We are finally back together as a team. It has been great to see the guys and to have them training together as a team. We are on break from school until January 23. Thus, there will be plenty of time to train with less stress. The school allows the guys to stay in the dorms over break and provides meals. I appreciate the commitment to the student-athletes. Since most teams at George Mason are not back in town, it has been nice to have the run of the field house. We rolled out 2 full size competition mats in the field house, so we have extra room to practice. The guys were fortunate to be able to train twice on New Year’s Eve and twice on New Year’s Day. I am confident the hard work on the holidays will pay dividends.
We will have our second home competition of the year on Thursday night January 5. We welcome Appalachian State to the RAC at 730pm. We travel the next day to compete at the North Carolina State University duals. We will wrestle 4 duals on Saturday, January 7 – Noon vs. NC State; 2pm vs. Anderson University; 4pm vs. Shippensburg University and 6pm vs. Campbell University. We will be tested and need to be ready to compete.
We held some wrestle offs. Thus, the lineup is starting to take shape. I still plan on traveling with extra guys on Saturday. Because we have 4 matches, I might rotate guys in some duals. I also want to have guys ready to compete in case someone is struggling or can’t compete on Saturday.
I want to avoid forfeiting individual matches whenever possible. I have always been bothered by forfeits, to a fault (I am sure former athletes and coaches I have worked with will readily tell you over-the-top stories about me and forfeits). In this sport I believe it is extremely difficult to field a complete lineup in every dual, but I also believe it is important to try to avoid forfeiting matches. I think it makes our sport look bad. I hesitate to write this in a blog, for fear I will jinx my goal, but I guess it is too late. As a coach, I want to field a full team whenever I can. I don’t want to forfeit, because it is a good strategy to win a dual or to avoid a tough match up. On the other hand, sometimes it is out of our control as a coach or it is too detrimental to the individual. Thus, I don’t want to be too close minded. I can safely say, if I can, I will put 10 guys on the mat. It won’t matter what the odds of victory are, or what is best for that moment. I will try to think more about what is best for the sport and less about what serves my interests in the short term.