Brad's Wrestling Page

How important in being good on top?
Monday, November 21, 2016


If you aren't great on your feet, it's super important.  This was illustrated in a match at the Michigan State Open (collegiate, D-l) -- this past weekend.  A kid named Christian Brucki from Central Mi., was up against redshirting Penn State freshman Mark Hall....probably most of you have heard of Mark Hall, but how many for Brucki? I follow D-l wrestling a lot, and I had never heard of him.  That doesn't mean everything of course, but it means something.  Mark Hall really dominated Brucki on his feet, taking him down and letting him up a few times.  Brucki is a solid wrestler, but the match really wasn't going his way, until Hall chose down, and stayed there, and Brucki 4 pt'd. him with a cross wrist, roll thru tilt....wow!  That was the match, 7-6 in Brucki's favor.  I was surprised watching Hall at how out of his element he seemed when Brucki was fishing for his wrist, got it without much of a fight, then surprised the hell out of everyone with his tilt.  Hall is a takedown guy, and that has been his stuff for as long as I've watched him, and in HS, against even some of the best HS wrestlers, not having much of a mat game works.  You block off, standup, work your way out and resume the takedown game.  In college this all changes when you meet a good top guy, and there are plenty.  Many more than in HS.  Everything else about the match was Hall.  Without the tilt, he had the match won handily. 


The Dake take...
Saturday, October 15, 2016


Kyle Dake wrote an interesting and refreshing article for Win Magazine recently, talking up the value of having participated in 3 sports in HS.  This was refreshing since most of the studs and even half-studs these days are giving wrestling 143% of their time from sometime shortly after birth.  Kyle maintains that playing 3 sports actually helped him become a more successful wrestler.  Maybe so.  In HS, he wrestled for Lansing, down near Ithaca, and won small school states twice, apparently while participating in two other sports during the year.  I haven't checked to verify this situation, but I'm willing to take him at his word.  In college, he participated in only one sport and did slightly better, becoming a very, very rare 4 x D-l national champ, in 4 different weights! The magnitude of this accomplishment can scarcely be fathomed frankly.  But it certainly wasn't something you could have projected from his HS accomplishments.  SO there you have it:  3 sports in HS; only one wrestling, in college = 2 small school championships in HS, and 4 NCAA championships in college -- and as we all know, there is no, absolutely no correlation between a NYS d-2 championship, and an NCAA d-1 championship; there's an exceedingly small correlation, barely noticeable between a large school NYS championship and nationals....so, while I'm not denying that the 3 sports might have helped Kyle, the correlation between his sports in HS and his ultimate unforgetable collegiate accomplisments might seem tenuous.  
His main point though, might be that not being totally consumed with wrestling all the way thru life is healthy. It has a positive impact on you.  It may be it had a very healthy impact on Kyle also, as he seemed to have plenty of spirit and good health all the way thru college for wrestling.  Maybe had he not done 3 sports, this would have been different. 
Maybe Kyle was looking at the wrestlers who continually grow beyond the typical HS accomplishments, after having wrestled most of their lives, D-l ready as soon as they pop out of HS, eagerly anticipated by anyone watching flo -- and wondering about how many wrestlers could actually keep up with this and how they even afford it.  Wrestling all over the country, and some the world, 8 months out of the year, after the boredom of the HS season is over for them -- what must it cost their families?  What if dad or mom isn't making a ton of money?  This has to be a huge stress on the family budget.  And if the sport is mostly dad driven, and Ma is left home alone, while dad runs all over the country with the superstud wrestler, well what's that mean for her?  Heck, there are other kids in the family -- are we just ignoring them, or must they also, all, become super studs?  And, what if they can't?    Just  a thought, perhaps none of which entered Kyle's mind.  I am pretty sure, after all, that Kyle wasn't thinking some of this stuff; that  the very upper end, might become a bit like tennis, where only the elite could really participate;  like yes, being somewhat wealthy or even very wealthy,  would certainly affect your young wrestler's exposure to the very best, everywhere.  And god forbid the young studs are there for every match, every tournament...every opportunity to perform their best against the best.  If not for this, what would life be about?  
I certainly admit, that when my kids were wrestling, the expense  would have been a limiting factor in our worldwide travels. There would have been a limit.  But truthfully, even if there wasn't a limit on the $, we wouldn't have done it anyway.  As a matter of fact, when Gregor used to participate in offseason tournies, I didn't even go.  I still had my own work to do.  Wrestling for me was more of a winter endeavor, and I thoroughly loved it then.  But the Spring brought other things to life...like, well, other things...Spring things!  Summer things!   How cruel and upsetting is that?  I guess the big thing was this:  Gregor's wrestling, though very exciting and impressive, was not the only thing in our lives.  It influenced them a lot, but we still lived a life outside of it.  And he wasn't bothered by it then, nor is he now.  We had other lives!!!! -- so, as you might see, I'm not a huge fan of the endless wrestling stream, all the time, like that is all there is to life -- and the entire body of dad being poured into it.  

Learn about how I invented 'The Takedown' below....


" The ride...." and, coming soon, "The takedown!!"
Friday, October 14, 2016


Browsing thru the daily links of Armdrag, I see the inventor of 'The Ride' is giving a clinic on it sometime soon.  This could be huge stuff for anyone who isn't aware of 'the ride', and wants to learn about it.  Naturally, when you see someone who is the inventor the 'the ride', you wonder a bunch of stuff -- like who is the inventor of a ride?  And what makes this invention so wonderful?  Is this something new, or something that has been around for years, being demonstrated by various wrestlers coming from the inventor's area of influence?  There has to be some convincing evidence that 'the ride' is really worth paying to learn, if others have used it with noteworthy success...?  You know, I coach a lot of good bottom stuff, but I would hardly inflate myself by claiming I am the inventor of any of it.  I'm sure somewhere along the way, others have used it, and it's not just my own intellectual property.  In wrestling, when you think about some particular move -- do you think of who invented it?  I mean who says this kind of stuff?  

Ok, Ok...I do.  For instance, I doubt many local wrestlers...or really wrestlers pretty much anywhere, are aware, of the fact that I invented  -- The takedown! -- I know, I know...sounds like an idiot thing to say, but it is true.  I haven't made a big deal out of it over the years, but there it is.  I know there will be those of you out there who think this is just ridiculous:  I mean, how could anyone claim to be the 'inventor' of THE TAKEDOWN?.....absurdo extremo.  And just what takedown did I invent?  I'm not telling!  YOU have to pay me to find out.  This huge, important, life changing bit of information will obviously make a huge impression on your wrestling prowess-- just imagine how your wrestling will improve when you possess that deadly secret!
Comon, you're yelling -- what the hell is wrong with this guy! There's like tons of takedowns!  How did he invent 'The takedown.?  Hey, you can think and say whatever you want about it.  I'm out here doing my stuff and knowing about it, while you aren't.  You're just guessing.   

And hey, there's a load of super intelligent stuff below, along with info on how your young stud can learn ' the takedown!'............


wrestling help....
Tuesday, April 19, 2016


wrestling lessons...
Saturday, March 26, 2016

(see lower entries below for blog entries -- jr college, nationals --etc)  contact info at bottom --

wrestling lessons.... learn how to actually improve your position on bottom, rather than attempting a standup, and failing, then splatting on the mat helplessly...                                    
                                   

private lessons....
                                    Friday, February 5, 2016

 ---- $25 per hour --   if you're interested in improving your mat game;  top or bottom:  my thoughts on the bottom position are that it is critical -- much more than just having a good standup, which most wrestlers don't;  if you have one, and it doesn't work, and you get tired, what do you do?

Seriously -- what is it with the standup only routine around here, there, everywhere.  But especially here.  Do you ever see another good move off bottom?  I'm sure coaches teach them...or the switch...what else???? and a switch -- who does them well anymore?  It's a goofball move.  It doesn't have to be, it just is, because no one know anything about getting their hips out, or about grappling period frankly.  Try teaching kids other moves. I do, I have...unless they totally integrate them, they go back to their room and their coach asks what they are doing -- like they learned something from outerspace. Of course that's what they think since this guy hasn't totally learned the move. So 'let's go back to the inside standup, arm across...face plant...where's your other wrist? Get up!'  ....how can he get up?  he hasn't learned how too.  Why is he there anyway?  Because most of these guys just aren't that talented at moving, and when they standup, they give away everything -- everything is open.  It's like a refrigerator door -- reach in and grab what you want -- it's not like he's protecting anything.  What am I talking about?  Of course, that's the entire point.  

  What do you do against a good leg wrestler?  Probably nothing...except for suffering.  You practiced leg defense, what -- 3 x?  Your good leg rider practices his art everyday he wrestles.  Do you think practicing against that 3x is going to do anygood at all?  Don't ever have to worry about it --?  no one does, until they do -- and usually that's in a big match, like one of the season ending ones!  Learn how to deal with all that junk the right way -- so you are a fortress on bottom!!  How about dealing with  a claw? Or spiral?  Breaking out of a cross wrist ride?  How about learning how to break a man on top?  Do you just hang on and wait it out until holding the guy down becomes too much trouble?  On your feet, what do you do when a guy pummels into you with underhooks -- tries to throw you?  Do you just kinda back out butt first?  There is a defense! -- Is a whizzer your main line of defense when someone shoots on you?  What about go behinds?  Do you know they are the major takedown at the D-l level?  What if someone crabs you, laces your leg, cradles you, throws in legs, powerhalfs you?  Busts you flat and has a cross wrist?  How do you keep your hands?  Is standing up really the best first move off bottom?   How about this:  most of the HS wrestlers do them wrong!

A standup is probably the worst move for most highschoolers;  and, who wants to watch their kid get mauled for 2 periods while stranded helplessly in legs?  Laying there, unable to even begin to extricate himself??  Who can watch that stuff!  I can't -- I used to walk out on the mat and tell the ref the match was over if that happened to my kids (JK -- it didn't really happen -- )  But seriously, this stuff doesn't have to happen -- getting out of legs or stopping them is an art, you have to develope a feel for -- but you have to learn what to do in order to feel it! But I will tell you this:  if someone I was coaching got a takedown, then spent the next two periods not getting off bottom while a leg rider tormented them, but didn't score any points -- I told them they lost.  Because, other than the two piddly takedown pts., they got crushed, embarassed.  It was a spiritual and physical defeat.  Screw the points.  

Here's what you need to know about defending really good leg rides:  the leg rider is comfortable with his position, and if you want to defend his offense (legs), you have to become equally as comfortable in doing so; getting a few legs lessons about defense over the course of a year and heavying up the last few days prior to sectionals isn't enuf!

Also, if you want to ride a guy, really ride him, you have to be aggressive about it; it's not just a matter of chopping an arm and wrapping the waist -- that's not an aggressive ride; when you want to bust someone, you have to apply pressure, sometimes in different ways -- the kind of pressure that stops him from getting a good base!  Having a great ride is a brutal asset; being able to control and dominate the bottom man takes the juice right out of him -- and being on top at the HS level is really about scoring points, since you aren't awarded any points for controlling your opponent -- so, you have to know how to score, not just how to hang on, wondering how in the world that pinning combo your coach taught you is ever supposed to work!

Here's something else to think about as you contemplate the future of your young highschool wrestler:  there's a certain amount of coaching sameness that takes place around the section; it varies a bit according the school, but not much; it varies about according to suburbs and countryside, also;  this sameness is predictable, and it is not only what coaches coach, it's what they coach against;  if I were a HS coach, I might do some of this also -- I'm not, so I don't have to worry about it; I coach outside the box, stuff that's interesting, and stuff that isn't predictable -- this is especially so on the mat, on the bottom.  

New York state, and section 5 is certainly no exception, is not well known for it's strong mat wrestling.  Anyone who has watched the success off most of the top wrestlers from this area, who relied on takedowns and standups for their main ammo, knows they didn't fair too well if they moved on to the D-l level -- because everyone on the D-l level is good on their feet!  Being good on your feet against even your average D-l wrestler is a minimal requirement, and won't get you much.  If you have no mat game, you aren't going anywhere.  


