Traits of a Great Wrestling Coach
Wrestling is a sport dating all the way back to Ancient Greece. In fact, one could argue that it’s so much more than just a sport. It’s a useful form of self-defense, a great way to build strength, endurance and agility, it’s a way for young people to learn discipline and humility and a gateway into the wide and multifaceted world of martial arts and combat sports.
Those who coach wrestling are powerfully placed to have a dramatic impact on the lives and minds of today’s youth. If you’re new to coaching wrestling, you may harbor some trepidation and this is understandable. If you took the business of influencing young people lightly, you’d have no business doing it in the first place. Like the wrestlers you train, you’re locked in a constant struggle with yourself; ever reaching to achieve new goals and grow in your knowledge and ability.
It’s also highly likely that, like any consummate professional, you doubt yourself at every turn. But fear not. If you possess these attributes, you have the makings of an awesome wrestling coach...
Listening skills are essential when working with young people. Throughout their young lives they’ve been told what to do by adults and listening skills are essential in reminding them that they have a voice and agency. You are attentive to the needs of your students both on and off the matt. You know their limits and you know their strengths. You know when they need to be pushed and when they need to take a step back and take pride in their accomplishments. The better a listener you are, the more attuned you are to what your students need to develop in their ability. It enables you to advise them on all things from healthy eating to juggling their practice and their studies.
Your Gym has an Atmosphere of Mutual Respect and Support
Wrestling may not be a team sport but your wrestlers are a team. As such, you work hard to ensure that your gym is a place where wrestlers respect, support and learn from one another. While you recognize that competition is healthy, you (and your wrestlers) know that elitism and one-upmanship are not. When wrestlers step into your gym, they do so ready to help, support, learn from and most importantly respect each other.
It’s this supportive atmosphere that allows your wrestlers to flourish while also developing teamwork and leadership skills when they need to support, advise and coach one another.
You Motivate and Inspire
The best coaches know how to unlock potential in their wrestlers that they never knew they had. As such, you must always believe in them, even when they struggle to believe in themselves. Through your words and actions, they find the strength to get up every time they’re thrown to the mat, dust off their wounded pride and try again. They find the discipline to keep going even when the temptation to give up seems overwhelming.
If you can master these three attributes, you will be the coach your wrestlers want, need and deserve.