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Wrestling Forum > How to fix this Wrestling thing....thoughts?
How to fix this Wrestling thing....thoughts?
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909 posts
Dec 13, 2017
9:44 AM
It is very easy to see the decline of Wrestling not just in San Diego County, but nationwide. There are a lot of misguided efforts that people think will save wrestling but I think it needs to be simplified. I commend all efforts by all people involved. I have made countless mistakes I hope other young guys don’t make as they start their careers. I have seen for years now many coaches (myself included) “Running to stand still”. I see this happening right now. A major paradigm shift is needed.

Examples of things people think will help but in my opinion do very little:
1. CIF Dual Championships
2. Singlet stuff
3. Multi class state.
4. Amount of Qualifiers at the state level.

Focus on these things would make a huge difference:

1. A new CLUB centered philosophy. Not every high school coach can coach 11 months year round. Our sport in this county is dreadfully behind the times concerning high level clubs. Clubs are needed. The high school centered concept is outdated and unrealistic. And this contributes to why only there have only been about 2-3 kids in the whole section who went on to be elite in the last 15 years.

2. Putting all efforts into developing YOUTH Wrestlers. There is still a major desire for parents to get their kids into Wrestling. I see it frequently. With greater clubs and opportunities more of these kids will stay. These kids will encourage their high school Freshmen buddies to come out as well.

3. Development and recruitment of quality coaches. Kids coaches often consist of some undereducated parents who ultimately push people away.

In summary, the MAJOR focus should be:

Growing a CLUB centered Philosophy
Recruiting and Developing great coaches
Attracting and developing as many youth Wrestlers as possible.

Also these things are important, but I think the 3 things I mentioned about are the most important:

Eliminating fragmentation
Greater emphasis and desire for the International styles (Freestyle and Greco)
Strengthening the LOCAL scene through collaboration and a shared community effort.

I refuse to listen to arguments like "The pussification of America", or "Kids these days just want to play video games". I have probably made these statements before, but they are excuses. Yes there are certain challenges but the bottom line there is a big market for Wrestling if done right.

Last Edited by Illifornia on Dec 13, 2017 10:45 AM
910 posts
Dec 13, 2017
10:59 AM
Interesting statistics:

Number of boys high school wrestlers per year in the United States
1970 226,681
1975 319,048
1980 273,326
1985 244,598
1990 233,856
1995 216,453
2000 239,105
2005 243,009
2010 272,890
2011 273,732
2012 272,149
2013 270,163
2014 269,518
2015 258,208
2016 250,653
2017 244,804
17 posts
Dec 17, 2017
7:12 AM
Multi division would seriously increase numbers and the view of wrestling. Our school was 2-4 in league in football, not even open class. In the playoffs, they beat a 1-5 in league team, their only win being against us, and won CIF. You should have seen how much fanfare their was and how riled up the community was for a team that had a 2-4 league record. Why cant wrestling coaches and leaders give up the tough guy mentality and open up to multi division like every other state?
1 post
Dec 17, 2017
7:37 PM
I started coaching frosh football this year and realized how little kids actually know about wrestling. Talking to every kid on the team about wrestling I got a lot of the same answer, "I'm too small to wrestle" and that didn't make sense to me what they meant so I explained to them that wrestling had multiple weight classes. A lot of kids thought they would have to wrestle kids bigger and didn't want to do it.

Also, another big one was wearing the singlet for freshman. So we did order 2 piece uniforms and didn't receive them before our first tournament so they had to wear the singlet and once they wore it they didn't mind it. After all said and done I ended up getting 25 freshman football players to wrestle.

I personally think kids are not exposed to it so they don't know much about it so are hesitant to try it. I promoted the hell out of it and our freshman class was a success so far.
142 posts
Dec 18, 2017
8:39 AM
My P.E teacher in 7th and 8th grade had wrestling for 2 weeks with his P.E classes as he had done for many years. That's when I first found out about wrestling.

In 9th grade we had an assembly where the varsity wrestlers demonstrated wrestling moves before the season started.

That year we had a full Freshmen, JV, and Varsity team.

Exposure ...

Now the P.E teacher is retired .. the school no longer promotes wrestling during assemblies.

We are lucky to have a full Varsity squad.
911 posts
Dec 18, 2017
2:47 PM
I am not even saying multi class is a bad thing. But has no impact on participation numbers on a macro scale. My home state added a class and numbers getting worse, more forfeits, etc.

I like the post about exposure. I agree. So the earliest exposure to solid coaching and opportunities is key. And good clubs with a non selfish approach.
18 posts
Dec 18, 2017
4:21 PM
Every states numbers are down. You cannot correlate that with the addition of a division. Teams who are winners always have higher numbers, regardless of how good they actually are. By doubling or quadrupling the amount of winning teams, you are really going to attract more kids IMO.
912 posts
Dec 18, 2017
6:52 PM
I definitely agree with the winning teams thing. But I am thinking MACRO level. But there are obviously lots of things that can produce solid numbers at individual sites.

You may think of that is a MACRO solution and may be correct I don't know. I think dialogue is important.

