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I'm curious how some schools who maybe haven't had the most success in recent years and haven't had the numbers get kids to come out and wrestle. At Rushville we have around 800 kids. We wrestled at Sectionals with 7 with 10 on the team. I've been coaching at Rushville for four years now and we have never had more than 20 kids. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks.

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It all starts with building numbers at the lower levels. What type of club program do you have in place for kids at the elementary level, do you run elementary camps or an entire club program? What involvement do you have with the middle school development? Do you have coaches in the building? What is your relationship with the football coach, this can be huge in working as a team to get kids out for your program.

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It all starts with building numbers at the lower levels. What type of club program do you have in place for kids at the elementary level, do you run elementary camps or an entire club program? What involvement do you have with the middle school development? Do you have coaches in the building? What is your relationship with the football coach, this can be huge in working as a team to get kids out for your program.

We have a pretty solid elementary group. We have around 50 kids participating. Our MS team has around 20-25 kids. I know I will lose some of those to basketball when they get in high school. I teach at one of our elementarys. I don't have anyone at the high school and that's very tough. Our football coach has a "football or nothing" mentality, which is depressing since we are not very strong in football.

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One of the things that's really helped us at greensburg is taking the whole team to a camp early in the summer. We usually go in June before football is in full swing. It helps the incoming freshman get exposed to the higher competition, but more than anything else it helps build team unity. We've got a pretty tight group of guys on the team, and once the incoming freshman see what it's like, they seem to stick around a lot better. Obviously a strong youth and middle school program is important too. But building that team culture has been very helpful for us too.

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Strongly consider having your middle school wear fight shorts and compression shirts instead of singlets and spend the money to make them something they want to wear.  We saw our numbers increase by approximately 20% just by changing the uniform.   Also have the uniforms ready before the season starts so your returning wrestlers can have them to wear and show off - tell them to wear them to PE and around school.  If you can get a teacher on staff who can recruit during PE class pre-season, that helps a lot also.  I highly recommend Wrestling Addix, but plan well in advance to make sure you have it early.  Most kids will buy their own shorts and shirts to keep if they are nice.  If you can afford an initial investement and then sell to the kids who want to buy at cost, you should come close to getting your money back.  

Edited by TheGenerealsDad

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Our annual enrollment for Carroll (Flora) High School is capped at ~650 students and we typically have ~500 enrollments total year over year, so we truly are a small 1A school.

 

The wrestling program is growing and it really takes involvement by more than one individual on several levels.

 

Our school and club programs are fortunate to have more than one coach on the staff and they are all helping promote the sport and recruit others. The Carroll Varsity Football Coach encourages the team members to wrestle and that also helps us to grow. We are very thankful that he really understands how wrestling helps the development of all football players and continually stresses the importance of participation in our program. 

 

Another key is that our Club coach took it upon himself to donate a huge amount of his time, to host several recruiting sessions for HS, MS and Club to promote our program and increase awareness. His approach to engaging students during lunches and encouraging them to try the sport has helped tremendously. 

 

In addition, he encouraged elementary school parents to consider our club program as an alternative to other after school child care options and that was absolutely huge.

We now have over 35 kids in club and the program is growing daily.

 

Coach Nieman suggested encouraging kids to attend camps and I totally agree. We are also taking our kids to the Regional Training Centers across the state and that helps as well. Take them to a college event to build team unity... Purdue had a really nice event for the youth programs this year for their dual vs. Penn State and our kids loved it.

 

I have always been a big believer of wrestling in the off-season in ISWA/USA Wrestling Folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco events and that is another great way for kids to become involved.

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I'm curious how some schools who maybe haven't had the most success in recent years and haven't had the numbers get kids to come out and wrestle. At Rushville we have around 800 kids. We wrestled at Sectionals with 7 with 10 on the team. I've been coaching at Rushville for four years now and we have never had more than 20 kids. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks.

 

Do nothing.  Wait for class wrestling to solve the problem. 

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We have a pretty solid elementary group. We have around 50 kids participating. Our MS team has around 20-25 kids. I know I will lose some of those to basketball when they get in high school. I teach at one of our elementarys. I don't have anyone at the high school and that's very tough. Our football coach has a "football or nothing" mentality, which is depressing since we are not very strong in football.

