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Galagore

What do we do about it?

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Many of us in another thread are noticing that the level of wrestling seems to be declining after we get past the top tier wrestlers. There have been a few suggestions on the reason...kids don't want to work as hard, specialization is causing the top to pull away from the middle, resources in many communities aren't what they are in others. The fact is, it will be very difficult to do something about those problems directly, so what do we do to improve wrestling quality and participation in the state? At this point, even maintaining what we have is something that would be valuable. When I coached football and we would start getting grumpy about the guys on the team not being the way we want in one way or another, the head coach would allow us to go for a few minutes. Then he would say, "alright, enough of that. We have the guys we have and we can't change that. How do we succeed with what we have?" So, how do we succeed with multi-sport athletes in communities that don't already have well-established clubs? The answer can't be to establish clubs and tradition in those areas because if that was going to happen, it would have already happened. Any thoughts?

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2 hours ago, Galagore said:

Many of us in another thread are noticing that the level of wrestling seems to be declining after we get past the top tier wrestlers. There have been a few suggestions on the reason...kids don't want to work as hard, specialization is causing the top to pull away from the middle, resources in many communities aren't what they are in others. The fact is, it will be very difficult to do something about those problems directly, so what do we do to improve wrestling quality and participation in the state? At this point, even maintaining what we have is something that would be valuable. When I coached football and we would start getting grumpy about the guys on the team not being the way we want in one way or another, the head coach would allow us to go for a few minutes. Then he would say, "alright, enough of that. We have the guys we have and we can't change that. How do we succeed with what we have?" So, how do we succeed with multi-sport athletes in communities that don't already have well-established clubs? The answer can't be to establish clubs and tradition in those areas because if that was going to happen, it would have already happened. Any thoughts?

I think that is the biggest thing affecting the middle tier guys. I can see the resource inequality to an extent. Why I think it is important to move the focus a little more on the team dual side of things. Kids want to have an opportunity in big moments and most of the middle and lower aren't going to have many on the individual side past sectional or maybe regionals. However, in team duals moving up a weight and keeping it to a decision or not getting pinned/teched can be a big thing. Why the IHSWCA is a big deal to Prairie Heights and Adams Central and etc. Yes those teams have really good kids, but being a Jet/BAGUBA there has only been 1 individual state champ before I was ever born and I've been out of school awhile now. Maybe for our multi sport athletes we push the benefits of wrestling in helping football and etc and have them focus on the workouts of wrestling without cutting weight. 

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Your first step, and I mean this sincerely, is to attend the Scholastic Leadership Academy as part of the IHSWCA Fall Clinic. Coach Pete Jacobsen will cover a range of topics designed to help build your program, deal with parents and make wrestling special in your school. Pete turned around a program and made it into a power in New York. You will come away from this event as a better coach.

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Going the route of weekday duals makes sense. My athletic director and I have talked about even doing a wrestling meet to coincide with one of the boys and girls varsity basketball double headers...Wrestling at 5:00, Girls BB at 6:30, boys BB at 8:00 (or however the times worked out). And definitely looking to improve oneself as both a coach and a leader of a program is an excellent idea.

Is there anything that the wrestling community can do as a whole to help the situation? Is there anything that we should be collectively pushing toward or emphasizing or promoting that would help the growth of the sport as a whole?

One thing that I have felt for a long time needs to change is our approach to youth wrestling. Almost always we reward those that are already headed in the right direction with more wrestling, and we tell those that are struggling, "Nice try little fella, now get out of the way so we can see who the best 8-year-old is today."

Would it help our cause to do more round-robin and pool-type wrestling and fewer bracketed winner-take-all meets? Scheduling-wise alone I would think it would be a load off everyone's minds.

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9 hours ago, Galagore said:

"Nice try little fella, now get out of the way so we can see who the best 8-year-old is today."

It's my observation that those little "ISWA" fella's become darn good wrestlers 8 years later (many start making the top of the ladder 1 to 2 years later). It's the kids that enter late middle school and freshman year that struggle a bit.

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51 minutes ago, gsmith58 said:

It's my observation that those little "ISWA" fella's become darn good wrestlers 8 years later (many start making the top of the ladder 1 to 2 years later). It's the kids that enter late middle school and freshman year that struggle a bit.

I agree that the best usually come from that group. What happens, though if we create an environment that allows for more growth at the youth level? Would we be able to increase the number of kids who identify themselves as wrestlers? That really is the key. When a kid looks in the mirror and sees a wrestler, that's when we keep them. And it doesn't really matter if they're great, average, or even not very good. They keep with it because it is part of who they are. I have seen plenty of kids who play basketball until high school is over, and are never very good. They just see basketball as part of their identity. If we open the door to more kids getting more mat time at the youth level, maybe we will get more wrestlers of all levels, which is necessary for the long-term health of the sport.

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2 hours ago, gsmith58 said:

It's my observation that those little "ISWA" fella's become darn good wrestlers 8 years later (many start making the top of the ladder 1 to 2 years later). It's the kids that enter late middle school and freshman year that struggle a bit.

