Flexibility through the Holidays

Flexibility through the Holidays

by Dennis A. Johnson, EdD

As a competitor in high school wrestling, the holiday’s sucked! First it was Thanksgiving and then in three days the first day of buck season and it almost never failed that we would have to be within a few pounds of our weight class in order to compete in the season’s first challenge matches. Then came Christmas and we would usually have to compete in a holiday wrestling tournament. That dictated more food deprivation and grueling practices frequently on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas. My family was always tempting me with food and questioning my sanity for wrestling.

Well in the 21st century, scholastic wrestlers are more protected with a well-designed weight management plan and that means more food for the holidays. However, it still appears to be status quo that many of the scholastic wrestling tournaments are held around the Christmas/New Year holidays. The holiday season can spell trouble for an unprepared coach. For instance, what about wrestlers with families which travel out of town for family reunions? Or how does a coach handle the wrestler whose family schedules a vacation in the Caribbean or to some other foreign country? Does the coach allow them to go with the family or should they expect to be at all workout and all competitions? And if they do go with the family will they suffer some type of consequence (e.g., lose a starting position, have to sit out matches, etc.)?

In discussing solutions to these questions regarding the holidays, the coach should learn to exhibit a great deal of flexibility. We must remember that coaches should be in the business of academic athletics where they teach life skills and where wrestlers learn valuable life lessons. There are several things a coach might attempt to do to meet the needs of the team, the wrestlers, and families of wrestlers.

First, coaches should examine their season plan and recognize that the championship season does not commence until sometime in February. They can schedule accordingly with both practices and competitions. Coaches might also intentionally schedule some days off during the holidays. Time off provides wrestlers a chance to not only enjoy the holiday season, but it gives them a chance to recharge their competitive batteries (both physically and psychologically). This type of thought is based on the American Sport Education Program’s (ASEP) theme of “athletes first, winning second” (1).

Remember, holiday time typically means family time and is there anything really more important? Happy holidays…Fa-La-La!!!

“Find a way and make it happen”….dj

1. American Sport Education Program (ASEP). (2015). Coaching principles course. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics.

High School Wrestling Coaches: Flexibility through the Holidays
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/flexibility-through-the-holidays/#sthash.LCxf3BpB.dpuf

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