So, what do I do?  I coach protecting yourself on bottom, and moving from there, so there are no entanglements to prevent you from either reversing or escaping your opponent; like anything, it does take time to actually internalize this stuff; I also show how to create position on bottom -- positions that can easily lead to reversals to back pts -- as in a Peterson, executed cleanly, and with authority!

email:  Brad@gillespiepaddlescom

PH:    872 1723        



Spotty, subjective thoughts on olympic trials
Monday, April 11, 2016


Spotty, subjective  thoughts on olympic trials.

I frankly wasn't thinking about sitting in front of my computer most of the weekend watching the olympic trials, but that's what happened.  I watched mostly the freestyle mens, but also watched some of the women's and the greco  -- some of the lighter men's greco matches were awesome!  But for the most part, greco is pretty boring, involving only half the body....not as boring as soccer of course, which eliminates the upper half totally...well, except the head, when you head butt the ball, which elevates the excitement level some.   

Let's realize that in all these men's weight classes -- all 6 of them!! -- there were multiple national champs -- around 20 national championships at 86 kilos (collectively speaking....i.e., Dake had 4, taylor 2, etc...) -- competing for the title.  Dake and Taylor, 2 bonafied 74 K guys, realizing their training and efforts weren't going to burst  Burrough's dominance, moved up to 86 kilos... (so 163 to about 190 lbs) -- that is a leap!   6 stingy weights, what do you expect...think about this for a minute: 6 olympic weights!  (Normally it's 8). But 6 -- only!......in college there are 10, which is just about right.  Maybe totally right.  HS? 15?  So in the olympic trials, you have tons and tons of national champs and placers...going back years, piling on top of each other to fit into one of the available 6 weight classes.  4 x national champs can't even make the team, so (he) has to go up almost 30 lbs to try and make it there!!  In HS, what-- you have so many vacancies it's embarrasing..ghosts wrestling ghosts, as coaches try and formulate the best forfeits to win matches.  

I'm just going to hit on some of the matches that I thought were really interesting,  and perhaps impressive.  Since 74 k  left Andrew Howe to cope with Derringer-- and then Burroughs to cope with Howe, once again--  the matchup with Howe/Derringer was one that really interested me.  Howe, earlier, had dispatched Mark Hall pretty easily, 10-0.  Something in this match I have to comment on, and it is common in a lot of Howe matches when he has an outside, up single:  he finishes it like a kid on a playground, trying very awkwardly to leverage it with a backtrip.  I know in HS a lot of coaches still teach this ridiculous finish, and it looks enormously stupid, because it is, even there. But for a world class wrestler like Howe, it is stunning to witness.  I've seen Dake and Taylor take him down with it, it's so compromising.  I honestly thought this was a solid opening for Hall since he's super talented....but no, Howe actually took him down with it.  I don't think I've ever seen Howe hike that outside leg up, trip with same side foot, and smack/push the head over the foot....the right way to finish this  (I realize there are coaches locally who will argue for the playground back trip -- but there's a lot of them still arguing for control of tightwaist with same side  hand when on bottom;  head down, no angle, with inside single; only inside standups off bottom, only standups period!! -- along with the invariable faceplant/crosswrist ride that is a consequence for many of their wrestlers,   as well as other early 18th century habits:  seriously, is there no learning curve here?)    So Howe proceeds into matchup with Derringer, this year's 3 X national champ from Oklahoma.  Derringer scored lst takedown and I was thinking, 'wow, he's in the match and could win .... he's slicker than Howe.'   But Howe is a beast, a man beast, and Derringer still has a baby face and wasn't up to the chronic, relentless, pounding.  It was odd watching him towards the end of the match, and I obviously don't have any inside info on his thoughts.  But it looked like he was thinking this:  ''man, can't wait to get outta here..this is brutal...I just want to go....I don't even care about scoring anymore..." as Howe continued to inflict punishment.  Howe ain't pretty.  But he is effective.  Of course, Howe went on the meet Burroughs and the expected happened.  He's never going to beat Burroughs.  Someone might, but it won't be him.  Maybe Howe doesn't care.  But until Burroughs goes, he stands no chance of being the #1 man.  And even if he does go, taylor and dake will drop down, derringer will be there, and some other super studs will appear.  This weight is a very bad one to be at for anyone but Burroughs, and it's the most stacked weight in the country....(especially if dake and taylor show up again).  

Since Dake and Taylor both moved to 86 k, it was probable they would wrestle each other, and they did, with Dake taking the win again.  He's better than Taylor.  Dake knows how to adjust his match, and is a better scrambler on defense.  Unfortunately, he was wrestling J'den Cox in finals , a larger super athlete who is a 2 x national champ -- at 197.  Dake's last championship was at 165, his lst at 149.  Dake ain't as big, and it showed, and this is why he lost.  I think Cox started wrestling in HS, so he's been around a few years less than most of these guys also. (wrong: I am amending this:  he started wrestling at age 7 -- so he's been around quite a bit longer than I thought).   For a large guy, he moves very well.  Dake lost the lst match by 7 or 8 pts...just got caught up in scrambles that would've worked against guys his size, but not against a larger, stronger guy like Cox.  Second match Dake adjusted very well, and won.  3rd match went to Cox.  This was a better contest than I thought it would be.  I honestly didn't think Dake would do as well moving up against someone that realistically would be at least  2 weights above him in college.  Maybe if Burroughs had been in the actual challenge tournament, Dake would've taken a chance on that at 74 k.  But Burroughs was waiting at the top of the bracket, being a world and olympic champ.  Hence the move up.  

I do watch the women wrestle when it is available, and admit to being dissapointed for the most part, especially when it comes to shooting and defending shots.  Some of the 48k/53K gals had decent to somewhat impressive shots that weren't defended too well.  Above that weight, the shots were pretty poor as well as the finishes.  At 75 k, Adeline Gray obliterated her opponent with just ok leg grabs that went totally unchallenged -- !!?  seriously?  It was difficult to determine how serious her leg attack was because the defense was so horrible. I realize these aren't men and they haven't had the history, but these gals have been wrestling quite a long time at the highest levels of women's wrestling.  Most of the gals go out and fake shots, but don't take any. They fake so they can tie, sorta drag down, or by, get behind....kinda lazy not too quick or precise stuff.  I guess they can't finish. If they could, life would be easy for them, because the defense is likely to be absent.  I remember watching some matches on the women's collegiate nationals this year.  I didn't watch much, and they were just random matches on Flo I think.   I wasn't sure what I was watching at first, because there seemed to be no mat wrestling. I thought, 'is the collegiate women's national tournament freestyle format?' -- since --  There were tons of bad headlocks followed up by quick pins, on unmoving opponents.  Headlock, pin--  remind you of anything?  I checked and sure enuf, it was collegiate nationals for women.   And it was folkstyle.  And these were random.  I'm guessing to qualify you had to be able to weigh in.  I didn't watch much of it, and perhaps the gals who navigated to the final rounds were more impressive.  Am I picking on lady wrestling?  Not deliberately, but I could see why you might think that.   I'm just thinking I am surprised it hasn't advanced more.  It's pretty obvious at least a portion of this sport isn't picking up the best athletes, and may never.  Ok, more than just a portion.  Most of it.  Certainly top girl athletes who involve themselves in other popular girl sports are considerably more impressive.  I'm not sure how attractive wrestling is for girls in general. It might always be sorta fringy...probably will be.    Maybe super stud football players or basketball players aren't making their way into men's wrestling either.  But I don't see the guy thing as being very deprived of incredible athletes.  The arc of success isn't that long.  Surely enuf time has passed for quite a few girls to be very good, impressive wrestlers.  I saw maybe 4...or 5...of  them this weekend.  And ok, I didn't watch them all.  But I did see all the best 2 out of 3 matches...which invariably featured the best of the not so good.  I was actually telling my older son about how the women were pretty good as the trials got underway.  Not sure where I got that wrong impression from.  But it was quickly dismantled.  

The freestyle element of international wrestling has evolved to the place where it is much more interesting than it was a few years back.  I think this is mostly because it almost got booted out of the olympics as a sport -- most likely due to it's incredibly boring nature.  This year's trials were pretty exciting, even though  mat wrestling doesn't really enter into it.  Pico/74 K came back from a 9 pt. deficit in early match to tech fall Jason ness -- that's exciting!  The excitement of freestyle comes from the many back and forth points that can occur during a scramble...obviously off a takedown.  Sometimes the match waits on hold while the refs figure out who scored what by re-watching the video....it's impossible to see it live and know.  

But let's face it:  the olympic trials are a once every 4 years event; the world trials are the 3 years in between -- and they are essentially the same thing, except the olympics are cooler, and being an olympian is cooler than just being a world champ -- just because.  If you are an aspiring young wrestler, it's not like you are dreaming about being an olympic champ, and if you are, it's because you know absolutely nothing about it.  It's just an exotic dream.    With 15 to 20 national championships in a single one of the amazingly small number of weight classes, what are your chances of making the team?  Pretty much zero. Your aspirations are going to be more local, and they are going to be focused on folkstyle, because that includes wrestling on the mat and that's what we do here in the US.  The other stuff is neat off season wrestling, to some of us...but hardly all.  And that's it, unless you are Pico -- and what an absolute shame he isn't wrestling in HS or college (I assume college, but don't really know what his plans are there.  He can't be homeschooled w/ college,  as he apparently is being for HS,   roaming around the world with his dad and his bag of HS textbooks and tests-- I guess he's also signed with Bellator:  pretty normal highschooler life. )  He would have been a thrill to watch as he mixed it up with Rutherford and the other animals at 149, 157...  He would have a place in  your mind relative to the other competitors, because that's what wrestling in HS and college do for you.  Imagine if Yianni had foresaken HS and college wrestling:  he would be an abstract figure, outside the familiar mainstream of the core American  wrestling community.   I realize he should be wrestling in college right now, but  he has another year of HS, unfortunately for his opponents.   Pico works around the world in all these exotic arenas like Mongolia, Iran, Turkey... w/ civilizatons that are only half cured, and some of them  wedded to llth century barbarism.   No thanks.  I'll take your average American college campus anyday.  Hot water, digestible food, the Western  rule of law, not sleeping on straw...with sheep or Llamas.  ....ah,  the wonders of advanced society.  Speaking of which, I need to go eat some Stacy pita chips now: that's real eating at the top of the civilized heap.  
More entries below --
Stuff about lessons, the worn out standup only bottom move...a veritable harangue on that....all sorts of bitchy comments...



Jr. college, club teams and title 9
Thursday, March 24, 2016


Junior college revival...sorta.

There was a time around 40 or so years ago when wrestling was a huge deal at almost all Jr. colleges, and probably almost all 4 year schools as well. I wrestled at Corning Community college during that time and I can't think of any Jr. colleges that didn't have it. We competed with everyone around the state: MCC, GCC (yes, genessee community college), Alfred, Mohawk, Delhi, Cobleskill, Jamestown, Nassau, Farmingdale, Morrisville..........colleges in NJ and Pa. -- I can't remember all of them, and I'm certain we didn't compete with all of them, so there were more outside my narrow range. Our 'regional' tournament in '73 was at Alfred, and consisted of 22 or more teams as I recall. As I recall, there were 13 regions around the country.

I moved on and didn't pay much attention to wrestling (I was racing canoes), until sometime in the early -80s....I had returned after a hiatus from the sport, and was working out with some local highschoolers and kinda got reinvolved. The Jr. college regionals were at MCC around that time and I knew a few kids in it..so I went..and I was shocked to see a total of 7 teams represented. 7, wow, what hap'd??? And then it went down further , and it's been around 3.2 -4.6 the last couple of years, spread out from way western, NYS, to someplace in NJ, I think. Not exactly like a next door event anymore. I've looked at NCCC's schedule and it seems mostly to consist of d-3 open tournies with a few matches scattered far and wide, repeated a few times. Rosters on most teams are skimpy (NCCC seems to have a pretty full one most of the time, and has a pretty wide range of kids from across the state, and is also one of the better teams in the region -- but:  I don't remember NCCC being around back then!  -- credit to Tim Herman, the dude who runs this site, for that little tidbit!)  Long Island's Nassau is always tough. They were super tough when we wrestled them in the 70's -- at Nassau; and we were the best team in our region, which Nassau is not in -- but, going to Nassau, wrestling in an old airplane hanger at the time, in an atmosphere that looked like we might get mugged, we were spooked!! I don't think our team looked too tough in that match -- we had some pretty heavy hitters go down just because of the intimidation factor.

