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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Vince DiSabato added to this discussion on January 22, 2008

Rex there was no political correctness in one's decision to remove his own post.

Please call me at 614-571-9552. I feel that ther is so much that we will find that there is so much that we agree upon.

VinceD



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Cliff Cahill added to this discussion on January 23, 2008

Thanks Rex for the time you take with your prospective from your vast and diversed wrestling experience . You know Rex you have the beginning of a book.

I would suggest for this chapter changing the Old School title. Gene Mills is "old". Would his agressive style be old school. Here is a good one, is there anything in Dave Schultz clinics that is old school as he was from an long past era. Much the same for Randy Lewis or Barry Davis. The only reason I make this point is the label immediately creates the environment in your thought process. The spinmisters of today use this technique all of the time. So what is a probable thought pattern with Old School? Old fansion - out dated - does not work today is the probable logic. I will give you one example, Coach Rosselli was doing a clinic at this years coaches clinic and he showed something and then for some reason found a need to say - now the old school might have shown it this way. I believe it was on escape and it was the tripod new vs stand-up old but do not hold me to that - never did get the tapes requested on the clinic so cannot verify. I went over to Lou after the clinic and set down to start a conversation. Lou is great guy with lots of knowledge and experience and is quit open when you ask him - not so much a volunteer person. I said Lou do you mean that the Old School stuff is out dated and no longer works?

So for whatever it is worth I suggest changing the title of this chapter to the name of the person you want to give as father of the method you are discussing.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Dan Cosimi added to this discussion on January 23, 2008

Interesting discussion.

I'll try to help clarify the term "old school."

Coaches with this mentality believe that if their wrestlers outwork everyone, they'll win. If you condition more than anyone else, you'll be in better shape; if you lift more than everyone else, you'll be stronger. That philosophy translated to wrestling is the mentality he's talking about.

Here's an example...
You have a certain half hour of practice time. A coach that is "old school" (in that sense) would use it to work live drilling at 100% and make sure his guys are hitting their moves perfectly and hard. A different coach might use that half hour to troubleshoot or work on a certain skill. Sometimes that skill is for a certain wrestler to beat a certain opponent; sometimes that skill is a general learning opportunity for the team.

My opinion is this...
If you train harder and smarter than your opponent, you'll win. Colt Sponseller is a testament to the conditioning end of that, as is Lance Palmer for his strength. But also developing diverse skills and improving your wrestling intelligence is just as important. Ben Askren is a great example of that.

I remember last year we coached a state fifth placer, Gary Steigerwald. He was an incredible athlete and had amazing drive, but we ran into a few situations where he was outfoxed in wrestling knowledge (he started wrestling as a freshman). One in particular was against Corey Hersman, a very tough wrestler from Perry who ended up placing in Division 2. They split as juniors, and as a senior at our conference tournament Steigerwald faced him in the semifinals. Steigerwald got a lead and things were going well and then Hersman hit a quarter-nelson (a move he hadn't seen before). Steigerwald wasn't used to the situation so he tried to do a Granby roll to get away from it and got caught right where Hersman wanted him. We now make sure to counter quarter-nelsons in practice.

That said, we've won a lot of matches on wrestling harder and being more in shape than others.

My point is: the "old school" mentality works, but the coach should also use that mentality on improving wrestling skills and intelligence.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Rex Holman added to this discussion on January 23, 2008

Vince-

I will be in touch.

Cliff-

I will attempt to answer your statements. Regarding ďold schoolĒ as a definition: Teaching and thinking in the same format that was the foundation for your success as an athlete. Evolution from this mindset is not guaranteed; neither is winning. Evolution takes a willingness to identify the subtle change in technique and conditioning based upon the current trends in sport.

Sound familiar? You control your attitude and thoughts but not outside forces.

What to do about outside forces?

A corollary to this thought process is that you can adjust your thinking and attitude to properly reflect and correspond to outside forces. If you donít take into account outside forces, then you will make the same mistakes repeatedly. In laymanís terms, You must change with the times. That goes for all aspects of coaching including but not limited to recruiting, conditioning, and skill accrual.

Each wrestler is unique with different talents and abilities. Each wrestler must evolve according to their individual talents. I.e. If a guy can crab ride well, then he should become an expert at it.

Also, ďold schoolĒ connotates mean, tough, gritty competitors. A time when athletes competed and trained with little care for personal health and monetary gain. Think wrestlers. Toughness is central to the old school theme. I think of Russ Hellickson competing with a broken neck, or my Grandpa Holman having repeated hip replacements as he got older due to old football and polo injuries( yes, polo.)

Good wrestling is good wrestling is good wrestling. It nevers go away. Gene Mills, Dave Schultz, Chris Campbell were/are the finest our sport has ever seen. Technical and physical beasts are they. Schultz and Campbell were able to navigate the sport successfully and both found a way to win despite the changes FILA made. FILA essentially took wrestling and made it a different sport. The fundamentals were the same, but the strategy and scope had changed.

