What is wrestling?
Wrestling is arguably the oldest sport in the world. It's history dates back over 10,000 years and it was one of the original ancient Olympic sports. It is the 6th most popular sport for school age boys in the United States, but is the primary sport for various countries around the world. The wrestling seen on television, such as WWE is NOT real wrestling. That wrestling is scripted and made for entertainment. Our wrestling, this wrestling, REAL wrestling, is the only combat sport in school (compared to Tae Kwan Do, Boxing, BJJ, etc) and many of history's greatest leaders embraced this sport as a large reason for success.
Why should my child wrestle?
There a large variety of reasons we believe wrestling is the absolute best sport in the world. It enhances character, discipline, self-confidence, etc. The sport tends to be too difficult for many, but for those who embrace the sport learn to the ultimate power of self. The entire definition of wrestling means to struggle. Wrestlers essentially practice handling adversity daily. Learning how to deal with loss or failure, keeping things in perspective, and continue striving towards personal growth are just a few traits this sport teaches. Ultimately, in this sport, it is not about the destination but the journey.
How young can we start?
We don't believe it is ever too young or old to start wrestling. However, the degree of training will vary depending on age. We have had kids start as early as 4 years old and adults start as late as 50. We embrace both. At the youth level, we choose to focus on building athletes first before we heavily focus on technical wrestling. This is not a common practice but our experience is this makes for a more successful journey in wrestling building an athlete first before building a wrestler.
Folkstyle versus Freestyle versus Greco-Roman:
Folkstyle, or Scholastic wrestling, is the style of wrestling done in school here in the United States. Many country's have their own type of "Folkstyle" wrestling that has been passed down from generation to generation. Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling are the shared international styles of wrestling done at the World Championship and Olympics. Most people here in the U.S. focus on Folkstyle or school wrestling year-round because: 1) they feel their child will never be an Olympian, and 2) they feel training in the Olympic styles is a waste of time since they wrestle Folkstyle in college.
This is foolish. When a coach or parent says their kid will never be an Olympian, they are essentially forcing their insecurities on their athlete. Not good for maximizing potential. Secondly, although it is true the boys wrestle Folkstyle in college, the champions and top college programs all push their student-athletes to train and compete in the Olympic styles since that is what the best-of-the-best wrestle. This is the same reason that we at LOG put so much emphasis on the Olympic styles when not in school season. You don't train in the Olympic styles WHEN you are good. You train in the Olympic style to actually BE good.
Training at other Clubs
Whatever system one fully subscribes to they will ultimately find varying levels of success. One of the things that make LOG such an elite program is our world-class system. What gets us better, faster, than most programs is that we focus a lot on a little versus a little on a lot. However, some parents choose to send their kids to multiple places to get a little here and a little there, taking from multiple coaches. There is relative success with this strategy and logically this makes sense, but what many fail to realize is that at some point they face the inevitability of creating a jack-of-all-trades but master of nothing.
Every coach/program has a system. It becomes difficult for any coach to fully invest in an athlete when they only see them casually or part-time. We do not officially dissuade athletes from training at different clubs, but understand there is a risk involved. Because we are an exclusive program, we prefer to have exclusive time and control over their development, to better ensure success. When they have multiple systems, even if they all work, it can be difficult for a coach in one system to coach a wrestler who is trained in a completely different or multiple systems. It's not impossible to work through, but it definitely delays the wrestlers complete development in their primary system.
Working with School Coaches
Some school coaches are better than others at working with LOG. This includes school coaches who are open to our communication, membership, training schedule, and assistance with and for the student-athlete. These coaches receive a higher quality wrestler, with higher expectations, and a positive influence in your room pushing year-round training. LOG members become the more successful kids for their school and these coaches have a much higher probability of coaching them at the IHSAA State Finals - which of course is great for everyone.
On the other hand, there are some school coaches that do not want anyone else working with their kids (see above). When school coaches dissuade an athlete or family from training with LOG, this makes the growth of the athlete that much more difficult. It does not help the wrestler maximize their potential. It actually creates a bigger issue and more stress for the athlete, family and the school coach themselves. The same perceived threat school coaches fight against in working with LOG ultimately becomes an actual threat by choosing to shun our efforts to work collectively.