Well of course, title ix is what happened, making it possible for girls to compete in actual school sports, which prior to the mid 70s was very much not the case. The original version of this law was intended to outlaw sexual discrimination in sports, since girls really had about 2 sports like synchronized swimming and....well like a bunch of intramural stuff. See what I mean? And I had a sister. It was not intended to be interpreted or implemented as a gender quota law. But that's what it is. Now colleges use the parity rule for enforcement, and to protect themselves from lawsuits: 54% of students in college are girls; 54% of sports have to be for them. So wrestling and other not so fancy sports were cut. Huge cuts. I guess the deal is, that nowhere near this percentage of girls actually likes to compete in sports in college, but that doesn't matter. The whole issue for colleges is probably just like it is for public schools: do whatever it takes to not get sued. Parity is the easiest way to achieve that. ( If you want to read a good article on this, google John Irving, 'wrestling with title 9', NYTimes 2003 -- John Irving is a popular author who also was a wrestler way back when, most likely way before he was an author -- I mean who wrestles and is an author while they do so? This guys writes novels -- how many wrestlers are sitting around during their spare time doing that?)

When Torsten, son 2, was looking at colleges his Sr. year, we looked at Bucknell, in Pa. The wrestling program had been closeted for some years due to title 9's effect. They had reinstated their wrestling program a year or so earlier due to the largess of a fairly wealthy guy who had $5 million to put towards the effort; of course, half of that money would have to go to a women's sport, for the sake of parity, so they put together a rowing team for them (I don't know if the gals actually were asking for it, but they got it regardless -- and for those of you who don't know, rowing practice is generally in the cold, dark often very early morning hours of non-summertime; you and your teamates have to carry this super long scull and paddles from the boathouse down to the freezing river). This nice benefactor was funding 2 teams, so he could fund the one he was actually interested in funding. How could anyone even wonder about the fairness of this situation? This is just one of them I am aware of. I'm sure there are others, but let's face it: having to offer equal support for a girl's sport, to reinstate wrestling, with your own money, is pretty crippling, as well as grossly discouraging.

So here we are now. The Jr. college wrestling scene has pretty much been scraped dry over the ensuing years as colleges scrambled to abide by the new law. But, I see there are a few little Jr. college buds popping up! A few weeks ago I read the article (armdrag link) about Broom college (binghamton) trying to revive their program; and 2-3 days ago I read about Justin Signorelli trying to revive Ulster Jr. college's program (and I admit, I had never heard of Ulster CC -- and had no idea where it was)--Ulster is down sorta south of Albany, kinda near the Hudson river. I think this is great (the revival thing, not the location, although I'm sure it's fine) and I wish these guys a lot of luck! Why? Because I would love to see the Jr. college wrestling community grow into something near viable again. The absolutely strict adherence to the parity guideline has robbed so many local wrestlers of any opportunity to continue wrestling beyond highschool. What a total shame! Used to be you graduated from Haverling HS or Corning West, or Campell, and you could attend Corning community and wrestle for another year or so. It's not like every wrestler dreams of having his wrestling career end the day he leaves HS. But if he wants to wrestle -- what are his options? He can find a D-3 school that offers wrestling, or a D-2, where they give athletic scholarships, and because of this is probably more competitive -- these are certainly good options, but not every HS wrestler wants to go to a 4 year school, and perhaps he lives in Attica and only wants to commute to GCC. He can try and walk on to a D-l program, and if he isn't good enuf to offer the coach or team something, he will be cut, because they can only have so many wrestlers on their roster --everyone is pretty darned good, whether he gets a dime, or ever start for the team. All of these wrestling levels have been equally effected by title 9, so a lot fewer schools have wrestling across the board.

Or -- here's another incredible option: try and make the US freestyle team!! (since there is a freestyle circuit after HS, but it's not folkstyle wrestling...) If you aren't the best of the best, you might as well try to make the girl's gymnastic team. Imagine, if you will, trying to make the US world team at 74 kilos -- if you can get by Andrew Howe, and David taylor, then Dake, you can take your chances with Jordan Burroughs....and these are just the top 4 guys (2 or whom have moved up to 86 kilos, just to get away from Burroughs and their very low chance of beating him -- and the one guy is Dake, a 4x national champ). There are several other national champs, etc., competing at that single weight; oh, there are only 7 weights in international/freestyle -- way too few, for so many incredibly tough wrestlers -- sorta like the opposite of HS, where they have way too many, for, well --ghosts. And freestyle isn't folkstyle, the wrestling you grew up with. There isn't any mat game. It's just the only thing available after college. Thanks to the gross overreaction to title 9 and the chopping block for wrestling, and several other lower level sports programs. Football of course mainly survived, and in the process soaked up a huge percentage of the available ' guy allotment' under the parity or 'quota' system. Wrestling was just easy to let go for most of the seemingly cowardly college systems. After all, people who run colleges and school systems are bureaucrats dealing with administrative edicts; unless they have some heavy involvement in wrestling, it's not like getting rid of it bothers them in the least. After all, these are just sweaty jocks rolling around on yucky mats doing something they don't comprehend. Basketball and football, soccer...these are the games you really need.

I never played any of these. I wrestled. That was it. So to me, and guys like me, not having wrestling would matter a lot. I had it, but after 1979, others didn't. (in college) Not in Jr. college, not in most colleges. Wrestling for most of the good d-l programs is a tight squeeze. There's around 70 or so of them left now, after getting smashed with the quota hammer. So all of the top wrestlers in the country have to squeeze into around the top 40 or less -- it's not like they're going to go to some low profile school in the south or Texas.

The effect of title 9 has been to squeeze all the top wrestlers in the country into a lot fewer programs, so the level of intensity at fewer schools has gone way way up.

So Joe kinda average wrestler from pretty much everywhere now has no options, unless he can form a club, which a lot of colleges have done, and actually have a nationals for it -- which I think is super also. Junior colleges could provide this same opportunity, which is why I hope this smallish trend builds. Local boys could get involved in post HS wrestling, and have some great experiences. Hey, that's all I did -- Jr. college was it. And I regard it as a great experience all these years later.

Just how unfair is all this? Since all of the recent wrestlers just grew up with it, it probably doesn't seem unfair, since they probably don't even know about it. It just is. But just imagine how nice it might be to have it? To have a solid Jr. college system in place where country boys could both go to college and wrestle, and stay near to home where they can afford to do this. Maybe this is an actual incentive to go to college and move on to something higher -- having wrestling attached. It's an added experience in the drama of life, something that adds to you if you want it. (this would obviously be the same situation for larger urban areas as well.)

There probably isn't much anyone is going to do to change the existing law, even if it has been distorted way beyond it's intent. But with some support and encouragement, those who want to revive the Jr. college programs, like Ulster and Broome, might just be able to help grow the system.

You might be thinking I'm a whacko 13th century sexist pig. I'm not. I have a daughter who played volleyball thru HS and college. I naturally think girls have just as much of a right to play sports as guys. But that doesn't mean I have to agree with the implementation of title 9, or think it's fair. My thoughts are that if there are 10 girls in college who want to play volleyball and 10 guys who want to wrestle, there should be no discrimination. I realize fielding a sport has to do with college funds and all that other good stuff, and that neither sport should deserve to exist at the expense of the other. But if there are 4 girls who want to play volleyball, and 20 guys who want to wrestle, it might be time to think about wrestling, even if the college is 60% female. And how insane is it that a college would fell compelled to make a donor even things up between sexes if he or she wants to pay for cranking a team back up again. That's just blatantly absurd, and shows how far a college will go NOT to get sued over title 9. If the girls on that campus think keeping volleyball alive is so important, then let them commit to the sport -- get more than 4 girls to sign up for it. The same holds true for the guys -- if you have a bunch of ex highschool wrestlers on your Jr. college campus and you want to wrestle, but there is no program, get your guys together, talk with your AD and see what it would take to revive one (probably quite a lot...so you have to be real motivated I would guess..) Or, think about starting a club wrestling team. There is actually quite a robust collegiate club wrestling organization, NCWA, that has a bonafied organization as well as it's own quite respectable nationals tournament -- this isn't the same intensity or level of NCAA wrestling, I'm sure the practices aren't as intense, or maybe even required as much...sortof a different mindset I suspect. I see even Geneseo has a club registered -- but no members or schedule! Huh.... You would most likely have to find funding, (?) as well as a coach, but there are plenty of teams around the country doing this (over 100) -- so much so they have their own national tournament. There are also 2 divisions for NCWA -- not sure what the diff is, other than perhaps school size. And there are quite a few girl teams as well (27!)

Since I've never started a club or Jr. college wrestling team, it might pay to contact someone who is : coachsiggs@yahoo.com Justin Signorelli at Ulster CC -- I think he would love the support, and I'm sure could field questions better than I am here.

O man..this thing is weepin long.....enuf.

(and, as if on cue -- I see Keystone College has revived their wrestling program -- it was a Jr. college back when I wrestled; now it is 4 year and will be participating in D-3...!  That's down south of Binghamton, in Pa.....good stuff!)


Wrestling's super bowl...
Sunday, March 20, 2016


2016 D-1 nationals...... S'cuse me if I've already said this recently, but......

There isn't any question this is the most exciting and engaging wrestling tournament every year -- it's what everyone aims for, looks forward to, kills themselves in practice for, endures injuries, ugly workouts, self-deprivation, and -- well, sidelining everything else in your life as you try to all american (obviously, being a national champ is the loftiest goal, but realistically, there's a limited group of guys capable of attaining that -- in some weight classes, maybe 4-5 guys have the potential, in others 1-2, in others just one -- rare, but pretty much at least one per year); so, being top 8, all american, is attainable to anyone pretty much in the top 20, and if and when, depends on how on you are, and what happens in your bracket.

For those of us who are serious wrestling spectators, it's 3 days of super bowl excitement -- if you need a football analogy, but aren't a wrestling fan, yet need an idea of what it's like. And even though I say this, I don't really think there's any super bowl that compares - -how could there be? You get to see 3 days of guys you thought were unbeatable, either continue to provide you with performances that support that thought, or awesome, mind boggling upsets that totally wreak havoc on your psyche!! -- Your hero goes down! It doesn't seem possible. But some 16th seed just beat him! And your guy was #3. Eiiigh!

How about this wreckage: at 174, 3 of the top seeds were out the lst day! Realbutto, the 157, 2nd placer last year from Cornell who eased his way up to 174 ths year, was seeded 2nd there (yes, two weights up...) -- he went 0-2 for the weeken...I mean day. Since that was it for him. (157 last year, 2nd place; 174 this year, 0-2; what happens next year? -- )

At 141 last year there was an unheralded kid from NC state, not seeded, ok record, who was essentially an unknown.....he worked his way thru 3 seeded guys to place 5th. He suddenly became a phenom, and entered the nationals this past week seeded 3rd. Not bad. Until the 2nd round, when he met his old teamate, Bryce Merideth, who had transferred to Wyoming; he couldn't make the team at NC -- because of Jack. So Bryce beats Jack; Jack goes down in the blood round (do or die, last chance to place) Bryce proceeds into the finals against Heil from OK state. (placed 2nd)

125 lbs -- 2nd Joey Dance from V Tech goes down second round, then loses lst wrestlback, and he's out ....Terao, from American --an artful mixture of judo and wrestling from Hawaii -- very unorthodox, but like just short of nothing seed! (14th maybe,...not sure). He heads onto the semis, loses, then loses to Tomasello in consi finals, from OH state, in close match, and gets 4th....Tomasello, btw, was kind of the pre-ordained champ. Listening to Ohio state head coach Tom Ryan, who was being interviewed as his semi finals match was happening, I figured he couldn't ever get beat, by anyone, and that this semi was just a little step until he grabbed his lst place trophy -- I got the absolute impression that all Tommy did was work out, 26 hours per day, and he's even a boxing champ. Gilman of Iowa had other ideas. I had totally forgotten about him -- and can you blame me? I didn't even think Tommy had to wrestle in the finals, so why would I pay any attention to potential opponents! Well, Gilman took him down and pinned him in OT. These things happen. But but not to this guy! But it did. Can reality seriously deny the absolute path of a preordained giant? Huh, I guess it can. I think Ryan protested, but a pin is a pin. And a takedown in lst OT minute ends it. All that stuff, all that build up....what a crash. I guess next year's workouts will be harder, longer...maybe pick up some judo....