Last Edited by Illifornia on Dec 18, 2017 6:53 PM
62 posts
Dec 19, 2017
8:34 AM
Promotion is definitely helpful. Promotion of dual meets I think has the most potential, because a great wrestling dual is more exciting than any basketball game I've ever attended. Removing barriers to entry is something that should be taken seriously. If kids are self conscious about a singlet, then fine, no more singlets. I'm not convinced that girls wrestling will ever become as popular on a participation level as boys wrestling, but even if Its only 10%, that's 10% more wrestlers. Basically all of the old hang ups need to go. Wrestling can evolve and still be wrestling. In addition to embracing the grind, we can embrace change.
Don Williams
268 posts
Dec 22, 2017
4:50 PM
Biggest hindrances
1. 17 hour days, multiple days in a row. Kills the sport. No one wants to spend all that time. Wrestlers, coaches, and parents.
2. Skin infections.

Until those two issues are resolved it will always be a fringe sport.

Last Edited by Don Williams on Dec 22, 2017 4:53 PM
15 posts
Jan 04, 2018
10:45 PM
I agree that it starts on a youth level, unfortunately the youth level of wrestling has become so territorial and possessive that it is difficult to grow together. Like crabs in a bucket we defeat ourselves when we could be promoting each other and the sport together.
Just my observation, I wish I had a solution except to continue to invite clubs to come together, build relationships and support each other’s efforts on a local level.

May God Bless you all in this New Year!
Colossians 2:8

Last Edited by c28robert on Jan 05, 2018 9:46 AM
2295 posts
Jan 06, 2018
11:04 PM
I do think the club philosophy is the best option for San Diego. The issue is trust within the ranks. Many coaches believe others are using open rooms as a recruiting tool. I don't believe that was ever a real problem. If someone is interested in leaving the school they will. Recruiting is an art within itself. That isn't how it happens.

I have always opened my room for any wrestler that wanted to learn. I invite coaches to come and HELP teach different perspectives of competition and preparation of this sport. Most are comfortable with what they know and understand about wrestling. Many new coaches are afraid to show weakness and shield their lack of experience to be exposed. Coaches are fearful of being seen as inferior to other coaches. Coaches need to bond in San Diego to grow the sport.

Over the years I have met so many coaches and people that have a passion for this sport I love so much. If the coaches could understand that we are always learning new adjustments to relate to this sport. San Diego could grow. If coaches would learn how to bond as a group and rely on others to give guidance as comrades in arms. San Diego could be a stronger section.

I can tell you since I started coaching in 1985 I have coached many San Diego All Stars, California National teams, Regional teams and Mexican teams of all levels. I watch, listen and ask others how to improve my ability to help teach the wrestlers be successful. I never ever believe one way is the best way. I have always knew others can give insight to help me provide options to feed my wrestlers.

I hope soon we find the key to promoting this great sport. Numbers are reducing and it could soon be the demise of what I believe to be the best sport in history.

But I am not always right so what do I know.
Just voicing my opinion.........
200 posts
Jan 07, 2018
6:43 PM
I agree with a lot of the points raised here, but think our biggest problem is we don't have enough young Coach Vics (matslave), Coach Pitts (Illifornia), etc. committed to coaching. I believe they are amongst us here in San Diego Section, but between trying to stay afloat in this area and raising a family, it can be prohibitive.

Let's face it, developing kid wrestlers through high school takes a tremendous coaching effort. It cannot be done alone. It takes commitment from different levels of coaches and parents willing to share the burden. Other than making boys into men, there is no potential end game of riches like other sports. College scholarship monies can be hard to come by for even top wrestlers.

I worry that soon some High School programs will cease to exist because they can't get qualified, committed coaches. Over the past 15 years our Section has lost many highly qualified coaches for different reasons. Some still help out, some are still involved peripherally (refereeing), but each one lost is not being replaced with like, dedicated talent. Do we really want just a handful of local schools dedicated to this great sport?

How do we overcome this? I know it's not easy. At Doc Buchanan this past weekend, I saw 2 time Masters Champ Brady Beamon coaching a top wrestler from Las Lomas in N Cal. He is coaching up there while he's finishing up his schooling and then, hopefully moving back to S Cal. We need talented young men like him coaching in San Diego.

There are many top ex-wrestlers here in San Diego that I'm sure would love to give back to the sport that has molded them into the men they are today. As a wrestling community it is our duty to try as best we can to get them back and engaged in the truest, noblest sport there is.

Last Edited by cradler on Jan 07, 2018 6:49 PM
316 posts
Jan 08, 2018
10:16 AM
Well said, Joe!
201 posts
Jan 08, 2018
2:22 PM
Not Joe, but close.
913 posts
Jan 10, 2018
10:33 AM
Great input by lots here. Keep it up.