Youth wrestling has something like a 53% retention rate. Even though our membership numbers are rather equal from year to year, we have to replace almost half of the kids from year to year.

Here is the report with the retention rates
http://content.themat.com/2016-17annualreport.pdf

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One thing our area as done for a while for the beginner level kids is to have "Rival Nights".

This is hosted by the area schools and we do mat side match ups based on age and weight. We include all of Adams County, Wells County, Jay County, New Haven, and Parkway Ohio- along with any other kid that has an USA card.

The HS kids officiate and we push though as many matches as possible just to get them match experience. 

Since we have done this, I feel we have done a better job retaining our beginner kids. Our club numbers have increased significantly over the last 7-8 years. 

Once those kids have a couple years under their belt, we move them to the duals team, individual events, etc. 

 

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One of the biggest components of building a successful wrestling feeder is a strong and dedicated group of parents who work with each other and with the coaches.  A lot of kids on our teams had wrestlers with minimal parental assistance and the present parents took all of us to events.

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19 hours ago, mikemorgan said:

V2 seems to help keep a lot of guys out and improves the skill level of those middle tier guys

Most teams can't fill a full line-up let alone two full line-ups. V2 teams are a rich get richer advantage and only helps those specific teams.

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22 hours ago, jetwrestling said:

One thing our area as done for a while for the beginner level kids is to have "Rival Nights".

This is hosted by the area schools and we do mat side match ups based on age and weight. We include all of Adams County, Wells County, Jay County, New Haven, and Parkway Ohio- along with any other kid that has an USA card.

The HS kids officiate and we push though as many matches as possible just to get them match experience. 

Since we have done this, I feel we have done a better job retaining our beginner kids. Our club numbers have increased significantly over the last 7-8 years. 

Once those kids have a couple years under their belt, we move them to the duals team, individual events, etc. 

 

We do weeknight events that are similar where a club comes in and we match them up for a few hours and get out of there. The parents love it and so do the kids. The days have long gone of the "badge of honor" being at a tournament from 6am until 9pm. 

Retention rates are what will help the sport. In all honesty we have to cater to the parents more than the kids as they are the ones driving them to practices and events. If you look at youth soccer and baseball they have games and are out in a couple hours max, but wrestling you can be at a tournament for hours and hours and get a few matches in. The friendlies are great at catering to this and my guess is those clubs have seen a lot more retention of their athletes. 

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On 9/20/2019 at 10:24 AM, Y2CJ41 said:

Youth wrestling has something like a 53% retention rate. Even though our membership numbers are rather equal from year to year, we have to replace almost half of the kids from year to year.

Here is the report with the retention rates
http://content.themat.com/2016-17annualreport.pdf

Do we have in state comparison data?

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On 9/20/2019 at 9:19 AM, Galagore said:

I agree that the best usually come from that group. What happens, though if we create an environment that allows for more growth at the youth level? Would we be able to increase the number of kids who identify themselves as wrestlers? That really is the key. When a kid looks in the mirror and sees a wrestler, that's when we keep them. And it doesn't really matter if they're great, average, or even not very good. They keep with it because it is part of who they are. I have seen plenty of kids who play basketball until high school is over, and are never very good. They just see basketball as part of their identity. If we open the door to more kids getting more mat time at the youth level, maybe we will get more wrestlers of all levels, which is necessary for the long-term health of the sport.

I always enjoyed weeknight match ups. The more efficient the matches-up the better.

The Ohio Tourney of Champions does it right (I know it's not completely applicable to local youth tourneys, but...); it's one period of a hybrid folkstyle/freestyle and they tell you when to show for your mat. The mat is only one or two weight classes/age groups, and you're on deck about every 15-20 minutes. It flyes. Having only one period helps.

I might be showing my age, but the the more statistics & publicity posted about the athletes the better; (even at the youth and middle school level); online, in the rooms, in local papers, in the school publications, etc. Look how folks love the magazine and rankings on this site.

How do you get more High School matches like Brownsburg and Avon? My son and I both love going because the atmosphere is similar to a high school basketball rivalry. Perry is similar. It's a lot of fun and it's something young kids enjoy particular when they know the wrestlers.

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3 hours ago, gsmith58 said:

Do we have in state comparison data?

It has all the other states in there, look at it. Indiana actually has a decent retention rate...but I wouldn't call 53% good. 

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7 hours ago, Y2CJ41 said:

It has all the other states in there, look at it. Indiana actually has a decent retention rate...but I wouldn't call 53% good. 

My mistake. I missed the details. My next question is do they have that rate by state over time (don't tell me it's in the doc)? That would be informative.

It appears that to me that we are at or near the top third and even within that group, for the most part, we are within a point or two. There are only 3 or 4 60+ states (more northerly, less hoops driven?) and within that upper third for the most part we're clustered within a 2 to 4% range. 

I suppose that would be on average a retention of 2 to 4 more youth athletes/year or are you thinking something more dramatic? How much do you believe that rate could be realistically pushed?