Russ Hellickson had some of the most admirable traits of a coach in any sport bar none. I donít think I was able to convey that in previous posts. If you want your son to be in the company of a moral, duty-filled, respectful, service-oriented, of honor and integrity person, then Russ is your guy.

But, winning is central to the benchmark of whether you are successful in society and the Ohio State University for that matter. Some things are not forgiveable by an AD or fans for that matter. You can be the greatest guy in the world, but if you donít win according to expectations---itís donít let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. If you donít agree, you are simply not paying attention. To coach and win, you need to successfully apply the above-mentioned second paragraph.

Hence, the culture of win at all costs attitudes and the debacle of Major League Baseball as well as many other major league sports. But that is a whole other topic that I hope to address in due time.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Rex Holman added to this discussion on January 23, 2008

Dan-

Well said.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Roe Fox added to this discussion on January 23, 2008

Rex: I agree with you 100% re the mindset (not necessarily about Coach Hellickson because I do not know him).

Another issue is the willingness to utilize not just new techniques but new tools (and I'm not referring to chemical assistance). The internet is an incredible tool for anyone who wants to learn/refine a new move/technique. I'm guessing you would not think RH would but Tom Ryan I assume does.

I also wonder what would be the effect on the career of someone like Gable if the internet was around then. Would he be better because he would refine his technique using such a tool? Would he have used it? Or would others be much closer to him result-wise if they could scout him? Looking back, was there a good way to wrestle Gable now that we have periodic footage of him?

I don't have this answer. Maybe you do.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Ken Ramsey Sr. added to this discussion on January 23, 2008

I think everyone trys to make wrestling more than it is. Wrestling, like all sports, begins and ends with stance and positioning. At 6, 7, 8 or 9 years old, which is when most good wrestlers start their training, the first thing that is taught is stance and positioning. All techniques thereafter are taught from the basic teaching of stance and positioning. If a wrestler does not master that basic skill, his overall wrestling skill level will suffer. (ie: The number of physically skilled athletes that look like Greek Gods, yet never seem to fully reach their expected potential.) With all that being equal and taking for granted that every wrestler is exposed to the different types of techniques through college camps, extremely tough National & Regional competitions, National & Regional training camps and highly skilled teachers that are local (Examples: Jeff Jordan, Ken Chertow, etc.) the keys then become heart, confidence and dedication. If you do not have those five things as your best wrestling attributes, you will never be a National Champion.

Look at all the other sports, every one of them start with stance and positioning (It is the first thing taught in all of them.); whether baseball, basketball, football, tennis, soccer, or any other sport. It is so simple, why don't people spend more time on it? Take any wrestler who you thought should have been better in college and check videos of some of his tough matches; I think you will see a break down in his stance and positioning, which then affects confidence, heart and dedication.

I think that the Iowa (Best.), Minnesota and Oklahoma State coaches understand this and that is why they are heads above everyone else.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Vince DiSabato added to this discussion on January 23, 2008

Rex,
Thank you for the too brief but greatly appreciated talk this morning/afternoon. I hope to see you Friday.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Mark Niemann added to this discussion on January 23, 2008

Mr. Ramsey Sr. You might be glad to know that some of spend a great deal of time on stance and motion alone (much to the disdain of the wrestlers).

"Why is stance important," I'll ask...

Their response..."If they can't break your stance, they can't break you!"

From Little Cruisers all the way to high school.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Cliff Cahill added to this discussion on January 24, 2008

Hard to believe these three schools are the only ones in wrestling that understand your basic 5 principles of any sport. I doubt it is that simple as seen by only 3 programs always on the top of the thousand wrestling programs. No there is something more to it and it could be directly related to title of thread. Could be Rex is on to something.

Yes could be a Brand Name marketing thing where the top 30 wrestlers in the entire nation only go to the top brands. Has anyone looked at the starting lineups and determined the number of in states on the rosters of the Big Three? But then out of all the thousands of high school wrestlers in the nation, it is hard for me to believe there is only 30 that are cream at the top.

Yes I have heard in interviews with Russ and others that college wrestling simply comes down to heart, confidence and dedication and little luck at the moment as there is much parity in the sport. Sounds good but let's hope this is not the case. Sports is part of education system exactly on the principle that it teaches heart, confidence, and dedication that will be used later in life. So surely our education no matter how the spin goes is not that bad that only 30 people have learned the sports lesson out of thousands. No it is not these intangibles although they are the easiest to point to since they are the most subjective.

My take at the moment for this interesting study, is these three programs - I do not think there is any doubt Ken is correct in isolating these three - these three programs are heads above everyone else in their coaching skills in developing college wrestling techniques in the way of moves (reaction or action to a well defined repeatable situation - non scramble) that yield the very highest probability of maintaining position - lowest risk of getting or beging forced out of position. Getting out of position is the key Rex presented for wrestling. And Ken so well took positioning to apply to all sports. Now to prove my theory one would need to take a few samples. Take all the escapes and escapes attempts of Ohio State and compare the success rate and the type of move attempted and then of the attempted and successful escapes and compare your findings to those of each of these three programs. Could do the same for takedowns.