133 -- I was kind of really hoping Brewer, from Oklahoma U, who won last year, after being seeded poorly (13th...maybe???) , would be the man at the end of the day. He was seeded 4th this year, after losing twice all year. Once in finals of Vegas against Garrett (cornell). Pretty close match as I recall -- but Garett's fast doubles prevailed. No big deal. Early in season...slow starter....and then he wrestled Kaid Brock, true freshman, from Okie state, in dual meet. Got slid by, scramble occured, he came out of it...well he didn't. 40 some seconds into match, Brock pinned him....o frigging ouch!....but ok....fuel for a huge end of season comeback. Things were working pretty well, but 4th seed meant Garrett again...in semis. But what single thing would you learn from lst experience? Garrett has deadly, fast, shots. Don't let him take you down in 6 seconds...dah! And it was kind of a Kaid brock match all over again, only faster....last year's national champ, down in 30 some secs of lst period....OMG -- how bad can things get? I was thinking he might want to ask Tomesello, but he probably didn't think of it. He, like Tommy, came back for 3rd. And I'm sure as heck he didn't spend day and nite wrestling, lifting, and boxing to get there. Don't get me wrong: 3rd place is an incredible achievement at the D-l nationals. But some of the glory goes away when you are a returning champ and get pinned in 30 secs or so...I mean how wonderful can it be after that? Brewer, I am told, did achieve this distinction: He's got the two fasted times of any prior national champ for getting pinned in the year following his championship! I wonder if Cody, his coach, will have a special trophy made for him? Isn't this horrible? Probably, but too bad.

I'm writing this 2 hours prior to finals on Sat....so I don't know who won yet. I'll probably have something to say when I know....

Meanwhile.....the finals occured...

And since I don't want to make this thing book length, I'm going to continue from that perspective. But in no particular order. In this national's finals, there were two incredible matches taking place, one at 157 and one at heavyweight. Having one at heavyweight was just awesome, since usually I am snoring by that match, or maybe because of it.

But let me skim thru a few of the other matches lst. Garrett, local Cornell 133 lber, who bumped up from 125 last year, has been on a relentless tear this year. The move to 133 seems to have allowed him blossom into what he was trying to be, and should have been. He's strong, fast, not losing a ton of weight -- and it shows. His athleticism and speed is awesome. His lst period attacks on Iowa's Clark were frightening! But Clark managed to escape into period 2 with a l pt. deficit -- which shows his great defensive abilities. Garrett managed a 7-6 win, despite the ref's ridiculous stalling calls that cost him enuf points -- meaning 1 more, and he would've lost the match, in which he was the clear aggressor for the lst two periods.   Clark  did manage to control Garett's super speed pace, but it was hardly like he was stalling.  I guess you can put the blame on the overly aggressive collegiate rules now -- you back out, and if it isn't obviously in the heat of warfare, you get hit with stalling.  The huge initial battle with Martinez/Nolf this year was certifiable proof of that;  Martinez slowed down, and did back out, but he was hardly stalling.  Sorta overkill rules guys -- maybe back off a bit> 

At 141, Okie state's Heil is one of the nation's top scramblers, and funk dudes. His opponent from Wyoming, Meredith (mentioned above) seemed to deliberately seek these positions! -- and he was spooky good at them! This was an awesome match if you love funk, and it made funk fun to watch. So best funk match of the tourney! Heil squeaked out a l pt. win.

149--has what I regard as one of the nation's most aggressive, dominant wrestlers. Penn State's Retherford. He doesn't stop. He's not sloppy. He is good at every position. And his final's match was pretty much uncontested by Sorenson, from Iowa -- who is the 2nd best 49lber in the country: even though he lost 10-1. These guys are pretty much indisputably the top two. But there is a huge gap between them.  This outcome was inevitable, because (zain) Retherford is that much better and that much more aggressive.  Sorensen is tough, but he's typical Iowa plodding, low action, clubbing...Christ, last year watching him and Tsirtsis  wrestle was like watching mud dry; non-stop Zain is much more exciting!

  149 was a little goofy this year. Missouri's Lavion Mayes was 3rd; he's tough, has super strong doubles from the outside -- and that's about it. He doesn't seem to have any other ammunition, at least that he shows. He's very strong. His moves are pretty basic. Very one dimensional. And he was third place. The 5th seed, Panteleo, from Mich U, ended up 6th -- that's fine. He's a tough wrestler -- but he has one thing he does off bottom: a standup. So what? you say, that's all a lot of wrestlers have. Sad, but true. But he can't get off his belly once busted ( I know, most HS wrestlers have this same trouble, which is the problem: he's a high level D-l wrestler, mostly). Kent's Depalma dismantled him for 5th place -- Depalma is a tough top man....which is a good thing to be obiously, especially against a weak bottom man! -- Depalma chose top, and pinned him after halting his one move. It's hard to measure this class. Tsirtsis, national champ 2 years ago, 3rd last year, went 0-2. But he's had some serious issues this year, which would help to explain that. If he (Tsirt) manages to recover well next year, retherford will be an insurmountable obstacle. Unless Rethford gets run over by a mack truck, he'll continue to win. He's ruthless (not mean ruthless...just wrestling ruthless). The 4th seed, Cimato, from Drexel ended up pretty much nowhere -- I couldn't figure that seed out. I don't recall hearing much about Cimato doing anything of significance all year.

157 --Gannt, 2nd seed -- ahead of Nolf. Anyone in the wrestling world other than Gannt's coach might have thought this was ridiculous. He finished 8th, which is where his seed should have been. You see, wild cards and seeds in NY states aren't the only thing that are absolutely mindboggling sometimes. Then there's the other side of things: guys like Dance from VT, 2nd seed, going out in two rounds. Hell, there's a kid who could have given megaludis fits in the finals! -- he loses physically, then spiritually. VT could have used his points, he could have forged ahead, getting over the horrible loss, and redeeming his nationals experience. This is probably one of the most important things about having a devastating loss: getting over it and putting it behind you. There isn't anything at nationals more impressive than a highly ranked wrestler losing first round, then recovering and storming his way into the placement round, and maybe even 3rd place -- that's a heroic achievement, forever remembered by everyone who witnessed it. (Bing.U. Vincent, Edinboro's Schopp...two instances that won't be forgotten).

So the really big matchup almost didn't happen, the one between nolf and martinez: Kent's Ian Miller nearly hijacked it in semis.

As an aside, I do have to confess something: a few weeks back, I was sitting in the weggies coffee shop reading paper Sunday am., and local Thomas coach Neil Cook is strolling around the vegie bins collecting oranges and cantelope and stuff like that, when he spots me and comes over to say hi and have a brief wrestling confab. Of course, nationals and 157 lbs pops up and he throws Ian Miller out there as a potential in the mix, with nolf and martinez. I pooh hooh that, saying he's just not going to compete with those guys, hasn't really wrestled anyone all year, doesn't have their work ethic...Neil stooped and picked up one of the cantelopes he dropped, and asked me if I wanted bet on it, "maybe the cantelope?" he offers, holding out the roundish thing with a flattened side. I declined the offer, thank god! -- and Neil was correct, and I was wrong. Ian Miller provided one of the best matches of the tourney, better than Nolf/martinez. He just does stuff that if he had been in better shape, and just plain tougher, he would have won, for sure. His style is perfect for martinez. He just couldn't quite muster up enuf stuff to make the final move stick, and lost. His limping around holding his leg in between tussles didn't help, and he defaulted the rest of his matches, finishing 6th, since that's what you get if you make it to the semis, and lose all your matches beyond that. His bad leg didn't seem to hurt him on his attacks....only in between. I don't know if he was really hurt or not. But limping around grabbing your leg like that is like being a wounded animal out in the wild.

Nolf didn't look that sharp in finals frankly. Martinez had adjusted whatever needed to be adjusted, and wrestled a great match. Whatever energy he wasted in their lst meeting, where he got pinned, he learned, and conserved, and spent it wisely. His final takedown was incredible, with 13 secs left in match.

O man...I gotta end this.....so,

let's just skip some matches: I used 184 as break time. I'm not a huge Dean fan, and honestly haven't even watched any of his matches this year. About halfway thru his finals match with Dudely, I remember why: this is just boring -- like watching a football player wrestle (which it really is). Dean reaching for leg, but not even lowering level, Dudely just sloppy....had to be the worst match of the finals and I just couldn't get into it, not with all the much better, higher level matches on either side of it.   I know Dean was mainly a football player in Michigan, and wrestling was his second choice, but is 184 really this weak?  Dean is a 2 x national champ, potentially 3 next year -- it's just hard to match him up with the other really skilled national champs -- since he just isn't>

Right onto heavyweight: wow, what a super match -- absolutely the best, and one I stayed awake to watch. I would normally just ignore it, since for many years it was just a gigantic push fest, boring, uneventful, sleep inducing. Pretty much whoever dared to shoot, lost. Not so in this one. Gwaizdowski and Snyder are two superb wrestlers, who really wrestle, like 65 lbers! Gwaiz was the better wrestler, doing stuff Ididn't think was possible at that weight! He was doing funk! And it was good funk. I figured for sure he was going to win....but then at the end, Snyder took him down and they went into OT - I could see the way Gwaiz didn't defend or react as well, he was tired, and it showed again when Snyder took him down in OT. Gwaiz had faded a bit, and that's all it took. I understand why 285 lbers don't do this stuff. But Gwaiz is living proof that 255 lbers can, and should!! Snyder was about 30 lbs. lighter -- that's pretty impressive. Great match.

Ok, so how about this:    3 years ago, Gwaizdowski stole Minnesota's Tony Nelson's chance at a 3rd heavyweight championship his sr. year.  And now, Snyder has done the same thing to him.  Nelson, btw, defeated a reigning national champ to win his sophomore year.   Maybe it's better to wait until your jr year to start winning -- ugh!  too late for Snyder!



Some getting to states thoughts.
Sunday, March 13, 2016


An issue that holds little interest for me, but that pops up enuf to make me sorta think about it is wildcard qualifications for states. I don't know much the criteria. If I was more interested, I could find out I'm sure. Obviously, merit should be the main priority, and not everyone who is good should go to states. Just because you only lost one match, then lost in the state qualifiers, doesn't mean you belong in states. If you can't place, why should you go, if you haven't won your section? Just to be there, to experience it? I guess that's worth something, but then why not let everyone go? Win the qualifier next year. I know coaches want all their kids to go -- even if the kid made the finals of supers, in a weak weight, and doesn't really know how to shoot a takedown. I only want to see really good kids go, kids who know how to finish a single -- who don't spend most of their time sucking on the mat when trapped on bottom. The creation of two divisions has already watered down the qualities of supers by quite a bit. I would guess that it's hard to create a system that is fair to everyone, and that constantly rewiring it is probably a pain in the neck. It's also tough to get by bureaucratic density.

No doubt, the time when there were 2 guys who could win states in one section, or maybe even 3, and only one of them actually got to go, was bad...very bad for the loser; I worked with a few of these kids, and the pain runs deep. But the pain used to run deep for anyone who didn't win the supers back when (I don't know...when? it wasn't all that long ago.) Your last match always sucks if you haven't won, and all but one guy does. That's the risk you take with wrestling. It's a tough lump, but it gives you something to talk about 40 years later - the section is littered with these guys. That's just the game. Most of the time you can put that memory to good use. It's a lifetime motivator.