It is rough to see HS teams dropped. If I am not mistaken I think Mission Bay dropped theirs. They had some tough kids there when I moved out here to San Diego.
55 posts
Jan 10, 2018
5:19 PM
Okay, the biggest program with this county isn't singlets, bells and whistles, and all of that, it is, like most non wrestling type areas; attitude. Until you change that not much else will work. What do I mean about attitude. Well no matter what you think of Poways tactics, they are a national ranked program every year. And they even know how to reboot. They got crushed by Graham a few years back and that is where the Poway Elite came from. Not from Branstetter, but from parents and legacy folks. Without saying you emulate the tactics (yes I know they recruit), you emulate the program and the stuff that works as best you can. Baby steps but there has to be continuity. Ego and "they are a teacher so they know best" chases off more good volunteers then you can imagine. You can't stomach Poway. Brawley and their youth program is excellent. Other schools piggy back on these kinds of organizations (RB, LCC), and other programs have drifted in and out of this approach (RBV, San Marcos, Vista, and even Fallbrook a long time ago). I mean in the central valley Clovis and Buchanan became monsters but the other schools - while not having the depth (and recruiting abilities) - have closed the gap. And that area has lapped the state. Don't be jealous of success. Coaching: Coaches help each other out. Study tape. Teach kids enough basics from the get go not to get crushed (I roll my eyes every time I hear "shoot" or "stand up on the whistle"). Yeah you want to win but success breeds success, and being able to compete keeps kids out and brings new ones in. Make it fun: it is almost heresy to call wrestling fun.That mind set may be changing with PSU and the likes of Snyder. It is tough training but wrestling is fun. Next, get rid of the old boy mindset: "This is the way we've always done it." Or, "you don't understand how it works around here". I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this over the years. Clubs: This is how it works in pretty much all sports now. But the school, HS coaches specifically, has to be on board. Where I live every time there is a new coach the feeder or clubs programs languish. It is hard but if you can find just one coach, with a passion, and support them, they will last even with the turnover. But going back to the jealousy thing, or the old boy thing, those folks get chased away. Make it about community. It is hard but parents help, car washes, things like that, that often don't even make much money, but do get you out there in view. Anyhow, I could go on and on and on, but these are just some thoughts. I couple of anecdotes: I learned a lot of what I know from other coaches. DeBerry in Arizona (Larkin the Gallicks are part of his legacy), Pack, various coaches at wrestling camps all over the country, and so on. My thoughts are not unique, they were learned from others, and some of my experiences added in. I passed off this information all the time. Green Valley in Nevada for example has been a powerhouse for awhile. I remember when the coach (a really good guy) was just getting that thing going and picking the brain of coaches all over the place, all willing to share what they knew, from technique, to program development, to passion. A few of Arizona programs, same thing. And now those areas are wrestling areas. I haven't done that much around here. Nobody seems interested I am afraid, except the programs I mentioned, they are always interested in talking the minutia of the sport.
30 posts
Jan 12, 2018
7:44 AM
Poway has a tough feeder club if you count all of the SDS as their club lol
1 post
Jan 12, 2018
10:58 AM
I’m not sure who cradler is but thanks for the shoutout, as he is correct with his information.

I am currently coaching in NorCal, but moving back to San Diego in the next few months.

My goals are just to grow the sport of wrestling, I truly care for each athlete that I coach no matter the school or area. (Although I prefer San Diego)

I would be more than happy to help some local clubs or teams!
194 posts
Jan 13, 2018
3:55 PM
I wonder if Illifornia isn't on to something with this Club Sport analog. We all know the model. My kids played club sports for years. Imagine dozens of "travel clubs" all over Southern California with one or two "teams" in each age group. Each team having one starter at each weight class (possibly an extra sub or backup). On weekends teams are free to setup dual meets, three ways, four ways, or dual meet tournaments.

You could go to a meet with your kid, watch their "team" dual another team and be in and out in an hour and go home. No different than taking them to a travel softball or soccer game. Just like those sports you show up a little early for warmups and you still have the rest of the day to yourselves. Backups could wrestle a match too if both teams have some extras that match up. One mat for each age group and the entire club can participate at once.

Expand to a three- or four-way, add another hour or two for a few more matches and, again, you're out of there quickly with no 12-16 hour days. Heck even a 16 team tournament in a single age group could be done with four mats in 7-8 hours with everyone getting 4 matches.

Of course, there are cons too, for example every team needs a different coach, at least if you have multiple age groups wrestling duals at once. But that's not more difficult than the situation we have now with coaches running all over the place trying to get to everyone. I'm sure you all will come up with others.

This could be done using a dual format for most of the season and have team dual championships. After that's over you can still do a large individual tournament in order to crown individual championships. It's really not much different than a really long high school season but easier on the kids and parents.

Just an idea.

Last Edited by TitanFan on Jan 13, 2018 3:56 PM
118 posts
Jan 31, 2018
3:00 PM
With Metro Conference Tournament coming up this weekend, it's anticipated that the number of participants will be very low. So out of curiosity, I took a look at the numbers from previous years:

Metro Conference (Eastlake, Olympian, San Ysidro, etc.)
2013: 229 Participants
2014: 228
2015: 196
2016: 194
2017: 157

Southwest High School was on the verge of losing their wrestling program this season because no one wanted the Head Coach job - until a 20 year old stepped up to coach the boys varsity/JV and girls team. 1 coach to cover 3 teams!

What can we do as a section to help improve wrestling in the South Bay?

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