So you see this chapter in Rex's book Developing College Wrestling Skills just might come down to the core reason for the great consistent success of the Big Three. But what is missing? Yes one could, and I think you would, show there are a specific set of moves that assures best changes to maintain positioning in the aggregate and only those moves are used. But what is missing? What coaching technique is used to develop college wrestling skills limited to this set? That is the key question. And/Or do they only recruit those that already have limited themselves in high school to this same set of moves.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Ken Ramsey Sr. added to this discussion on January 24, 2008

Cliff:

I think most good coaches use the old saying, "Keep it simple Stupid". Look at the three teams, I noted, at length and you will not find them using any special techniques that other teams do not use. Yet, as teams they all seem to stay in their stance and keep position better than other teams. That is not to say that other teams do not have individuals that also do the same, but on the whole the staffs at Iowa, Minnesota and Oklahoma State are more successful at getting their whole squads to buy into the stance and positioning concept. Each year other teams have been able to recruit as well or better, but as the competition bears out over the next 4-5 years these teams (Iowa, Minnesota, and Oklahoma State) always come out on top. There are many teams on the next level (Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri, Michigan, Central Michigan, Oklahoma, & Penn State) that often can end up in the top five, but I can't see any end up in the top two consistently, now or in the near future.

Most of the second tier and non-competitive teams are wasting all this time working on new techniques that they will never use in competition. Think about why a18-23 year old would use these new techniques when he has been trained for 12-15 years to do things a certain way (Successfully!). Would it not be better to enhance his techniques with better stance and positioning to improve them? The benefit in doing so would increase confidence and hopefully improve dedication and heart.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Rex Holman added to this discussion on January 25, 2008

Roe-

Would Gable have been as dominant today as he was back in 1972. Yes, No, Maybe. I canít answer that question. There are definitely more resources as a competitor to aid you in beating the likes of him. I.e OTC, freestyle coaches. Video, workout partners, however, the Russians had ample resources and could not figure it out. I donít think the internet would serve in this capacity. Technology and money do have their advantages.

I like to think of the modern day Gable as McIlravy. A guy that is phenomenal on conditioning and completely devoted to winning. McIlravy lost in 2000 to a guy that was a highly evolved wrestler and was simply a better athlete. Daniel Igali had freakish ability and could do amazing things on the mat. McIlravy lost in the NCAA finals to Steve Marianetti of Illinois and won 3 titles. Marianetti had two weeks to instill a better strategy to beat him. I am sure his coaches prepped him to beat McIlravy. I would go so far to say that his coaches outlined a near perfect design to which he carried out brilliantly.

I think Gable has been deified to a point that matches religious fervor. I read Randy Lewisís article about his workout with Gable when Randy was in his prime and Gable was not. Two things struck me. One, the complete amount of respect that Randy Lewis has for Gable and two, the workout was highlighted by Gable grinding on him and wearing him out, which is the Iowa way. They wrote a book about it.

Everyone on this planet is human. Humans are vulnerable to weakness. Weakness will manifest sooner or later. So, everyone will lose sooner or later. Only a handful of people gave Marianetti a chance to beat McIlravy or Rulon to beat Karelin. The very best are beatable at some point although their past accomplishments lead us to believe otherwise.

Gable is idolized so much that his wrestlers are willing to do whatever he asks under the assumption that his word is final and will result in winning. His guys show extreme levels of faith and commitment to him. It is kind of like a religious leader saying that he will deliver you to the promised land as long as you follow his way. I see the same thing going on with Brands. The only way to beat his team is to recruit as good or better athletes and teach them how to beat the Iowa way of constant pressure. One more example. Look at Belichik and the Patriots. They have the Patriots way and they are 17-0 and playing in the Super Bowl. It is a cultlike atmosphere that the players embrace because he has shown that he can get them to their promised land.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Michael Rodriguez added to this discussion on January 25, 2008

Rex...Are you saying the "cult-like" following of some coaches is a good thing, a bad thing, or are you just saying it is what it is without judgement?

Also, if, in order to beat Iowa, you have to out recruit them, do you also have to instill that cult-like following in your wrestlers to live by your "this is the way to beat Iowa" style?



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Rex Holman added to this discussion on January 25, 2008

Mike-

Let me euphemize cult-like as I realize it has a lot of negative associations. How about an environment or culture of winning?

Yes, it is necessary to have the Buckeye Way or a culture that a team adheres. Interesting that cult and culture have the same root.

Think about Gable trained or Jordan trained tee shirts. They make a statement of belief, attitude and testament which goes way beyond something that provides shelter from the elements.



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Discussion Topic: Developing College Wrestling Skills
Rex Holman added to this discussion on January 25, 2008

and I am doing so without judgment.



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