Thursday, January 28, 2010

2009 Annual Conference: Michigan Wrestling Association

Attended the Michigan Wrestling Association's annual conference again, held at the Comfort Inn Conference Center in Mount Pleasant on November 6, 2009. Later went for a great lunch at O'Kelly's, a wrestling-friendly sports bar with plenty of CMU wrestling photos and articles on display.

The Coach of the Year breakdowns include:

Tim Roberts (Dundee):
  • Communication: One of Roberts' assets is communication, where somehow kids want to succeed for him. Roberts tries hard to not yell or be negative, he tries to help kids be men, not 'turdbags' (his word).
  • Effort: Try to get just a little more work out of athletes.
  • Attention Span: Kids don't respond the way we used to and aren't motivated by traditional means. We need to keep it positive to keep kids from quitting.
Don Rhinehart (Rockford):
  • Likes Roberts' use of 'turd:' It smells and it just lays there.
  • Comfortable with retirement transition due to the program's hiring of Brian Richardson, the former assistant coach.
  • Rhinehart has been 'soaking' from Michigan wrestling coaches for years, whether observations at a tournament, or attendance at conferences.
  • Success allowed for increased numbers, and success came from being positive with kids.
  • Never wrestled, came from service background, was a Military Police officer in the Army. Became assistant wrestling coach out of need for a job.
  • Key to coaching is to get kids to buy into program.
  • Doesn't want year-round wrestlers, allows for hunger.
  • Keeps it simple: double and single legs, and sit-outs: 'Get to your feet, or get to your seat.'
  • Rockford wrestle-offs take place on first day for competition, complete with wrestling officials and fans. This allows for athletes to begin to visualize how dual meets are conducted.
Joe Wood (Freestyle and Greco-Roman):
  • Wood covered the rules changes and differences from the traditional freestyle and Greco of our youth:
    • Three 2 minute periods, must win two.
    • Clinch rules.
    • One 5-point throw, or two 3-point throws in a period ends the period.
  • Drilling for Team Michigan: Everything is done in sets of 3, all takedowns transition to back exposure.
It's notable the number of example coaches of Rhinehart's generation who never wrestled, but became successful wrestling coaches. And now the inverse is true, where wrestling jobs are scarce, especially head coaching positions.