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doctorWrestling

Kids who quit and what to say to them

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I have a few kids I really thought would be back on the team after a successful middle school season last year that decided not to come back.  I am talking about kids who could have a really good high school career if they work at it.  I have a hard time deciding how much to chase a kid who says they just don't want to do it.  There are a lot of great stories about coaches who simply tell the kid "shut up, you aren't quitting" like Daniel Dennis's coach told him.  At the same time, at some point they have to make their own mistakes.  I have really pursued a few kids in the past and tried to give them extra help so they could be successful and it seemed to work out.  I know the sport is great for preparing kids for life and hate to see anyone leave.  Just wondered how other coaches feel about this and when you pull the plug on a kid who says they don't want to.

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Its a tough line to balance. The goal should be to convince them that its good for them and they can be apart of something special. It can be hard if you're at a small school and team successes are few and far between. I know we use the goals of the Team State Duals to keep kids out. It could be a difficult thing for some schools but try and find an attainable goal for the team and make them feel like an integral part to that plan. 

 

These are things we have done in this situation and have had some success in keeping kids out. 

 

That being said we have also gone the other way done everything we could and they just don't react at some point you have to be able to realize you did all you could and its not worth you're time to pursue it any more. 

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Wrestling is a tough sell to any kid, but middle school might be the most difficult because it's hard for them to look past the next hour of their lives. Kids today live in an immediate satisfaction world and wrestling isn't something that most kids are successful at during their first year, especially when they are bigger 6th grade kids. We always tell our kids that they need to weather the storm, work hard, with the ultimate goal being dishing out beatings of their own by 8th grade. It helps having feel good stories like Jake Kleimola, kids who weren't good early on, but worked their tail off to eventually become a state champion. We try to get kids back and remind them of the ultimate goal we spoke about when they don't come back out as 7th graders, but as Fabio said, sometimes it's addition by subtraction if they aren't committed. I'd rather have 20 that want to be there than 30, 10 of which you have to beg to stay and get off the bus every other day. We are a corporation of three middle schools, so if we get 5-10 kids to come out as freshman, I feel we did our job.

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I've told our kids to follow their dreams and to pour their hearts into something THEY enjoy, not the parents and/or coaches. While I agree wrestling teaches many life lessons that will be valuable moving forward, pushing someone to participate in something they don't enjoy is pointless. 

 

What's most important? 

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I've told our kids to follow their dreams and to pour their hearts into something THEY enjoy, not the parents and/or coaches. While I agree wrestling teaches many life lessons that will be valuable moving forward, pushing someone to participate in something they don't enjoy is pointless. 

 

What's most important? 

Agreed

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Can't beg kids to do it. I have never had long term success with a kid that I've had to beg to participate. Sometimes you have to tell a kid "Good luck" and let them choose not to participate or to quit.

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Last season we had a kid named Matthew Cullen. Matthew was a Jv wrestler for three years. He was a career .500 wrestler. At the beginning of last season, it appeared that Matthew was going to be a four year JV wrestler. There was an injury or two that propelled Matthew into the varsity line up. He had a great season, and became a state qualifier. If you ask Matthew.. "do you have any regrets (as far as your high school career goes)?" he would surely say "no!"

As far as that all goes... you can't just let a kid walk away... without laying it all out for them. Our team is a brotherhood, we all need each other to succeed. Most likely they will get their chance to shine (if the work is put in). Kids have one shot at high school. You have to let them know that they WILL regret leaving, if they choose to do so. Eveytime that the walk into a gym or wrestling room they will regret quitting. With that said... do not leave high school with regrets. Stick to sports, ask the prettiest girl out, and make good grades. Don't be the old guy at the bar or reunion, saying that he could have been great. These kids have one chance! Let them know this, and that you and the team will be there for the lows and highs. Basically if you quit... you will have regrets and sometimes regrets are not the best things to live with.

As someone that coaches kids prior to them even stating elementary school, it kills me to see kids quit. I see these kids grow up. I see the highs and lows. I see some go onto greatness. I see some quit and go downhill. But... that our sport as a whole (peeks and valleys). It won't be easy to continue... but.... how many Matthew Cullen's do we know (not many) and how many could have beens do we know? As a coaches and mentors, we should make the kids aware of both types of guys, and encourage them to be a Matthew Cullen type.

Edited by Mattyb

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I like win...but...As a coach and teacher it's easy to "coach" "teach" the kids that want to "learn". Imo we have to reach those kids who need us more than we need them. Make a difference in their lives. change their path. And if it helps the team then that's a bonus.

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I've kept a lot of kids out, but I have also lost many. Here are my suggestions:

 

1.) Listen to them. Hold the urge to just talk. Find out their reasons for wanting to quit. I always tell them "i want to elimate any obstacles you have". Maybe they just need a ride or can't afford a fee. If that's the problem, we can deal with it. Could be confidence or issue with someone on the team. Those can be dealt with.

 

2.) Use the team. Whether varsity or jv make them feel important. The team needs you or these individuals need you to accomplish their goals.

 

3.) I also always explain they only have 4 years to be a high school athlete. After that, no one cheers for you. You will probably never compete in something meaningful as an athlete again.

 

Use your relationship with them or whatever coach is closest to them to your advantage.

 

All this being said, I have kids quit every year. Hope it helps.

