Fall Sport Athletes


Fall Sport Athletes

by Dennis A. Johnson, EdD

High school wrestling practices and the competitive season commence in many states prior to the end of other fall sport interscholastic sport championships (e.g., football, cross country, soccer, etc.). What considerations need to be taken into account when bringing the fall sport athlete into the practice room and the competitive arena? For instance, should an athlete walk into the wrestling room for practice the day following a football playoff? Or should they have some time off without structured practices? How many practices should on have on the mat before they compete? Or should they be allowed to compete as soon as they walk into the wrestling room?

Coaches should be cautious and develop a specific plan for the integration of these fall sport athletes into their wrestling program. Hopefully, all coaches reading this blog subscribe to the “athlete first-winning second” philosophy and operate in a setting that is soundly-based in “educational athletics.”

There are several aspects to consider in approaching this issue:

  1. State Regulations: First coaches must follow any guidelines prescribed by the state high school regulating body. For example, are there specific guidelines for number of practices an athlete must have prior to competition?
  2. Weight Management: One state mandate involves the body fat assessment to determine a minimum wrestling weight complete with hydration testing. This is a consideration and must be completed to meet state guidelines and to safeguard the athlete from unhealthy weight loss.
  3. Individual Differences: Once the state regulations are met the coach should implement and understand the training principle of individual differences. That is, the timeline for fall sport athletes should vary by individual and by sport. Some athletes are ready to go sooner than others, for both practice and competition.
  4. Injury & Safety: Does the athlete have any lingering injuries that need to be rehabilitated prior to entering the wrestling arena? The health and safety of the wrestler is paramount.
  5. Peaking For Competition: Finally coaches should remember, “It’s not where you are in early December-but rather where you are at championship time!” Coaches should understand giving athletes a few days off between seasons allows for an athlete time to recharge their batteries from a physical, psychological, and social perspective.

Check out the Wrestling Coaches Resource Manual at NWCA for more information regarding training for competition and planning the season.

“Find a way and make it happen”….dj

  1. Caslow, D. (2008). Wrestling coaches resource manual. Manheim, PA: NWCA

High School Wrestling Coaches: Fall Sport Athletes
Dennis A. Johnson, EdD
Associate Professor-Jamestown Community College (SUNY)
Former wrestling coach & author of Wrestling Drills for the Mat and Mind

– See more at: http://www.nwcaonline.com/fall-sport-athletes/#sthash.DXOV8Ow4.dpuf

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