Let's face it: in this state, you have 11 sections and quite a bit of population difference amongst them. Sections 8 and ll are huge. They could easily have their own state tourney and probably be quite happy -- I hear section 11's County tournament (their state qualifier) is a mini states all by itself, and if you look at their reps at large school states, it does hold some merit. Section 11 is Suffolk county, at the farther end of Long Island. I think you need have 600 or more kids to be div. 1. This would seem to eliminate schools in 10 or 7....how many kids can they have? How many schools do they have? I am assuming they are all div. 2. Prior to the 2 divisions, they had as many reps as sections ll, 8, 5, 6, and all the rest...with far fewer kids. Gouvenor (10) used to bring their entire team, or close to it, to states, and Saranac, 7, used to bring most of their's. Now that was unfair to all those sections that had a lot more schools, with a lot more kids in them. Needless to say, 7 and 10 didn't end up with a lot of state champs over the years, although there were some very tough kids from them. A lot of their participants certainly took up space that could have been better occupied by more competent wrestlers. But they were reps from their sections. And PSAL -- it was as good as a bye, with the built in benefit of an easy warmup.

Of course, sections 10 and 7 have a right to have reps at states, but should they be as represented as (since we're talking smaller schools) 3, 4 , or 5? And I'm guessing sections 8 and 11 have more people in them than do 3 and 4 and 5...and all the rest, maybe put together....so why should the sections with fewer kids have as many reps? Shouldn't population be a factor in representation? That's the way it is with congressional reps. , and Long Island has a lot more than Western or central NY... of course, with this sort of reps, merit and competence don't seem to have much to do with their representation in a lot of instances, whereas in HS wrestling, it should. So if you switch the scheme to being totally population influenced, then 8 and 11 would have the most reps at large states, and 10 and 7 would have the fewest in small states: what if the best wrestlers in a certain weight class are in 5 or 6 large school? Or 7 just happens to have the two best wrestlers at 145 in small schools? Sticking strickly to the population formula deprives some of the better, but not qualified, wrestlers of their turn at states. Generally speaking, population density has more, better things going for it -- meaning more people competing against more people, creates better people at whatever they are competing at. Obviously, there has to be some other element that allows better wrestlers from less populated sections to strut their stuff at states. You might say that the smaller school division takes care of this. But there are large schools with more than one good wrestler between them in the more rural sections.

My own thoughts are more along the lines of the national HS tournies, like Flo Nationals, etc...there's a few of them to choose from. At least 32 man brackets, and forget the Division stuff. I know some people think that gives the kids more exposure. Not so much, if at all. I can guarantee you no significant D-l coach is looking at D-2 (small school) -- it only waters down the image. If they are good, they will be noticed, no matter which div. they are in. The small school thing just muddies up the works. The really good small school wrestlers will be noticed just like the really good large school wrestlers: they are good. Binghamton and UB will obviously be seeking them, and anyone anywhere in section 4 who is really good will have to try to go unnoticed by Binghamton. If they are super good, and dabble in the national tournies, but fail to win states -- the national tournies will matter a lot more to the national coaches...like beyond NYS. If you place at Flo, and get 4th in NY, you will be noticed. That 4th won't mean much then. If you place at flo, and don't go to states, you will be noticed. If you place 4th at states, and don't place at FLo, you won't be noticed, especially if it's D-2 level. But if you are in section 3 or 4, Binghamton will still know about it. (I'm using Flo, but it could be super 32, Jr. level at Fargo, Sr. nationals.. or some other tournament near that level).



The pinnacle of US wrestling.
Thursday, March 10, 2016


The upcoming D-l NCAA tournament.

The absolute ultimate measure of wrestlers in this country is getting close, another week away (as I write). This tournament takes a back seat to no other, anywhere, as far as excitement, euphoria, and soul crushing dissapointment -- in the US. (pretty sure it's the best anywhere in the world, without question!).  I don't really care about what happens elsewhere in the world. There isn't any other system that goes from pee wee clubs, thru middle school, highschool, and college with the organization and thrills of the American system. To those who love it, who love folkstyle wrestling, with it's mostly objective refereeing, and equal awards to all positions -- not ignoring the bottom, or top, on the mat, as freestyle pretty much does -- this tournament is the pinnacle of where you want to be.

I know that when I watch wrestling, if I don't know the participants, it's just not all that interesting. Since I do, since that is what I watch most of the wrestling season, some -- no, a lot -- of the matchups are super exciting, and they occur pretty much all the way through the tournament, from the pigtails right up through the finals. Just qualifying for the nationals means you are pretty darned good; there are tons of unseeded wrestlers , so they could end up meeting the top guy in the country right out of the blocks. Looking at some of the seeds, and some of the early round matchups, you wonder about the criteria for seeding, and who is it that makes the final decisions. I think they have a system that is kind of untampered with at this level, and it shows. Last year at 149, they had the prior year's runnerup meeting last year's # 2 seed -- lst round. huh? I see at 149 this year they have a guy from Drexel, Cimato, seeded 4th. I barely know anything about Cimato; I'm sure he's good, but he's not a 4th seeder...maybe an 8th or 9th or 14th or something. I pay attention to this weight class, so I would know him well if he deserved a 4th seed. He's ahead of many guys that are better than he is.

In this tournament, top seeded guys can get picked off early by guys that are really good -- unseeded guys, who are darned tough, and out for blood -- under the radar, eager to make their mark, and they do! You can take nothing for granted even if you are a returning champ. There are no gimmees, nothing is easy; by day 3 you are seeing bandaged and taped up limbs and heads -- it almost looks like some kind of zombie film is being made. But off to war they go, all seeking that coveted All American award -- that's up to 8th place, and more often than not, guys you thought were unbeatable, never get there. That's usually 5 years, sometimes 6, of sweat and blood, double workouts, injuries, with the entire focus of being an All American. It's heartbreaking to see those wrestlers, which is most of them, go home without achieving it. And it's sometimes nearly impossible to believe.

This is the ultimate war. There isn't any softening the entry requirements so that more D-l wrestlers can get to experience what is so awesome. If they don't qualify, if they don't wrestle their best, or they meet the wrong guy, they are out. No AA status, nothing but a dissapointing memory. It's only a feel good moment if you earn it, and you get into the top 8 -- and of course, the higher the better. The beauty of this is that this is precisely why it is such an awesome experience: there is no widening of requirements, no dividing up the pie, no special circumstances for anyone. You get what you earn. Nothing more. Sometimes it just plain sucks. You get a tough early round, get to wrestle back, win a few, then meet someone who was highly seeded and got knocked off early -- and he's all your's! Ugh...not much chance of placing under those circumstances, since the highly ranked dude is now on an all out mission to redeem himself!

Some weights are tougher than others, somewhat more intriguing. But not by much. These are the nation's best, spread out over 10 weight classes. At 149, you have a national champ, Tsirtsis, from 2 years ago, when he was a freshman...I think he's seeded 6th or 7th ( he's not really up to par this year for personal reasons, I believe, but even if he was top notch, he's got Rutherford from Penn St., who is going to win..period ). At 157, you have Martinez, from Illinois, undefeated all last year and blasting through the finals like he was unbeatable, forever possibly. Until he wrestled Nolf, from Penn State this year, and lost, by pin in a dual. They met in Big 10 finals last week, and Martinez righted the boat with an OT win...super good match, even if it was very low scoring -- a low scoring match with a lot of action! Nolf is seeded 3rd...even though last year's national champ was the only guy to beat him, in OT, and he had pinned him...another seeding mystery. Gannt, from NC state is seeded 2nd...he's very good, but not Nolf good. It will be Nolf and Martinez in finals. I don't think these guys are Dake/Taylor, but they are close enuf, and good enuf, to gin up the excitement another couple notches.

UB has a couple of qualifiers; probably not going to do much, but they are there. Cornell of course has a bunch of them. Dean, last year's champ....184, I think...wow, I should know for sure. Garret, 133, unbeatable so far this year, lst seed, super fast, blast double...last year's champ, Brewer (Oklahoma U), 133, 4th seed...ouch, a semi's battle -- Garret won at Las Vegas invite early season. But Brewer was seeded outside of top ten last year, I believe, and won. Realbutto...174 - 2nd seed -- he was at 157 last year!  Jumps two weights?  At that level, unheard of....but wasn't going to win at 157 this year, or any, with Martinez there; and 165?  Derringer, 2 x national champ...not going to touch him either.  So why not hop up to 174?  Seems a stretch, but he's the #2 seed, and that generally means he's been fairly successful at the new, heavier weight.   Palacio (still at cornell now) took over at 157--    Unorthodox, a sorta do anything kind of wrestler...he could upset some guys. I think he's 5th seed.

And at hvywt -- a most interesting battle should take place: 2 x national champ, and an ex Binghamton wrestler headed to NC state with coach Popoluzio a couple of year ago; a light---   heavy guy who shoots! very well, and is fast and athletic...against Kyle Snyder, Ohio States phenom fresh from last year (2nd at nationals) who won the world's this past summer -- the youngest US wrestler ever to do so. He was redshirting as he trained for the olympics, but Ryan (coach), pulled him out of redshirt so he could help the team, as they had suffered some starter injuries. So....well, you can put that together -- because Snyder also shoots! Two heavyweights, who win a lot of their matches against much larger guys, with shots! -- shooting against each other...could be a first at 285!   Please note:  I said they are heavyweights, but light ones, who shoot on guys 30 or so pounds heavier than they are!  This could be a real learning experience for any local heavyweight who cares to watch --


see below for wrestling lessons... 



wrestling lessons....
Sunday, February 28, 2016


private lessons....
                                    Friday, February 5, 2016

I give'em! ---- $25 per hour --  especially if you're interested in improving your mat game;  top or bottom:  my thoughts on the bottom position are that it is critical -- much more than just having a good standup, which most wrestlers don't;  if you have one, and it doesn't work, and you get tired, what do you do?  What do you do against a good leg wrestler?  Don't ever have to worry about it --?  no one does, until they do -- and usually that's in a big match, like one of the season ending ones!  Learn how to deal with all that junk the right way -- so you are a fortress on bottom!!  How about dealing with  a claw? Or spiral?  Breaking out of a cross wrist ride?  How about learning how to break a man on top?  Do you just hang on and wait it out until holding the guy down becomes too much trouble?  On your feet, what do you do when a guy pummels into you with underhooks -- tries to throw you?  Do you just kinda back out butt first?  There is a defense! -- Is a whizzer your main line of defense when someone shoots on you?  What about go behinds?  Do you know they are the major takedown at the D-l level?  What if someone crabs you, laces your leg, cradles you, throws in legs, powerhalfs you?  Busts you flat and has a cross wrist?  How do you keep your hands?  Is standing up really the best first move off bottom?   How about this:  most of the HS wrestlers do them wrong!

And, it's probably the worst move for most highschoolers;  and, who wants to watch their kid get mauled for 2 periods while stranded helplessly in legs?  Laying there, unable to even begin to extricate himself??  Who can watch that stuff!  I can't -- I used to walk out on the mat and tell the ref the match was over if that happened to my kids (JK -- it didn't really happen -- and there I am, the nutso dad!!)  But seriously, this stuff doesn't have to happen -- getting out of legs or stopping them is an art, you have to develope a feel for -- but you have to learn what to do in order to feel it! 

Here's what you need to know about defending really good leg rides:  the leg rider is comfortable with his position, and if you want to defend his offense (legs), you have to become equally as comfortable in doing so; getting a few legs lessons about defense over the course of a year and heavying up the last few days prior to sectionals isn't enuf!

