Managing Your Athletes Into The Post Season Tournament – Adam Harder

Managing Your Athletes Into The Post Season Tournament – Adam Harder

Adam Harder – @CoachAdamHarder

With post season tournaments coming up, I would like to touch on something that I have had experience with now for about 10 years. I’ve been a High School coach for 6 years, and I wrestled in High School for 4. I have seen time and time again coaches will almost punish the kids that advance in the post season tournament and it just baffles me as to why that is. I understand that conditioning and mental toughness are important attributes in sports but, if by the time that your post season tournament rolls around, and your kids don’t already have both of those, a week of live wrestling for 4 full days against fresh partners isn’t going to help them, it’s going to hurt and weaken them.

So what should you be doing? You should be backing off, working on small tweaks and drilling until it’s right. Coaches put their kids through meat grinders leading up until state, and almost every year an alternate makes it to the next round because someone got hurt during the week leading up to state, and coaches are sitting there, scratching their heads wondering why their kids aren’t performing.

The way I treated it—and it seemed to work out just fine for my wrestlers (A 2x state placer and 5 Semi State Qualifiers-Both School Records)—was similar to a deload. We would train harder on Monday and Tuesday, drilling and maybe one or two live matches to see what we had worked on. Then Wednesday was a drilling and conditioning day with a circuit, and Thursday was the same but almost at 50% to make sure our kids were getting rest, and then Friday was short 50 shots, 50 bottom moves, and 50 pushups and sit ups, and we would get out of the room. Now obviously if you have a kid trying to make weight you are going to have to work a bit harder than that, but this hold for all sports, YOUR ATHLETES ARE GOING TO PERFORM BETTER WITH REST! Putting them through grinders of practices leading up to your tournament aren’t going to pay off, however, letting their bodies recover, will. Also, it will help everyone’s moods and attitudes so you aren’t as stressed. Because it is much more of a lax practice, you should be working but still having a light mood on those days you are training lighter.

Example of how the week should go:

Monday –  Drilling on your feet and live matches / situations 80-90% of effort going hard but not over working anyone

Tuesday – Drilling on top and bottom and live matches / situations 75-85% effort backing off a little more today to focus on right technique

Wednesday – Full drilling and situations 75% MAX with a circuit training for condition that should definitely be hard for your athletes testing conditioning and mental toughness

Thursday – Light Drilling 50 % getting warm and breaking a sweat but nothing over working athletes with conditioning done at a slower time than normal

Friday – 50 Shots 50 Bottom Moves 50 Top Moves no conditioning for kids on / under weight

Saturday – PERFORM!

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