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Eleventh? Eleventh you say?

A lot has been said about the now infamous ranking….

Dabo Swinney, Clemson's head football coach, ranking the Ohio State Buckeyes #11 in the last coaches poll….then by not really a coincidence, the two teams drawing each other for the college football playoff semifinals.

And of course, the residual beatdown by said #11 team over the hapless Tigers.

For Ohio State, you can bet they plastered that #11 all over their locker room as motivation.

The truth is, there are a lot of #11’s out there with the skill level to topple even the top-ranked athletes.

Its never more true anywhere than in wrestling.

Especially in the current Covid-era rankings.

Its always amazing how many wrestlers, and parents, and coaches – get caught up in rankings, seedings, and what-not.  

I’ve even heard coaches try to console their wrestler after a loss with, “its okay – he’s ranked #3!”  

Like the rankings themselves were responsible for any of the points whatsoever.  

A better approach:  Look at how you can impose your will on opponents – sharpening your skills in your system of wrestling – being as unstoppable at what you do, as possible.

Hence, this to a leg wrestler:  If you get the legs in, and your opponent can’t counter it…it won’t matter what his ranking is.   

Or put another way:  you can beat all the kids who can’t counter what you’re good at.  All you have to do is impose Your will on Every opponent.

Murphy’s law of Wrestling Partners

Murphy's law of Wrestling Partners

The law works like this:  If there are only two kids around the same size, and nobody anywhere close to their size….those two kids won't get along.

This tends to happen at the extreme ends – the smallest kids and the biggest kids.

Case in point:  12 year old boys in the 5th percentile are around 60 lbs.  12 year old boys in the 95th percentile are around 130 lbs.

Sooooo, if you have two 12 year old boys who happen to weigh about 50-55 lbs (yes, I've had them in my room)…they would represent the small side extreme.

On the other end, if you have two 12 year old boys who happen to weigh 150….you have the other end of the extreme.

Kids at those sizes are very hard to find partners for.  And, way too often, don't get along with the other kid that's his size.

I recently had a youngster on one end of the extreme tell me, “I don't like my partner.  I want to go with someone else.”

I looked at him and said, “Look around.  Do you see anyone else within 30 lbs of you?  That kid is your partner.  Learn to get along.”

My best advice for coaches in these situations:  Encourage your kids on the extremes, to introduce a buddy that is his size, to wrestling.  If every kid on the extreme end would do that, you'd have 4 instead of two.  Much better odds of having a partner.