Also, if you want to ride a guy, really ride him, you have to be aggressive about it; it's not just a matter of chopping an arm and wrapping the waist -- that's not an aggressive ride; when you want to bust someone, you have to apply pressure, sometimes in different ways -- the kind of pressure that stops him from getting a good base!  Having a great ride is a brutal asset; being able to control and dominate the bottom man takes the juice right out of him -- and being on top at the HS level is really about scoring points, since you aren't awarded any points for controlling your opponent -- so, you have to know how to score, not just how to hang on, wondering how in the world that pinning combo your coach taught you is ever supposed to work!

Here's something else to think about as you contemplate the future of your young highschool wrestler:  there's a certain amount of coaching sameness that takes place around the section; it varies a bit according the school, but not much; it varies about according to suburbs and countryside, also;  this sameness is predictable, and it is not only what coaches coach, it's what they coach against;  if I were a HS coach, I might do some of this also -- I'm not, so I don't have to worry about it; I coach outside the box, stuff that's interesting, and stuff that isn't predictable -- this is especially so on the mat, on the bottom --


872 1723        


brad@gillespiepaddles.com


 



Other meaningful thoughts on wrestling, especially mat stuff, waaaay down; also, blog  is underneath --



Super thoughts....
Friday, February 19, 2016


Every year I watch the Supers (state qualifiers) and I am left with some ideas of how things could be improved. I don't mean the organization, as I think the guys at the head table do a great job (Jeff Howard and Chris Bourne are the ones I recognize from the far end of the gym, and Chris is the one who's smooth, mesmerizing, yet authoritative voice is announcing; Jeff is the one running all the computer stuff and keeping things running pretty much like clockwork. He also walks around looking important and stuff like that..I think...since like I say, it's hard to say what is going on from where I am sitting.) My improvements would mostly be in the somewhat idiotic things wrestlers do year after year to lose matches. I recognize that doing idiot things is one of the stepping stones in life, and I know I'm still climbing, but not as often as in years before.

So here's one of the biggest: relying totally, without deviation, on a standup as your singular bottom move. The time this really pays off is in OT, the ultimate 30 secs.....who does this 30 seconds favor? Who couldn't guess. I don't know all the specifics of HS wrestling rules anymore, so I don't even know how the bottom guy loses in this ultimate 30 sec. period -- loses by being on bottom, stranded, without anything but a standup in his one move repetoire. I think of the Salvaggio/Barker match 145. A div. in particular. Here's two guys who essentially became dead even as the season progressed, with Alex winning the lst two meetings and Chris B winning the final meeting in semis. Their 3 matches this year were all absolute wars! Christ, I was even exhasted at the end! Their wrestling styles, though a bit different, aren't all that disimilar, are quite physical, and their matches seemed to intensify with each metting (I like and know both of them, so I don't have favorites here -- and this example isn't meant as a harsh criticism of their styles -- just a mild one). Alex won the the second time they met at sectionals as he was on top in final 30 secs; Chris won the 3rd meeting as they switched positons. Pretty certain it wasn't something they agreed on, but were more or less placed there by virtue of whatever rule dictates. I don't know what the time frame is for holding onto a leg in HS now, but it's obviously way too long for a 30 sec. OT -- and of course, if you are the top guy, the the bottom guy stands up, you end up grabbing the leg and holding on for dear life. Let's say this cuts into your 30 secs by 18 secs, so you have 12 secs left -- to repeat the same maneuver...who wins? Of course. Unless the bottom guy is super, super, super fast at extricating his legs. Or unless he does a short sit back, and hip heists....what? Where have you ever seen that? What is it? Crazy. ( I picked Chris and Alex out because I actually watched them, and this was the most obvious example I saw over the past two weekends, though I am sure there were plenty of others; their match was also one of the most intense.)

I do want to point out that the short sit, or the sitback, is hardly the only effective move besides the standup. There's a lot of neat little things you can do on bottom to escape or reverse you man -- and they are considerably more interesting than a standup!! -- This is the same stuff in college pretty much. All standups, and tripods mostly....Probably 5% of the wrestlers do other things to extricate themselves -- and I always love watching it! There's a certain amount of built in inevitability that what is popular in college will slowly trickle down to HS. And a certain amount of unoriginal blandness too. Wrestling should be more creative than this -- and the bottom positon is a great place to be creative. But you can't be creative when you are being stifled, crushed, and are desperate.

But getting back to the Crazy stuff -- it is always outside the box, as unexpected as can be. But, the crazy guy who won NCAA D-l nationals 2 years ago at 149, did that in 3 of his matches, same situation (except in college they have little different OT scenario -- both guys get their turns on bottom and top in the final OT); Tsirtsis (149 lber) was tied, right up the the very, final OT. in 3 of his matches, and won because he could get out and his opponent couldn't! Now, back two years ago, collegiate rules were pretty much the same as HS with holding onto the leg for dear life. Now they are not: you get a 5 count, and then you get hit for stalling -- which if you have already been hit, which is very easy in college, your opponent starts to accumulate points: in a final OT of course, that's the end. 2 years ago, it wasn't. Tsirtsis won because he sat out, closed up space, kept his legs, and hipped out....3 matches...national champ. (other than this sit position, Tsirstis was not crazy at all, and in fact was exceedingly boring to watch...hence all the OTs..)

So -- closing up space, keeping legs protected....huh...what's that stuff about when all you've ever really done is stand up, and a lot of the time get face planted and arm trapped?

Of course, dinging guys for hanging onto legs helps -- not in HS in OT, at all really. But in college, it does, big time. Same with that brutally effective but totally indefensible side headlock -- which has the same penalty cost at holding onto legs has now. (the side headlock without a leg in should be illegal frankly).

.........ok, I have another thing that to me is extremely bothersome about HS wrestling. I am watching a match and one guy takes the other guy down and they are about halfway out of bounds. I admit, I'm used to watching college wrestling, but the ref blows his whistle and they head back to center while I'm wondering where the takedown points are???? duh! -- they are out of bounds! no points! Arrggh...when am I going to remember this! I whack myself on the head... They do it again and this time the same guy takes the guy down and puts him on his back....same thing...no points...no back points!! -- no points for anything? Argghhh....no whacking this time. Things don't go so well the rest of the match for the guy who got robbed of his points, and he loses by a takedown. So a match that should have been 7-2 maybe, is 2-0 the other way...maybe the guy who originally scored just said the heck with it. What's the sense in doing this and not getting any reward. And just what is the point of it? In college you can take a guy down, put him on his back pin him...all with the tiniest sliver of your little toes just barely in bounds...and this is generally on a much larger mat than HS mats are: I mean seriously, is the point of the match to continually stop the action and deprive aggressive wrestlers of well earned points? The point of a wrestling match should be to wrestle, not to continually restart the match when the guys go out of bounds. The mat should be as large as possible and the out of bounds should be about having everything totally out of bounds. I have to admit -- I get so antsy during some of these long, endless battles with the out of bounds in HS....they seem to add hours to the match!

So what's the big deal about what happens in college, you might wonder? Generally speaking, many good things trickle down from college wrestling. Unfortunately, some of them don't -- like the riding time thing, which would seriously enhance two elements of wrestling: bottom and top. Rather than chucking them, wrestlers would have to improve these skills -- why? because in college, many, many matches are won by a riding time pt. I remember in the space of about two months, watching a wrestler who had accumulated more riding time than his opponent, win in double OT based on that criteria -- his riding time advantage. It was an Edinboro kid, and he won two matches because of a few more seconds riding time. Wow. However, unfortunately, the mind-numbing standup thing has trickled down also...and now it's more advanced version: the tripod.


See above for personal coaching.... 



private lessons....and what the hell is it with all the guys at supers>?
Friday, February 5, 2016


I give'em! ---- $25 per hour --  especially if you're interested in improving your mat game;  top or bottom:  my thoughts on the bottom position are that it is critical -- much more than just having a good standup, which most wrestlers don't;  if you have one, and it doesn't work, and you get tired, what do you do?  What do you do against a good leg wrestler?  Don't ever have to worry about it --?  no one does, until they do -- and usually that's in a big match, like one of the season ending ones!  Learn how to deal with all that junk the right way -- so you are a fortress on bottom!!  How about dealing with  a claw? Or spiral?  Breaking out of a cross wrist ride?  How about learning how to break a man on top>?  Do you just hang on and wait it out until holding the guy down becomes too much trouble?  On your feet, what do you do when a guy pummels into you with underhooks -- tries to throw you?  Do you just kinda back out butt first?  There is a defense! -- Is a whizzer your main line of defense when someone shoots on you?  What about go behinds?  Do you know they are the major takedown at the D-l level?  What if someone crabs you, laces your leg, cradles you, throws in legs, powerhalfs you?  Busts you flat and has a cross wrist?  How do you keep your hands?  Is standing up really the best first move off bottom?   How about this:  most of the HS wrestlers do them wrong!

And, it's probably the worst move for most highschoolers;  and, who wants to watch their kid get mauled for 2 periods while stranded helplessly in legs?  Laying there, unable to even begin to extricate himself??  Who can watch that stuff!  I can't -- I used to walk out on the mat and tell the ref the match was over if that happened to my kids (JK -- it didn't really happen -- and there I am, the nutso dad!!)  But seriously, this stuff doesn't have to happen -- getting out of legs or stopping them is an art, you have to develope a feel for -- but you have to learn what to do in order to feel it! 

Here's what you need to know about defending really good leg rides:  the leg rider is comfortable with his position, and if you want to defend his offense (legs), you have to become equally as comfortable in doing so; getting a few legs lessons about defense over the course of a year and heavying up the last few days prior to sectionals isn't enuf!

Also, if you want to ride a guy, really ride him, you have to be aggressive about it; it's not just a matter of chopping an arm and wrapping the waist -- that's not an aggressive ride; when you want to bust someone, you have to apply pressure, sometimes in different ways -- the kind of pressure that stops him from getting a good base!  Having a great ride is a brutal asset; being able to control and dominate the bottom man takes the juice right out of him -- and being on top at the HS level is really about scoring points, since you aren't awarded any points for controlling your opponent -- so, you have to know how to score, not just how to hang on, wondering how in the world that pinning combo your coach taught you is ever supposed to work!

blog is below -- and more directly below some comments on how absurd the state qualifier tourney has become with pretty much everyone qualifying>

I mean seriously, to underscore how ridiculous the participation thing is, there literally are kids who didn't place at the JV counties or maybe even who did place,  who qualified for the Supers -- the Supers -- which obviously aren't so super anymore;  it was JV counties -- like for JVs and these kids qualified for a varsity tournament that qualifies you for states?  They can't even qualify for varsity on their own team!! -- and most likely, very most likely, the guy who beats them isn't going to states either -- or even near it;  this is just pure watered down wasted time, giving everyone a chance, exposing everyone to the 'big time' -- which because of the nearly absent qualifications, is now small time> God, what a mindboggling borefest compared to the old days -- yes, the old days, when it was a super tournament!  2 divisions, mediocre JVs -- what next?  Maybe we can throw some of the out of control dads out there for fun?

Brad Gillespie    585 -872 1723    


brad@gillespiepaddles.com


wrestler wreckage...
Friday, February 5, 2016



Do you have the most amazing young wrestler in the section, or state?  Sure,  there's  few incredible prodigy type wrestlers out there who's dads cart them around all year to any and every wrestling event available, no matter how far away or inconvenient or --crippling to a normal family lifestyle-- guy's who thrive in this environment, and continue to improve:  it may be that you have an ncaa champ on your hands -- # 1 in the country....a  D -1 national champ....in this country, the highest level you can achieve, and even if you win a gold in the Olympics, probably even that won't equal the thrill of winning that ncaa title. (guaranteed, there will be considerably more people going crazy at the ncaa tourney).   Lay life aside and kick it into overdrive --your kid has the right stuff>

It all starts very early. Countless pee wee tournies -- two a weekend -- and many of them in Pa., because the competition isn't tough enuf in NY for your super-talented allstar. We used to do around 10-11 per winter prior to my kids HS experience -- not the 30-40 some of the super-kids did -- mostly burning their young olympians out prior to them even getting to HS. We never once went to Pa. I think most of the pee wee wrestlers around here can get as much competition as they want by wandering around the adjacent sections. For them, the trips to Pa. aren't an essential part of their future olympic status. Our major tournament during the prior to HS stage was the tournament of champions in Columbus -- and what a super tournament that was! 60-70 kids per wt. I think the highest any of my kids ever placed was 3rd -- Gregor, his final visit, after getting beat by the eventual champ in the lst round -- 9 matches later...3rd place! What super exposure! Ultimately, Gregor ended up being a D-l national champ and 4 x all am. At that point in time (the pee wee, columbus pt. -- 6th grade/ 3rd place) , he wasn't anywhere near the level of the guys he would end up beating to win nationals. Many of the top wrestlers would end up going to prep schools -- good schools, but to wrestle with the best HS programs -- sorta like college only 4 years early...I never quite got that, and still don't. Some dads even move to different areas to get better coaching -- even around here! -- I always thought these guys were whacko. He also wasn't the top pee wee wrestler in the sections we wrestled in 5, 6, 3 and a little 4, with 3 and 4 being the toughest for pee wees, then. He also was still a pee wee wrestler....we didn't increase our exposure to top wrestlers around the country to deal with this egregious deficit.

