We had a tough weekend at the Virginia Duals. We went 0-3. I was most disappointed with the things we could control (Attitude and Effort). The losses might not have been within our control. We struggled again wrestling with confidence. The guys need to believe in their preparation and ability.
On the positive side we did have 7 of the 10 guys win at least one of their three matches. It was also special to be part of the storied event. The event is so old; I competed in it when I was in college. I hope we have the opportunity to compete in it again.
The founder of the event, John Graham, told me after the event that he was disappointed in my team’s performance. He told me he expected more out of my team. I have known John Graham since I was a little kid. I appreciated his candor and agreed with him that we should have and do need to perform better.
We have three freshmen in our starting lineup. It is tough going thru your first full college season. I have reminded them the season is a marathon and not a sprint. My hope is they do not become overwhelmed by the toughness and length of a division 1 season. We need to do our part as coaches to keep them improving physically and mentally during the year. They can make lots of improvement by March.
We have four sophomores in our starting lineup. These guys have been thru a college season and all of them have high expectations. They are still making some rookie mistakes, but are improving. All of them put extra pressure on themselves while competing. My hope is they can do more competing with less worry. Worrying during a match does them no good. I would rather they shut their thoughts down and let their body do the work. All of them know how to wrestle. They understand positions. Their body knows what to do. If they do need to think I want them thinking about scoring points. I want them thinking about hustling. If they have negative thoughts, I want them frustrated that they only get 7 minutes to compete.
We have two juniors in our starting lineup. These guys have shown improvement in winning the close matches. Their match strategy has improved. They have been in tight situations before and they are able to stay calm and execute a game plan that will succeed. Both guys are knocking at the door for beating guys that have beaten them before. They need to believe they are ready to make another step forward. They need to be brave in their effort and take risks in matches. By doing so, it will pay dividends for them in March.
We have one senior in our starting lineup. It has been fun watching him improve. Sometimes when a deadline is in front of a person, they make greater gains. He has done a better job of handling his preparation for matches. Weight cutting used to hold him back during competition. This year he is doing it right and has seen a great improvement in his energy level when he competes. Little things make a big difference. When the margin for error is small, doing the little things can make the difference in winning or losing a situation in a match. He has put in the work during the off season as well. Putting in the work when others don’t is like putting hay in the barn. He can use that hay when he needs it during competition.
One of the good things about a college wrestling season is we get 16 dates of competition. Thus, the guys get a chance to compete again this weekend. Instead of sitting and stewing for a long time, we are back training for our home dual this Sunday, January 19 at 5pm against Virginia Military Institute. We are hopeful to get a team win, but more importantly we are looking to see individuals improve their performance. We expect them to give their best effort and have a winner’s attitude every time they step on the mat. If we have 10 guys wrestle with confidence and wrestle as hard as they can for 7 minutes on Sunday, good things will happen.