Today I take you way back before the Year 2000 (“The year 2000? Yes Conan”) for a story that will possibly amuse and/or horrify you if you’ve suffered a similar fate.
One of my collegiate wrestlers who will go unnamed (Phil) had drawn the #2 seed in the tournament. The opponent was very tall and very lanky.
And also vulnerable to Phil’s best shot.
We proceeded to take him down 4 times in the first period. 8-3 lead after one.
2nd period choice: I look at Phil, raise both hands in the touchdown position, and emphatically bark “NEUTRAL.”
And here’s where things go off the rails.
Phil looks at me and says, “I want to go DOWN.”
I look at him again, raise both hands in the touchdown position again, and MORE emphatically bark, “NEUTRAL!”
Phil, apparently struggling with the use of his brain cells that morning, repeats, “I want to go DOWN!”
After about three of these, I realize Phil is going to do what he wants.
I throw up my arms and say, “OK” and sit back down in the chair.
Phil chooses down.
Aaaaand his opponent shows why he’s seeded #2 and it has nothing to do with his ability to wrestle on his feet.
He proceeds to turn us relentlessly the entire period.
By the time the third period rolled around, we were down by 10 points and the match was basically over.
Now, this lesson could be about several things: One being, coach knows best. I do like that one but there are more.
Two being, when a collegiate wrestler is #2 seeded, really tall and terrible on his feet, you can bet he’s good on top position or he wouldn’t be seeded that high. AKA, he’s winning somehow.
It can also be this:
Developing a strong top position – one that can completely flip matches – is an invaluable skill to have (especially in the takedown-rich state of Ohio where I reside).
“I love top position – but I was terrible from the top until I came here. Now its my favorite position.”
-2022 State Placer and loyal member of The Crew
You can develop an entire system of wrestling on the mat – as well as on your feet – this summer (for youth, you can start to develop that complete system, its impossible for a youth wrestler to take it all in in such a short time, but starting down that path gives you a big leg up).