 

 

 

Edited by gsmith58

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9 hours ago, gsmith58 said:

My mistake. I missed the details. My next question is do they have that rate by state over time (don't tell me it's in the doc)? That would be informative.

It appears that to me that we are at or near the top third and even within that group, for the most part, we are within a point or two. There are only 3 or 4 60+ states (more northerly, less hoops driven?) and within that upper third for the most part we're clustered within a 2 to 4% range. 

I suppose that would be on average a retention of 2 to 4 more youth athletes/year or are you thinking something more dramatic? How much do you believe that rate could be realistically pushed?

Not sure if there are year by year totals or not.

I would say 60-70% retention rate would be great, especially when we see that we almost have the same total participants ever year. Just keeping two more kids a year if you start at 10 kids in 1st grade would be HUGE when you get to high school.

If you think about it now, if a school starts with 10 1st graders after their 8th grade year they will still have 10 kids in that grade out for wrestling while 35 other have tried and quit. If you keep one more kid each year you'll have 12 kids that have been in it multiple years rather than 5 that have multiple years and 5 first year kids.

 

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On 9/21/2019 at 3:38 PM, gsmith58 said:

I always enjoyed weeknight match ups. The more efficient the matches-up the better.

The Ohio Tourney of Champions does it right (I know it's not completely applicable to local youth tourneys, but...); it's one period of a hybrid folkstyle/freestyle and they tell you when to show for your mat. The mat is only one or two weight classes/age groups, and you're on deck about every 15-20 minutes. It flyes. Having only one period helps.

I might be showing my age, but the the more statistics & publicity posted about the athletes the better; (even at the youth and middle school level); online, in the rooms, in local papers, in the school publications, etc. Look how folks love the magazine and rankings on this site.

How do you get more High School matches like Brownsburg and Avon? My son and I both love going because the atmosphere is similar to a high school basketball rivalry. Perry is similar. It's a lot of fun and it's something young kids enjoy particular when they know the wrestlers.

Another great point as the season seems to have too many supers/invitational events. Sports that create team/school rivalry events prosper more (football, basketball, some baseball). Sort of goes with my point of switching main focus of individuals to teams.

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8 minutes ago, PhillyFanMD said:

Training at a Club 365 a year is a MUST.

Gotta move to Indy and join Red Cobra or Evansville and join MCWC

Do u really believe those are the only two area and clubs? I think your sadly mistaken 

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Just now, Champ725 said:

Do u really believe those are the only two area and clubs? I think your sadly mistaken 

As terrible as Evansville is who would want to live in Da Region?

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I think this is cyclical at schools.  I am at a school where our enrollment is 591 according to IndianaMat.   This upcoming season we will start with 50 plus kids.  I do not think this is typical for a school our size.  I know Prairie Heights had a few years where they were in the mid 40's, which also is phenomenal for a school their size.  I feel we produce some very good middle tier kids.  I feel Prairie Heights does the same.  They also had a kid place top 6 this year.  I also know we've produced some top kids as we've had a 6th, 3rd, 3rd, and a 2nd in the last 7 years.  We have our wrestling club in the spring and I know of a few others that have clubs as well in the spring.  Are they academies?  No. Are the academies better staffed than the clubs around here(FWSS)?  Or, are the kids more willing in those other areas?  Or does a coach need to come in and establish that tradition at a particular school?  The school I'm at had success before I was there and I simply helped to continue the success and recruit the kids within our school to wrestle.  Our numbers are at an all time high because the kids believe we are a "wrestling school."  You know quickly who the solid coaches are in the FWSS.  In one particular SS the question isn't who are the quality coaches, but rather who isn't a quality coach?

Edited by nkraus
past tense/present tense

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2 hours ago, PhillyFanMD said:

As terrible as Evansville is who would want to live in Da Region?

Never Been to Evansville but don’t believe those are the only two places to train......I believe Da Region will have school win State in the near future and the talent level is coming from multiple clubs 

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15 hours ago, casualwrestlingfan said:

Another great point as the season seems to have too many supers/invitational events. Sports that create team/school rivalry events prosper more (football, basketball, some baseball). Sort of goes with my point of switching main focus of individuals to teams.

To the retention point it would seem to me  2 to 5 youth athletes a year could be doable. I can think of a couple things that might help. I've noticed in multiple setting (clubs, camps, rooms, academies, tourneys, duals) that the lesser kids don't get the attention that the more experienced and gifted kids get. Hardly insightful, but I think its important if were talking about a handful of kids. I am not saying they are being ignored and getting no attention. What I am saying is they and their parents need 'way more' encouragement and 'way more' attention than the better more experienced kids.

I know that is not natural in any sport, but I can't think of many sports that can be more difficult and "humiliating" for beginners and their parents. I can't tell you how many times I have had to talk first and second year (and sometime later) parents off the cliff during a tourney because some up and coming academy wizard took down, cut, took down, cut, etc, etc. their 11 year old beginner son. Its darn hard for everyone those first couple of years. That in itself does not encourage retention.

Edited by gsmith58

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