School coaches must understand that every coach at LOG has coached for a school program at some point, whether college, high school, or younger. We understand what you are trying to build, which is usually team camaraderie and pride, successful student-athletes and a successful school program. But also understand that these families came and bought in for our exclusive training and opportunities. We focus on preparing for international success and not just local or state success. This is not something that should be threatening but appreciated and embraced.
Our program helps every system taught by school coaches as we utilize the most current USAW Core Curriculum. We can show anything in the world, but instead focus on teaching the fundamentals, habits, skills and mental requirements of the top 2% in the country. However, for more advanced training, if you as the school coach teach cradles on top then we don't force leg-riding. We reinforce cradles with your athlete! But we go out of our way to work in tandem with school coaches including over the phone, texts, emails, Zoom, and can even assist in practices to create a tailored plan for you and your program. Let us help.
In an effort to be as fair as possible with schools our policy is that members are only required to register at events under LOG for the Freestyle and Greco-Roman season (March - July). Folkstyle season (October - February) is for the schools. We would like the school coach to still be present in the corner with the LOG coach to best help the athlete, and expect the same during the Folkstyle season. But we spend just as much time and, in most cases, more time with the student-athlete so working together is necessary.
A.K.A. "cutting weight". Hands down this is arguably the worst part of the sport. It is extremely unhealthy when done incorrectly and makes for a long and potentially lackluster season. For this reason, at LOG we do not even use the terms "cutting weight". Proper weight management on the other hand is necessary, as we have to adhere to weight classes. Still, we push our members to get bigger, faster and stronger at all times. When we place our individuals according to weight class, we take their growth into consideration throughout the season as opposed to their decline. In order to peak at the right time, according to the periodization schedule, proper nutrition and weight management is a key component.
Show up ready to get better. Don't miss practice, but especially don't miss practice for another practice somewhere else. Contrary to what coaches say, they do have favorites - and it isnt always the "best" athlete on the team. There are some situations where the "best" wrestler has the absolute worst character traits. No, the coach's favorites are those who show up on time every day ready to work, who have a good attitude, who are coachable and who positively supports their teammates and gives 100% all the time. The rest will take care of itself.
Wrestlers and their families are the best but their energy can vary. Some may be new to the culture and don't know anything about anything, whereas others are extremely involved to a fault. We believe every parent has their child's best interest at heart and our expectation is that parents allow us do our jobs in coaching their athlete. To ensure we maximize the athlete's potential, as this sport is already hard and humbling enough, we need our parents to stay as positive and supportive as possible and love them through everything.
Duel Meets and Tournaments
A wrestling duel is a competition between two or more teams where everyone in the line-up faces off against the other teams line-up. Individual tournaments are where individual wrestlers compete against others in their weight class. At either of these events, LOG comes out in full force. We need families to sit together and support each other as LOG, even though a private academy, is still a team. Usually an hour before the event starts we go through a team warm-up and ensure our wrestlers are ready to go perform. Our coaches are eager to coach them through this event, but sometimes parents may need to corner their athlete if an LOG or school coach is unavailable. As anxious as this may make a parent, it is relatively easy as all parents need is yell is one word: "score".
We have an official competition schedule from October to July, but there are tournaments essentially everywhere and at all times. Unless otherwise consulted with the coaching staff, we prefer members follow our schedule versus doing their own thing. Our schedule is setup specifically to maximize our potential so it is imperative that wrestlers participate in as many as possible. Outside of our schedule however, if there is an opportunity to compete that does not conflict with our team schedule, we push families to participate at as many tournaments as possible.
As the only Olympic developmental academy sponsored by USAW in the country, our schedule also includes international competitions. These can be life-changing opportunities for many wrestlers as we wrestle all over the world. Typically there is no pre-qualification for these events other than being members of our program, but they can be expensive for some families. We suggest pursuing sponsorships to aid in covering the financial costs. Whether in Greece or the Netherlands, all trips have plenty of adult chaperones and parents are urged to come if possible.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL:
To maximize their potential. Our program is designed to equip members with a world-class system from the beginning and our expectation and capabilities are that we work with them for the entire duration of their time in this sport, at every level. Still, wrestling is something we do. Our wins and losses do not define who we are. From a performance standpoint, sure we are looking to win Olympic titles, World Titles, and World Cups - but the ultimate goal is to create strong, self-confident, driven, disciplined, and positive men and women in our communities.