We had our first team competition on Saturday at Binghamton University. We lost 31-11. Using wrestling speak, we won 3 of 10 individual matches. We gave up bonus points in 4 matches and scored bonus points in 2 of our wins. Bonus points are huge. Many duals and tournaments have been decided by bonus points. I was pleased to see 2 of our guys give the extra effort to get major decisions; thus, scoring bonus points for the team. It was tough seeing 3 of our guys get pinned and one guy losing by a major decision. We need to fight for the win, but also fight to save team points. Sometimes, a guy is just better than you. Nevertheless, you need to give your utmost effort. Losing a match but saving your team bonus points can be a positive for the team. I remember more than once cheering loudly for a guy who lost but fought hard to save team points. It is a big deal. Our effort, for the most, was good. Our attitude was great.
Wrestling is an individual sport . Dual meets are a rare time when we can come together and work as a team. I love the dual meet concept and what it can do for your team. Before the dual, instead of lining up in weight class order, I had our team huddle. I think this is a better way to show unity. I told the guys to huddle and said it would be our signature at George Mason. I started laughing when they literally did huddle up with their arms around each other. I quickly went toward the group and told them I didn’t mean literally to huddle with arms interlocking. I beamed with pride when they retorted back to me that they liked the huddle and were going to stay arm and arm. It was a good sign that these guys are a team.
We had a great showing of friends and family at Binghamton. It was noticeable. Family and fan support is a huge motivator for any team. We are lucky to already have support. Hopefully we can make the number grow.
The following day, after the dual, we had 16 guys compete in the Binghamton Open. We had 3 placers and 3 other guys fall one round short of placing. The guys showed improvement from the previous week at the Hokie Open. We are still losing more than we should. I do fear losing becoming too easy to accept. It can become contagious. Our difficult schedule can make us or break us. My hope is it is the former. As a coach, I will need to walk a fine line. I want the guys to key on their performance and not the wins and losses. I want them to give me their best effort no matter what the score of the match might be. I also want them find a way to win the close match; find a way to score the big move when they need it.
This weekend we will wrestle at the Navy Classic. My plan, since I saw the schedule, was to have the guys wrestle in only 2 of the 3 early season tournaments. We are hoping to have 15 guys compete this weekend. Most of the guys who wrestled in the Hokie Open and the Binghamton Open will not compete this weekend. They will use this week to improve in the room and not worry about cutting weight and competing. My hope is this strategy will help us in March.