Wrestling Post Season Peaking: 3 Mistakes Most People Make

Transcript below, in case you prefer written text to video.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the business of wrestling, a micro podcast today, where I’m going to spend five to seven minutes talking about the moment that you are living in within your wrestling season. The goal of these is to help spread knowledge, help everyone’s programs improve, and be a little bit more efficient, but really to help your athletes be a little bit more competitive.

Today’s topic is going to be the three major mistakes not to make in the post season. The three things that I see commonly happen, number one is coaches carry intensity and volume too far into their post-season training to close to the championship events.

You really want to have a 21 day cycle and you’d work backwards from the final event for that athlete. So if that’s an athlete who can qualify for the regional championships and maybe make the state tournament, you’re really peaking them for regionals. So 21 days back is going to be the start of your peaking cycle.

If it’s an athlete going to the state championships who has a chance to place, you’re going to peak that athlete 21 days from the finals date of that event. And what is that peaking look like? We can elaborate into that, but I highly recommend educating yourself, jumping online. There’s a lot of great resources.

There’s some good audio books that are only a couple of dollars for a full length audio book that can teach you a ton about the sports science of athlete peaking. A sport that I recommend studying for this is marathon runners. And look what their training is. In 30 days, leading up to the race again, volume, intensity moderation.

So for example, the week of your final peak, you really should just be doing weight workouts, getting a sweat in, maybe blowing your lungs out a little bit and fine tuning. You’re not adding anything new. You’re not making any adjustments. You’re not really looking at opponents. You’re really looking at what the athlete needs to do to be successful. If you’re the coach, deliver that information about an opponent in a way that’s constructive for the athlete.

For example, I’m not going to say look out for his underhook. I’m going to say, “Hey, let’s get some reps in on your underhook defense. Hey, let’s work this here.” Maybe I won’t even tell them why. Depending on the athlete, psyche.

Okay. Second major mistake that I see because I see a lot of town programs when they get down to three or four kids left in the room because everyone else lost out a district. They put together these large regional practices. My coaches did it as well. It’s something that’s been going on for 30 or 40 years.

Unfortunately, It’s not good. What you are presenting to your students is a higher risk of injury. Number one, because they’re training with kids they’re not used to training with. They don’t know how they’re going to respond. They don’t know how they’re going to react. They’re uncomfortable. Their anxiety levels are higher.

They’re not in their normal wrestling room or there’s people coming into the wrestling room. They’re going to feel like they have to protect the house. Maybe there’s a kid that is their friend that’s in their bracket. So they might even maliciously try and injure you. You’re just bringing a lot of risk into a situation where you should be mitigating risk.

And by mitigating risks, I mean, low intensity live short situations. 60 to 80% of live, playing, sparring, active drilling to get your conditioning, your timing, and your feel down, not a ton of high intensity high volume live at this point in the season.

Within these regional practices as well, like we want to make sure going into championship season, we’re controlling as many variables as we can. As soon as you start to introduce new variables, a practice room, a coach, a technique, a practice partner.

You’re taking all these variables that an athlete tries to control and needs to control to feel perfect, to feel like they are in the zone, in the moment. Ready to go. And so by doing this, you’re doing the opposite thing of what athletes need. Outside of season, I think it’s an excellent thing to get to do.

To come together, do Friday night lives, do Saturday live, do a barbecue afterward. These things are incredible, but three weeks before championships, not the time.

The third mistake I see everyone make is the brackets. Learn from my mistakes. I’m not going to share that story this time. However, you don’t want to put the bracket in front of your athlete. You want that athlete to show up, focus on one match, focus on their warmup, competing hard, being prepared to compete their nutrition, their rest, their recovery, right?

Rest recovery nutrition are most important right now. If they have the brackets in their mind and they see them on like a Wednesday for a Saturday event, guess what they’re thinking about and wasting emotional energy on for the next three days, you want to isolate your athletes from the bracket.

You also want to train them on the fact that, Hey, you shouldn’t look at the brackets, anybody brings it to you and says, Hey, you’re wrestling such and such. Or you might, you might have such and such in the semi-finals. As an athlete, I’m going to say, I don’t want to know.

I don’t want to know. And this is true for all athletes, no matter how rigid you think you can be in that situation mentally, it just creates additional anxiety. That’s going to have you looking down a bracket when in reality, this is wrestling. You’ve got one match to focus on because you don’t know if you’re going to get out of that match.

So in summary, three major mistakes not to make. The work is already done. In the last 21 days out of your final championship competition, you’re not doing high volume, high intensity. You’re not going to improve your cardio and conditioning. And at that this moment, that is not the work you need. You really need to be focusing on recovery. You need to be focused on good nutrition. You need to be focused on mindset and feeling like you are ready and getting the athletes to believe that the things are already done, that everything’s already in place for them to win.

You need to be focused on making sure with mistake number two, that I’m not introducing new coaches in the last three weeks. I’m not introducing new practice environments. I’m not introducing new training partners for the most part. I’m really keeping this concise. The other valuable variable about having two to four kids in the room after the district tournament is you can focus on their needs. You can do private lessons, you can make adjustments, just get one partner to come in for them. That’s around their size. This is what the best programs in the country are doing.

Penn State, University of Michigan, Iowa. The last three weeks of the season, they’ve got the 10 starters in the room throughout the day. On a Friday, they got the lightweights and they got the middleweights and they got the heavyweights and they might have two to six athletes in the room at a time.

For those last couple of weeks; group practices, they maybe are doing once or twice throughout the week. Anyway, make these adjustments and you’ll see significant growth in your athletes and their ability to peak, to feel great and to compete in the postseason.

This is the Business of Wrestling, micro cast is brought to you in our coaches corner of the WrestlingIQ Academy.

Our little piece of the internet where we’re trying to help grow the sport.

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