I know if you are one of the relentless dads, you are thinking who could do this?  You have a kid who ended up a national champ! Why aren't you doing as much as you can to exploit his skills!  Of course I had no idea he was going to do that, and he obviously did it without me changing anything; you could just as easily argue that not pushing the hell out of him didn't burn him out -- which would have been the more likely scenario:  dad goes crazy, kids goes flat; I don't really know how it's such an automatic thing in some dad's perspectives that their kid is automatically material for a state or national championship just because he show some above average, or better, talent when he is a pee wee wrestler, or has won counties as a sophomore>


At these pee wee tournies, a lot of what I observed was that the energy --- and anger --was Dad's. Punishing, demeaning -- certainly not all of them, or even most of them, but many -- and those poor kids were the ones you never saw in HS. Gosh, and they were so promising at 9 years of age.  Some of the top dogs on the circuit;  Some of them did make it, and became very successful HS wrestlers -- but the energy was their's, they wanted it -- the dad's were instrumental in making it happen, and not overbearing.

Now (presently)  the HS thing is totally different...and mandatory of course, now, for those seeking that olympic entitlement. God forbid if you are pretty good and you don't attend at least 3 national tournies spaced all over the country, and hit up a bunch of others, as well as live the sport full time -- mostly for what it's hard to say. Getting your clock cleaned isn't really much of a learning experience for alot of these guys. But dad's on....and more. So off you go. Gregor, our eventual national champ, was invited over the years to do some national team tournies with various clubs -- beginning w/ 8th grade when he was 3rd in states at 96 lbs. He did a few of them every year I think , and fargo 3 x --I think -- bad dad, I don't recall all of them....and, as a dedicated dad, I didn't go to any of them. ha ha...can you imagine that? I mean this guy turned out to be a national champ, and I didn't go to all the offseason tournaments and make sure everything was going totally as it should! I wasn't walking around with his lunchbox and kneepads making sure everything was in place.   So it wasn't like I was dragging him around. I personally felt like it was nice to be free of the wrestling strain for awhile...kind of like until the next season. I still had a life to live and since I went to all the HS stuff, I didn't mind not doing the spring, summer, fall thing (and there's probably dads out there just wishing another season could be added!). As a dad, you sorta live thru your wrestler's success, so the more sucessful he is, the more elevated you are -- it's an ego trip for sure; but as a dad, you also have to know when to draw the line and get a grip on reality -- a tough thing to do, but essential. Your kid's wrestling prowess isn't really your's, and someone has to be the adult, keeping the rest of life going; I have another son, Tor, who was also a very successful wrestler, but not on Gregor's level -- he also wrestled at the D-l level, and was very successful there, earning trips to the nationals every year (which you do have to earn, and some NYS champs who went on the D-l level never even got that far) and attained 6th place his jr. year -- while getting a degree in Computer science -- incredibly tough to do. And this was within 4 years, not the typical 5-6 most scholarship D-l wrestlers utilize. (I can't tell you how many incredibly talented wresters on the d-l level have never placed in nationals : it is the #1 goal of every wrestler to achieve that status -- and not doing so is absolutely crushing). I also had a daughter, which is something not many people are aware of when you are successful wrestlers' father -- and she became a very respectable V-ball player, playing all the way thru HS and college! I also run my own business and have a wife. So there are other things going on other than having a super son wrestler.

I've experienced some of the dads who think they have a kid who is absolutey good enuf to make the olympics someday. These are HS dads -- when having such knowledge is a sure sign of insanity. They have a kid who is a good wrestler -- maybe he's gone to states as a freshman or won the D-2 states twice -- and hasn't lost a small school match in 4 years. They are sick of their HS coach and need someone who is up to their son's level...seriously. The dads in these situations are pretty much bonafied sickos, who totally live thru their wrestler's success -- and regular HS coaching isn't good enuf for them. There aren't enuf tournaments around the country during the off season to take their champs too. Over the years I've heard stories about young 8 year old supermen from some nearby section who are winning everything! They are surely going to win nationals someday, at the very least. State championships won't mean anything to them. When it comes time for anything like that to happen, of course, they are gone. Dad has either totally wrecked them, or other kids who go thru puberty and who haven't wrestled much, beat them -- and this is just intolerabe to someone who dad paraded around the country as the future poster child for wrestling. I met one of these days when my kids were in pee wee wrestling: the kid was 5 years old!!! The dad trained him like he was a collegiate wrestler and took him all over the country, where he actually won some pee wee national tournies, I guess. Several years later, I had lost track of him and his prodigy, and the kid popped up as a JV somewhere -- and I'm not sure he ever made varsity. But he was still wrestling! -- which I thought was incredible, since he was so successful, with an absolute zealot of a father, so young...I mean, good for that kid. Most kids would have chucked the entire deal, and possibly turned to bad, life ruining habits -- too much success, too early, dad driven....not so successful later on, major dad resentment....bad life choices.

Here's something most of the fanatic dads don't consider when they're racing around the country getting their allstars the most competition possible: if their kids are really that talented, and they miss out on half the stuff they go to, they won't miss much; most of these guys could use more vacation time from wrestling -- if college is their goal, they'll catch up quickly:  if they are really that good, they will be better, whether they wrestle year round or not.  if the goal is getting college scholarships, you've already spent more money chasing global tournies than will ever come back to you in college wrestling. The money thing just isn't that big of a deal, and is absolutely no reason to wrestle full time everywhere to increase your wrestling abilities in HS. When you factor in another year or so of college -- you will end up on the losing end, even with a decent scholarship, which is hard to get. And most of all: you really have no idea how your kid will react to an environment that eats a lot of great wrestlers alive and spits them out into the darkness.

D-l wrestling slots are limited. A long time ago, title 9 whittled them down to around 70 or so schools. This means that all the talented kids in the country are now funneling into far fewer programs, so the competition is fierce. So if you are super serious and super good, you might stand a chance at getting something. The truth is that for the majority out there, D-3 is a much better choice.

Fortunately, most kids and dads are sensible. Wrestling isn't life and shouldn't dominate it. It can be an important part of life, and if dads learn to be available and assist, rather than dictate and lead and drag, then this can be a really healthy relationship, as well as an awesome endeavor you can savor for life.

Meanwhile, of course, it is fine to be a rabid idiot on the sidelines once in awhile, or so....after all, it is your kid out there!



Does D-2 HS = D-1 college
Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Was the reasoning  behind the small school/large school divisions to bring smaller school champs up to a higher level, so they would get more notice from D-l recruiters? Or was it something that made less sense? 

I don't think I've ever talked with one person who thought this was a good idea, even though there were obviously those in the wrestling community who did. My impression, and it could be wrong, was that this was to elevate the presence of good small school wrestlers to improve their visibility with larger collegiate wrestling programs (D-l). So far that reasoning doesn't seem to have helped much, and perhaps has even hurt quite a bit, if you take a look at the carnage of top small school wrestlers and their D-l experience. Sure, there's a lot of carnage in the larger schools in this category also -- D-l is incredibly difficult to compete and succeed in -- which is the main reason this was such a dud of an idea. For the vast majority of these wrestlers, as well as large school wrestlers, D-3 would be much better -- they probably wouldn't be dropping out and dissapearing as fast or as much. And honestly, I don't really think this is because D-l schools are actively recruiting the smaller school champs as much as it is the smaller school champs getting a false impression of how good they really are relative to the top competitors in the nation. This is not meant to slight them -- but everyone has their level of being smushed by the competition. This happens to larger school champs also, but not because they have lowered the bar in the state's ultimate contest.

The prospect of being courted by a large school is very enticing. Most of those who haven't actually experienced any of this, and are lost in the euphoria of their son's awesome talents, getting money for college is quite bewitching. The big leagues, bragging rights....but then you start learning that in the big leagues, your future olympian isn't worth that much -- the coach has 9.9 athletic scholarships to hand out to an entire team, if his school fully funds them; otherwise it is fewer, and less money for each. Unless a team is new, they won't be handing out much to anyone but the very top picks. Or, like Iowa (used to do at least, and probably still do), they might give you 70% the lst year (if you are stupendous) , then gradually reduce it to nothing by the final year - 5-6 years later; if you are still there, which you probably won't be. The (non official) practices start about 2 weeks into the school year, and end about 2 weeks prior to it's end. 2 a day, for any college worth it's salt, and any D-l school pretty much has to do that. Minimum loads, in generally easy majors, for at least 5 years -- which someone has to pay for. Oh it's so wonderful.

So what really happens? Lots of times the small school champs end up dropping out or getting booted out of the college of their choice the lst year -- they just don't like getting their asses kicked frankly, and it's easier to party, and a helluva lot more fun. Getting beat up all the time wasn't something they had in mind after winning multiple state championships. So this D-l courtship has ended up wrecking them, not enhancing them. Back in the old days, these same guys could have been successful Jr. college wrestlers -- but these programs are largely defunct now -- where as 30 years ago they were a fantastic experience. Lots of the super studs ended up even flunking out of those programs. (i.e., MCC used to have a super program the lst semester -- but that would evaporate after the lst semester grades forced them to find something else to do, essentially leaving the team in a noncompetitive situation). There are still quite a few very viable D-3 programs that might work for them as well. They could experience success, not get smushed and discouraged, and possibly even complete their college education. This beats the road to nowhere for sure. And I'm not just picking on small school champs -- as indicated this happens to a lot of large school champs with overinflated self evaluations just as much -- they just haven't won a championship because it has been moved to a smaller status -- so it's more honest. 

So this is what you have: the artificial elevation of super successful D-2 champs, going to D-l schools, now that they are on the radar, and dropping out -- probably because getting beat all the time isn't very appealing to someone who dominated their weight class for 3-4 years in HS. It's a pathetic ending to a story that could have ended much better if everyone hadn't totally distorted the talent thing...much of which is father affected beyond what normal people might be able to comprehend.

The truth is this same thing applies to most of the larger school wrestlers -- all but a very few will be successful at that level. It is brutal, and an ego crushing experience for most. There are obviously some who are cut out for that level of competition -- and these are often those who weren't the top HS wrestlers! You just never know. Sometimes being so successful in HS isn't the best measure of the wrestler in college -- especially at the most competitive level. (the one lone, shining shining exception to the small school thing is Kyle Dake -- 2 time small school champ...who was in Kohl's backyard (cornell coach) and who wrestled on the 'fingerlakes club' team, with real live cornell wrestlers while in HS...). 