 

Snyder

#PainTrain

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Thanks for the feedback.  Have had some great coach's weigh in on the topic.  I have used a lot of these same tactics but am looking for any little advantage I can find to keep kids in the sport.  I really feel society and especially this generation needs wrestling.  Football is fine, but it is not close to wrestling when it comes to teaching life's lessons like turning losses into learning opportunities and making changes in your life to get different results.  I truly appreciate the feedback.  Hopefully other coaches can use something from this thread and the sport and more kids grow from it.

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I've told our kids to follow their dreams and to pour their hearts into something THEY enjoy, not the parents and/or coaches. While I agree wrestling teaches many life lessons that will be valuable moving forward, pushing someone to participate in something they don't enjoy is pointless. 

 

What's most important? 

Agreed.  My son stopped wrestling 3 years ago.  He just didn't enjoy it.  Even though I love the sport, it made no sense for me to me to push him into something he didn't like.  Plenty of life lessons can be learned from other activities besides wrestling.  It's his life, not mine.  I encourage him to try many different sports/activities and find his own path.

Edited by MD92

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If they don't have a passion for it, let 'em go. I wrestled from 5th - 12th, but I never took it terribly seriously. Yeah, I worked hard during the season, but baseball was my true love so I didn't do any club wrestling or wrestling specific work outside of fall/winter because of that.  Wrestling, for me, was something to keep me busy and in shape during my offseason. I just happened to enjoy it enough to stick with it.

 

If they enjoy it enough to stick with it, great. But if they don't enjoy it enough to the point they want to quit, let them go and enjoy their youth.

 

This whole "helping them prepare for life" is kind of a cop out. You know what else helps these kids prepare for life? Calculus, Chemistry, Biology, Accounting, etc.

 

If I had it to do over again, I would have worked a lot harder in high school and college instead of being as focused on sports, girls, and parties.

Edited by Forrester

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With all of that said... not every aspect of wrestling is enjoyable. Making weight sucks, morning practice sucks, taking poundings by bigger or better kids in the room sucks. So... when a kid says "I don't enjoy it"... you have to make them know that it is not easy, nothing worth doing in life is. If it was easy, then everyone would do it. Your enjoyment comes when you set your goals and achieve them. Your enjoyment comes when you look around your classroom and realize that you are a bad dude. You can do things that all of the non-wrestlers can't. Your enjoyment comes when your hand is raised and you realize that all the hard work (that wasn't that enjoyable) pays off.

So... when these kids grow up and their marriages hit a rough patch or when they have kids and they realize that life sucks at times... they can look back and see that sometimes you got to endure unenjoyable times to get to the good times.

 

So... if a kid says that they don't enjoy it, and you know deep down that the kid needs wrestling, or you know that wrestling can change his life for the better... then you got to let him know of what is down the road for him, and that sticking to wrestling will help him more than he knows at this time.

 

With all of that said.. Yes grades come first. If a kid doesn't make grades, than they have to know that they are doing everything else for no reason.

Edited by Mattyb

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I don't think it is a cop out to say wrestling prepares kids for life in ways other sports do not.  It doesn't mean kids can't be successful if they don't wrestle.  But I do really believe kids who wrestle and can learn to solve problems and not stop when they hit an obstacle in life can do anything.  Why not have them learn in it wrestling instead of later on in life when bigger consequences are at stake so they are ready to buckle down and figure it out.

Edited by doctorWrestling

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There's a lot of things you want to say to a kid who walks away, especially one that's ranked and has a very good shot at cashing in at the Bank... That said, I had to restrain myself from saying many of those things when the senior up and quit on me after working 1 on 1 for so long.  

 

I'm out of answers but I feel like having a coach in the building is crucial. 

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Your enjoyment comes when you look around your classroom and realize that you are a bad dude.

What a terrible excuse!!

Same thing Chance Marsteller thought.

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Your enjoyment comes when you look around your classroom and realize that you are a bad dude.

What a terrible excuse!!

Same thing Chance Marsteller thought.

not sure what your getting at? I meant that you are a gifted person that can do thing that others can't... kinda like when someone describes a really good wrestler like a bad a$$. I hope this is clarification enough for a southern man.

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There are plenty of basketball players, football players, baseball players, etc. that can do things other people can't.  Wrestling doesn't have a monopoly on bad asses.

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There are plenty of basketball players, football players, baseball players, etc. that can do things other people can't. Wrestling doesn't have a monopoly on bad asses.

naw!... was going to explain... but.... just NAW!!!! Edited by Mattyb

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I believe what he was trying to say is, you're right.

Wrong... There is no right or wrong to this debate. I could go on and on of why I think that wrestlers are tougher than other athletes (mentally and physically), but what it really comes down to is opinion. I do think the other athletes can do cool stuff (that is why I watch and have played those sports too). But.. my point is that it takes a special kid to stick with wrestling and to endure what it takes to excel in our sport. You may believe that other athletes are just as tough. I personally do not. Right or wrong.... just my opinion.

 

And yes 92... I can respect your opinion. You typically have good stuff to say.

Edited by Mattyb

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There are plenty of basketball players, football players, baseball players, etc. that can do things other people can't.  Wrestling doesn't have a monopoly on bad asses.

 

Maybe so, but I have never seen any of them hitting a scale before competing... You better have your head on right to pull off a weight cut.

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There is no doubt that wrestling is tough both mentally and physically, maybe/probably more so than other sports.  But I think some of you are selling the other sports short in these aspects, along with life lessons that kids learn from activities other than wrestling.

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