I heard the assistant principal at the high school is amazing and knows a little about the sport. See if she can help!

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I'm curious how some schools who maybe haven't had the most success in recent years and haven't had the numbers get kids to come out and wrestle. At Rushville we have around 800 kids. We wrestled at Sectionals with 7 with 10 on the team. I've been coaching at Rushville for four years now and we have never had more than 20 kids. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks.

Principal at the HS is Rob Hadley maybe contact him he wrestled in college and coached multiple state champs when he was coaching at Whiteland.

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Some people make it seem so easy to build a program, to get numbers, and then ultimately have success.

 

A youth program is a great start, but you MUST retain those kids or else the youth program is worthless. The biggest thing that will scare off kids is pushing them to go to events too early. I would only push beginner tournaments, friendship meets, etc if anything early on. Tournaments are scary and not fun if you aren't ready for them.

 

Here are some suggestions for the high school level.

If you aren't in the building one good way is to go to lunch and sit down with the kids and recruit them that way. Have your wrestlers point you towards kids that they think would help the team.

 

Talk to the football/cross county/soccer teams, especially the middle school and freshman teams near the end of their seasons. Hopefully you can get a respected coach to say wrestling is good also, that NEVER hurts.

 

Good old fashioned bribery never hurts. Tell the current wrestlers that if they get one new kid to come out next year and he stays out you'll do X for the kid that go the new guy out. X could be some cool gear, pizza party, or anything else that the kids would eat up.

 

Promote the sport by doing things like a float in a holiday parade or setting up a booth at a festival. 

 

Another great way to promote the sport at the school is give the kids lots of different wrestling shirts. Things for perfect attendance, being on the honor roll, 20 wins, wrestler of the week, etc. That way the kids are wearing them and others are constantly seeing it.

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Those are all really good ideas.

 

The most important thing that we do is work with football, and track. In turn they push kids to wrestle. The main way we did this was by doing the exact same weights program those sports do. This year football lifted everyday after school. We just started practice half an hour later. Football kids lifted, cross country kids ran, some kids did homework, some kids did extra wrestling stuff. It keeps them working with their teammates, and let's them focus on what might be their "main" sport while still wrestling.

 

Our school also started giving three sport athlete patches to three sport kids. The patcges look cool, and help to get kids out for sports that they may not otherwise do. We picked up at least 5 kids with these patches alone. They ran track, played football, and couldn't make the basketball team, that left us hahaha.

 

A couple of other things we do- tell the kids they have a good shot at lettering if they come out for the team. Our 106-120 this year consisted of three freshmen who had never wrestled before. We didn't win a lot, but we didn't forfeit.

 

Push your JV schedule. We keep a fair number of kids for 4 years this way, our guys get between 15 and 20 JV matches, it keeps them out.

 

Push the team. Let them know that we won't beat, whatever team without them. Sell the kids on the importance of each weight. Example this year our 182 won a match against Eastside that won the dual for us. He had 4 wins all year, but that match he won the dual for us.

 

Also to add to what Y2 said give the kids stuff for getting kids out. We gave the wrestler who got the most kids out a pair of shoes. We also would do smaller stuff, buy a case of gatorade, if a guy came to conditioning because you brought him you both get gatorade, stuff like that.

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I agree with the Y2 on this topic.  You have to love it before you learn it. At the youth club stage it is all about getting some fundamentals in and making sure they enjoy it.  Not to say that some kids don't respond better with competition in order to feel like their working towards something.  But there are definitely kids it will cause more harm than good.

 

Can you say sharks and minnows!!! 

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I heard the assistant principal at the high school is amazing and knows a little about the sport. See if she can help!

I've also heard her husband knows a little bit about wrestling as well? Maybe she can talk him inot helping out as well!

If worst comes to worst I'd say just send them one county south to wrestle there though :)

I actually did have one of mine a few years back move to Greensburg. He was a senior and coach Cochran had him for one year.

 

 

Thank you everyone for the great ideas. I will definitely try implementing some of them and hopefully things will get started in the right direction!

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