of 8th grade students who are in the Cadet age level.  I believe this will help grow the national tournament because many females chose not to continue with the sport once they reach high school.  This way, some of those athletes will have the opportunity to compete on our country’s largest stage.  My guess is that they’ll be “hooked.”

    New college programs

    Every year, more and more universities are interested in the addition of women’s wrestling programs.  This year we will see 3-5 new programs.  What is unique about this summer is women’s wrestling coaches are beginning to effectively network with each other and many programs have started working together to see continued growth.  It’s very exciting because many college coaches believe recognition of women’s wrestling as an emerging sport within the NCAA and/or the NAIA will open the flood gates of high school participation as well.

    Female coaches taking the lead

    Three of the most successful and historic women’s wrestling programs took a tremendous step in supporting women’s programs by hiring females as their head coaches.  University of the Cumberlands, Menlo College and Lindenwood University called on some of our country’s greatest female athletes to assume the leadership responsibilities of their programs.  Olympians Marcie Van Dusen (Menlo) and Tocarra Montgomery (Lindenwood), along with world team member Alaina Berube (Cumberlands), were named head coaches of their respective institutions in May.

    The future is bright for women’s wrestling in the United States.  Take initiative in your local club or community to encourage female athletes to take advantage of the many new opportunities.  We’re all in a position to be pioneers in the sport.


  • Summer of International Wrestling

    by Admin User | Jul 08, 2010

    Summer is well under way and a lot has already happened in the world of women’s wrestling.  Our junior, university and senior-level world teams have been training together and will compete this weekend for the first time in 2010 as a team at the Canada Cup in Guelph, Ontario.   Following this weekend of competition, Team USA will stay in Guelph for an extended training camp with the Canadian National Teams.

    The first major competition of the summer will take place in Istanbul, Turkey when the Junior World Team will be looking for their first ever team world title.  Last summer the junior team looked like they had a great opportunity to win the team title, but fell short.  This summer looks promising again as nearly the entire team has an abundance of international experience.  Victoria Anthony was a world champion last summer and moved up a weight class and will compete at 48 kg.  Helen Maroulis (55 kg) and Tatiana Padilla (59 kg) are past junior world medalist who will help lead the team that will be coached by Vladislav Izboinokov (Coach Izzy).

    Soon after the Junior World Championships take place, the country’s top high school athletes will congregate in Fargo, ND for the ASICS Junior National Championships.  The women’s division has grown in participants each year since its inception.  However, the numbers could be affected this year because the Junior Women’s Duals were moved to Oklahoma City a few weeks ago.

    From the future stars of our sport to the current super stars, head women’s USA coach Terry Steiner does a wonderful job of preparing our country for international success.  Steiner spends endless energy collaborating with coaches from grassroots to university and senior club programs.  His intent is to see everyone work together as Team USA.  At the present moment, all of our world teams are together as one team on foreign soil.  The future impact of this type of cooperation will make the future of women’s wrestling very exciting.

  • Final Exploration and Travels - Final Post

    by Admin User | Jun 28, 2010

    After 40 plus hours of travel time from the time we left the town of Berdsk, we made it back to the US.  The final part of the trip saw the wrestlers get to take part in a little more of some Russian traditions on Friday evening.  Our Russian hosts took the team to a lake to have a small party for them.  The party included swimming in the lake, jumping in the sauna, and having kabobs.  Many “social” activates centered around going into the sauna.  The sauna was extremely hot and wrestlers would go into the sauna and then cool off at the lake.  It was a cycle that got repeated several times.


    Saturday morning started off with packing up and going to Novosibirsk for some sightseeing before our afternoon flight.  The guys all did a little sightseeing packed by doing some last minute souvenir shopping.  Novosibirsk is the third largest city in Russia and is the capital of Siberia.  It is a very modern city and very nice.  The highlight was going to Kentucky Fried Chicken and getting some American food.


    After hanging out at the Novosibirsk Airport for a short period of time, we took a 4.5 hour flight to Moscow which included a three hour time zone changed.


    Once in Moscow we took a shuttle bus to the Red Square.  We had about five hours of sightseeing time in the Red Square.  The Red Square was a beautiful place and really great to see.  Everyone also went to McDonalds when we arrived there.


    After finishing up in the Red Square we headed to the other Moscow airport for a nine hour layover before flying to JFK.  This included trying to sleep a little bit.


