1. Encouragement is Required-Wrestling is very tough, winning every match, every takedown, every escape is impossible.  In every match half the people lose, in tournaments there is only one gold medal per weight class.  While this is obvious to us, the kids have never had to deal with such raw emotion of having to stand out on the mat and watch the other kids hand raised.  If you have never wrestled put yourself out there and look around.  What you would see is a kid trying to beat you up, his coach/dad screaming at him ways to do it.  700 people in the gym all yelling about something.  The referee telling you that your foots on the wrong line, your friends, mom and dad, grandma and grandpa all in the stands or in some cases on the side of the mat screaming something but you can’t tell what, coach is yelling at you to look at him when you do you don’t know what he’s talking about either.  You’re tired and your arm hurts, your head hurts, you think that kid tried to hurt you on purpose and you KNOW he tried to choke you.  If your 8 years old, you do not have the emotional or social skills to deal with this.  Crying is sometime the only answer.  Whether mat side at a tournament, or watching practice, coaches and parents yelling to their kids only raises the stress level.  In this chaos we, (parents and coaches) have to be their security blanket, the calm in this storm that they see when we look over the corner.  Clapping hands and yelling Good job! Good fight!, Way to fight off your back!, You’re doing awesome!  Should be all they see or hear.  They are in the middle of figuring out the puzzle, raising the stress level by them seeing us freak out because they are missing a half nelson does not help.  Your/Our encouragement during practice and during matches is vital to their enjoyment of the sport, and sometimes the only reward they really want.
  2. We are building Wrestlers, not winning matches-Keeping proper perspective for parents and coaches is not very easy.  We are as guilty as anyone at just wanting to see their kids win.  Our kid’s success is not based on whether they win a match but on their growth as wrestlers and as people.  Wrestling will teach your kids confidence in themselves as start realizing what they are good at.  It will teach them independence and self-reliance as they realize they are the only ones that can make them better.  Wrestling will teach humility as they learn that as soon that they think they are best, someone will beat them.  Whether they win at our local tournaments at 8yrs old has very little consequence.  While winning is fun, so is hanging out with their team mates all day, so is playing at practice, so is watching your friends compete, so is collecting medals, so is making your parents happy that your wrestling.  Whatever the kid’s motivation to wrestle, our motivation always has to be the same, we are trying to build wrestlers and people that reach their full potential in everything they do.
  3. Wrestling is a Puzzle- Kids of all ages need to be able to figure it out on their own.  Our younger age group practices are set up to teach concepts and position that are common in every match.  While we do drill techniques the focus is NOT for 4-8 year olds learn all of the technique, but to build the skills to keep them in good position and understand simple wrestling concepts.  Most of the kids in this age group cannot read, write, tie their shoes or jump rope.  Should our expectation of them be to complete a single leg with a high level finish?  When we put them in positions in practice, at this level it is the coach’s job to get them back in position, and keep them wrestling.  Hovering over children, and telling them where to put their hands, where to push and what to grab, play by play is holding these kids back from solving this puzzle.  If we do this in practice they will not develop the concept of wrestling in practice and there for will not apply it in matches.  While it appears in practice that these kids wrestle harder while we are telling them every move, they are getting frustrated and often times not retaining what you are telling them.