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Home Sport-Specific Wrestling Training One Thing You Can Learn from YouTube

One Thing You Can Learn from YouTube

One Thing You Can Learn from YouTube


Technology is a great thing.  I like being able to watch a match that occurred across the country, across the world, or even fifty years ago, just with the click of the mouse.  Websites such as YouTube or Flowrestling are loaded with archives of matches and technique videos of some high-profile wrestlers.  But as my coach once told us, learning technique from watching a video isn’t the best way to learn; quite simply, the best way to learn is by wrestling.  You learn by doing.

But there’s one valuable thing that our coach taught us which stems from videos of matches.  If you watch videos of college matches, the average video for a match is nine minutes long.  So even though a collegiate match is seven minutes, once you factor in the time in between periods, and any time the clock was stopped for out-of-bounds, injuries, overtime, penalties, etc. the video ends up being nine minutes.  So what our coach has us do to be prepared for this is to do nine minute live matches with three periods of three minutes.  A three, two, two match feels like a breeze compared to three, three, three.  

There have even been times when we’ve done five minute periods when our coach wants to throw us for a real loop.  Some colleges wrestle matches up to thirty minutes or more during their “grinder” or “red flag” practices.  It is part of wrestling lore that Dan Gable once told his wrestlers at Iowa: “Today’s going to be a light day – just one match.”  And so the team enthusiastically got going, and after a while the guys started looking around, wondering what was going on.  Finally after what seemed like forever, Gable blew his whistle to end the first period.  One of the wrestlers asked: “What was that about, Coach?  I thought we were just doing one match.”  Slyly, Gable replied: “We are.  We’re doing thirty, twenty, twenty.”  So instead of seven minutes, they ended up doing ten times that much!

In my opinion there comes a point where dragging out a match too long is no longer effective if the wrestlers are exhausted to the point that they can’t even execute technique, but the impressive results of the Iowa team back the philosophy of making practice matches longer than competition matches.  Imagine how confident you’ll feel heading into a match if you know you can wrestle several minutes more or several times more than what lies ahead of you.  If you’re a college wrestler, try some nine minute matches next time, or if you’re in high school, maybe make it eight minutes.  You can always add more time as the season goes on; the sky’s the limit. 

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