A true small school terror....
Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Back in the early 70's -- there was a kid (a man beast) from a small school down by Mt Morris -- Keshequa; he was a year ahead of me, so I luckily had the pleasure of seeing his awesome wrestling feats in my mind go unparalled--' in my mind, of course', includes the shaded memories of HS years, when winning the local county tournament was huge!  His name was Dwight Cartright, and he wrestled at 177 -- I have idea who he wrestled or worked out with: back then it wasn't like you worked out much with kids from other schools, and around him there really wasn't anyone near as tough to work out with as far as I know; possibly that's not far enuf, but enigmas are enigmas for a reason, so not knowing some stuff is good>

His Jr year he roared thru every match, right up thru the A/B state wrestle-offs, right up to the semis of states -- with pins, and then he got pinned, and then he pinned for 3rd place -- so all but one pin in the positive, then got pinned, then he pinned again -- as a sr, he pinned everyone, from the lst match right up thru the state finals -- every single match a pin:  -- double leg takedowns, half nelson, pin!  -- that was his game, and he was the very best at it -- and he was from the smallest of schools, beating and pinning kids from the biggest of schools, since back then, there was only one state champ -- not a small school state champ, which is what Dwight would have been in today's watered down state tournament>


I do give lessons -- Pricing for lessons  -- $25 per hour/  $35 for two wrestlers  (if the second guy is just for practice and price is an issue, I don't worry about the charge -- having a second partner around your weight is helpful, but not essential)  --

You can contact me for additional info ---   872 1723     Brad Gillespie -----email : Brad


highschool has too many weight classes -- especially above 160 lbs...
Saturday, January 30, 2016


(smallish note:  please forgive absence of periods ---- they don't work with this program and my keyboard for some reason; hence the other things like  ;, >, etc) 

Too many weight classes -- and being a hostage to the starting weight process --


As someone who doesn't really have any 'kin' skin in the game anymore,  I go to matches to see certain weights, and kids, some of whom I coach; if there are good matches, I generally know the kids and expect to see decent matches; I honestly don't like sitting thru the heavywt classes, since 90% of the time they are boring push-fests (and yes, I know there are good heavyweights, but you have to be pretty particular about which matches you go to in order to see them -- and most likely, they won't be wrestling anyone, and if they do, it won't be anyone who can compete with them) where a leg might be slapped, but rarely shot on; there is an incredible lack of skill and they really don't represent wrestling; they represent pushing/ If the heavyweights want me to watch, or anyone else to care about their match other than family members -- they should increase their skill level -- that's really what sports are about --not just being there and doing nothing to exemplify any possible skills;  shoot a takedown!  take a chance!  Learn how to finish!  It's really horrible honestly, to watch matches where there doesn't seem to be any wrestling skill involved -- what's the point of going to the match?  I wonder sometimes if it's the same in basketball -- and I think about it like this:  some of the wrestling matches (varsity, where you shouldn't expect it) are so horrible, so lacking in skill, you wonder if someone who knows nothing about the sport thinks how stupid it looks -- would you think about a low level basketball game the same way?  Probably not -- and maybe who gives a crap -- but at least at the lowest level of basketball, there is some skill so that you know what the players are doing; I watch wrestling matches where I just don't know if this is true>  HS -- varsity> And maybe this has something to do with the difference:  when I grew up, we yard and living room wrestled -- hard, lots of the time -- my brother and I, as well as other neighborhood kids; we didn't have actual wrestling skills, but we had basic instincts, and were good athletes, who spent a lot of time trying to beat each other up in a fun way -- I'm pretty sure most of this stuff is nonexistent, as well as being against the law now -- so when I started wrestling, in 10th grade -- I adapted pretty easy, and though things were less technical back the, it was easier to ease into the game, since you had been honing your yard and living room skills for years trying to beat your older brother up, and always losing>(the living room wrestling, btw, cost us plenty in punishment when dad finally arrived home and witnessed another leg had been busted off the chair)>

So I'm like a hostage to  this ridiculous way of setting up the matches, which started several years ago -- drawing the starting weight out of a hat or something equally absurd>  if they land on 152, I really just want to get up and go;  cruel, aren't I? --Perhaps, but I don't like going to matches to watch pushing -- it's not as if these larger guys can't learn and execute moves; I realize that shooting a bad shot means getting smothered and taken down -- really just because the shooting wrestler has no idea how to properly finish his move>  it stinks frankly -- and selfishly, for me, since if I was wrestling, I would learn how to execute a takedown, rather than how to push;  and why 15 matches?  This is utterly ridiculous now -- if not always;  how many teams have 15 wrestlers, or 13 even?  Gotta give everyone a chance -- what other sport do they invent positions to give kids a 'chance'?  All it does is setup a lot of forfeits, or a lot of boring push matches -- in which case forfeits are sometime I pray for/ 

So, for me, I often just don't go to matches, since I don't like gambling;  I don't like playing the game of  wondering if they are going to start the match as 120, or 145, or 160 -- when the wrestler I want to watch is that one right under 120, or 145 -- god only knows how many others out there can't stand this either, and just skip going to matches>  Don't get me wrong:  I don't go just to watch one wrestler -- that might just be my main focus match;  watching other engaging matches, even if the skill level is low, is very worthwhile;  but watching matches where there is really no wrestling talent, isn't really watching wrestling>

Once in awhile I browse thru the matches outside the area; I wrestled HS in the southern tier -- bath, Dansville, hornell area;  I was looking thru some of the match scores from that area the other day and was stupefied by the amt of forfeits and lopsided matches -- 8 forfeits in one match alone, with a few quick pins, a lopsided tech, and a couple of actual matches that were  more evenly contested -- wow, what has happened?  8 forfeits?  What could that possibly mean?  Mostly -- there aren't enuf wrestlers to even begin to fill the weight classes! -- I don't pay that much attention to how many weight classes there are in HS, so honestly I was surprised when someone who does told me there were 15 of them....15?    In college, there are a very reasonable 10 -- 10! -- and they are usually full length matches, and take about an hour and a half of time to complete;  for the most part, they are interesting and fun to watch, since in college they just don't put on the mat if you are heavy enuf for the weight;  


When you pray for forfeits, something's wrong with the game/


Bottom or top...
Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Pricing for lessons  -- $25 per hour/  $35 for two wrestlers  (if the second guy is just for practice and price is an issue, I don't worry about the charge -- having a second partner around your weight is helpful, but not essential) 

You can contact me for additional info ---   872 1723     Brad Gillespie -----email : Brad


What's the point of learning how to wrestle on the mat well, when pretty clearly, not very many wrestlers in section 5 are that good at it?  If you can take a guy down, and escape with a fast standup, why bother really learning anything else?  Well, it only matters when it matters; when you are stuck on bottom and the top guy is dominating you, and you have nothing to defend with, since he's stopped your standup, you most likely wish that you had a bottom game;  or when you are unable to stop your opponent from standing up, and he is beating you at the takedown game -- what's your plan?  You aren't good enuf on top to either score, or contain --then it matters>

I teach bottom position that is actual position, no matter what the top guy does; your bottom position becomes your offense, making the top buy defenseless to stop you; but it takes practice,  and you have to break old, bad habits, that put you face down on the mat, your arm locked up -- defenseless>

And when you are on top -- just hanging on, trying to stop the guy from moving -- typically only successful for a short period of time; you get tired as he gains more position, and eventually, lose him, and another point -- maybe the match;  why not learn how to dominate on top, to break the guy?  There are lots of good riding techniques that make the top position one to savor, rather than to avoid>





Bottom Position
Thursday, April 23, 2015


Thoughts on Bottom Positioning in Highschool vs College wrestling

One of the major missing elements in a lot of folkstyle wrestling, and something all too obvious in NYS wrestling, for the most part, is the absence of good mat wrestling -- or grappling /  (for some reason the period isn't working, hence the back-slashes)-- The emphasis  of coaching and the overall mindset is on takedowns and escapes; and by escapes, I mean standups, the ubiquitous move that totally dominates the majority of bottom moves; so the wrestling game essentially boils down to takedowns and escapes/  Anyone who has ever gone from top tier of NYS wrestling to the harsh realities of D-l college wrestling quickly realizes how diminishing this limited arsenal is/ suddenly their takedowns don't work so well, and they are prisoners on the bottom, unable to get free, because the standup just isn't working/ 

Ok, so what about it/ if you aren't going to wrestle in college, what's it matter?  It doesn't, until you get to states or the higher levels of sectional wrestling, and find someone who does know how to wrestle on top, and you can't do anything -- except wait for the period to end, hoping no more points are scored/  There is truly nothing uglier than watching someone who is good on his feet get crushed into embarrassment when he is on the bottom -- stranded like a beached whale/  I know when my kids wrestled, being held down the 2nd or third period wasn't something they wanted to do too much because they knew I wasn't going to be smiling too heavily about it, even if they won the match by several points! 

Think about what happens in most matches between two very good wrestlers (in this state and yes at states itself):  one wrestler might score a takedown in the lst, ride the other guy for 20 seconds, then that guy escapes, and now the match is 2-1;  takedown man is thinking I got 2!  Wow, but then it's really just 1, because he can't ride!  So a takedown is worth a pt, and now he's  back on his  feet. he  might be a little better than the other guy -- but that guy's good enuf to take him down/his advantage is not so much -- a little scary, because if he had a top game,  he could be turning or tilting, holding the guy down (not getting anything for this containment  in HS, because containing your opponent isn't worth anything, which stinks...more down below on this subject); what if he was good enuf on the mat to actually get a couple sets of back points?  Now the gap is 6-7 points! - a nice comfort zone, and a dominant performance for him .  So the 1 pt has now turned into 6-7 pts, because he learned what to do on top, other than just release the guy when he stands.  There honestly isn't anything more gratifying that piling up points on the mat and having a huge lead going into the second period -- or knowing, that if you start on top in the 3rd, and you are down by 3 pts, you might still  win!  I'm wondering how many of you ever feel that way /

Ok, and here's something else that you might have never thought about:  the guy who is tough on top gets actual choices when it is his turn -- like up or down, or feet:  what does his opponent get, knowing that if he choses down, he might never get out, or worse yet, might not get out and get scored on at the same time!  And he probably isn't much of a rider, so top isn't really a choice.  He actually has no choice.  His opponent?  He has 3 choices, most likely.  He can probably get off bottom, because he can do something other than standup; he can ride -- and he's most likely your match on his feet... Ouch... (wow, the period finally showed...well I'm not going back and changing all the back slashes now...) 

This is the huge difference between American folkstyle and international freestyle, or Greco:  the importance of knowing how to grapple!  How to do stuff on the mat, other than just standup!  This is the beauty of folkstyle also: it isn't so one dimensional/  But in order to be successful at it, you actually have to learn and practice mat wrestling --  Two  of the wrestlers from section 5 that won NY States this past weekend are excellent mat wrestlers (and also good on their feet!) -- Yianni of course, and De Pres, both Hilton kids/  they have excellent skills on top and bottom-- they have different styles, but if I were an opponent, I probably wouldn't select the down position/  There are obvious reasons for this, other than just good genetics/  these guys obviously work at being good on top -- it's not something that just happens/  (no slight against Frankie G/Penfield  -- he's just more of a takedown guy, and I do think he has excellent bottom skills)

Here's what makes me think about all this:  as I watched the semis and consis at the state tourney I was seeing the majority of kids shooting takedowns that looked nothing like I ever see them practice: there wasn't any technical aspect to the shot:  it was just a shot, from too far out, with no setup -- heck, as out of touch as I am with live takedowns, I could do that!  So what's the takeaway from this observation?  SOooo much time is spent on takedowns and technique -- and so little of it seems to actually work for 'most' wrestlers in the biggest tournie of the year -- why not just practice getting in closer, making impact, then shooting -- and most of all, learn to finish!!  But, even more important, spend more time on the mat and learn how to wrestle there  The stuff I'm seeing is about 10% at most of what can actually be done on the mat, up or down/

One final note for anyone ever thinking about heading off to college and wrestling:  you get a point in college for riding time, when you ride your opponent for over a minute.  this might not seem like much, but in collegiate wrestling, it is huge; it could mean the difference in a really tight match in the actual team winning!  The impact of this single point makes mat wrestling just as important as takedowns, if not moreso; if you can't deal with the skills of great riders, you will suffer immensely; this little point is often the breaking point for wrestlers who haven't ever developed good mat skills, and rely on fast standups for escapes/  fast standups are the norm in college, so just having that won't get you much.  releasing your opponent when it's too tiring to ride him, thinking you can just take him down isn't going to work