    The Moscow Airport had some of the toughest security we have ever seen.  We were screened about a total of five times before being able to board the plane.  After a short 9.5 hour flight we were back in the US.  Once everyone cleared final security, we all went on our way.


    The tour was a pretty amazing experience that we will never forget.  We were able to go to a part of the world that many people will never get the opportunity to visit.  We were in a village where we were the first Americans anyone had ever seen.  While some of the wrestling training was not what we had hoped, the trip still brought about a great cultural experience.


    This will be the final blog from our trip to Siberia.

  • June 25 - Rec Ball

    by Admin User | Jun 25, 2010

    Today was our last full day in Berdsk.  I think everyone is ready to get home.

    With no more training sessions, everyone was able to relax this morning.

    The afternoon was a game of rec ball in a gym.  It’s probably best described as a cross between wrestling, rugby, and basketball.  It’s a physical game played on a basketball court and you wear a singlet and wrestling shoes.  The game featured a pretty good size crowd.  We lost the game but played well despite lack of experience.

    Tonight was spent with a dip in the lake and sitting in the sauna. Sitting in the sauna is a Russian tradition.

    Tomorrow we start our journey home.  We fly from Novisibirsk to Moscow.  We will spend the night in Moscow before flying home on Sunday.

    We hope to able to visit Red Square and the Kremlin tomorrow night.  See you soon!

  • June 24 - Wrestling & Adversity

    by Admin User | Jun 24, 2010

    Today was one of the tougher days we have had in

  • June 24 - Competition Scores

    by Admin User | Jun 24, 2010
    Here are the match results from today's dual.  Tough match as we not only had to beat our opponents but the officials as well.

    Sean Walton:
    L 2-3 0-5
    L 1-7 5-6
    L 1-8 0-5

    Alex Medved:
    L 0-2 1-7
    W 1-1 2-0

    Ryan Medved:
    L 2-3 0-2
    L 0-6 :20

    Taylor Doan:
    L 0-7 0-1
    L 0-6 0-8
    Note: both matched were in Greco. Final match was against national place winner.

    Jake Bachman:
    W 0-6 3-1 4-2
    L 0-2 0-1

    James Hamel:
    W 2-0 0-1 1-0
    W 1-0 1-0

    Ryan Malo:
    W 4-6 1:46
    L 1:15
    Notes: won first match after having some bad calls in first period. Ryan was dominating second match when he got called for a phantom fall.

    Walter Peppleman:
    W :07
    W :10

    Sean Bilodeau
    W 3-0 1-3 1:44
    L injury default
    Note: got hurt at beginning of match. He is ok.

    Travis Stem
    L 3-0 :30
    Note: this was another match where there was a bad fall call

    Conor McNamara
    W 3-2 6-0
    L 4-0 :45
    Note: another match with questionable fall

    Zach Rey
    W 1-0 6-0
  • June 23 - Fun & Cultural Experiences

    by Admin User | Jun 23, 2010

    The team took about an eight hour bus drive from Osinski to Berdsk.  The bus drive was a bit hairy at times.  I think we will all be glad when we get back to the states and can deal with safe drivers again.  The bus stopped about three hours in at a place that had road side stands for food, and we ate our favorite food of kabobs.  They seem to eat and sell them like we do hamburgers in the US.


    The team is staying at a sanatorium in Berdsk.  It’s by far the nicest place we have stayed so far.  It’s also a short walk to a body of water they call the sea but it’s actually a reservoir on the Ob River.  It is a pretty area and about a ten minute drive to the city center.


    The team had two workouts again today. Everyone was tired from the bus ride so it was fairly light workouts.  The training situation in Berdsk was the most disappointing we have had.  The facility has one mat and had only about ten wrestlers training.


    Following the evening workout, our hosts took us out on a huge boat on the Ob.  After driving around, the boat docked on an island where we had a cookout with kabobs.  It was a real nice event and the hosts did a great job.  They also celebrated the United States World Cup win in soccer today with us.


    One of the more unique things is that it stays very light out until about 11 PM and the sun comes up before 4 AM.  Everyone here believes that the Medved brothers have taken in the culture the most.  They also eat all the unique foods we are served.


    We will have a training session in the morning and then a competition tomorrow night.  They are supposed to have a team here from Kazakhstan for our match. We are hopeful that will happen.


    Thank you for reading and remember to check out the new photos.

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