What I Learned This Season

A colorful drawing with the phrase “Learning Is Fun” written out in all caps.

If you read my blog on a regular basis (first off- thanks, you rock!) you know that I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my process of helping wrestlers maximize their performance.

And even though I’ve been working with wrestlers for quite a few years, I am fortunate to regularly learn new and improved ways to go about training.

Here’s just a small sample of what I learned this past season. I hope it helps you with your future programming.

1. Full Body Programs

I regularly talk to wrestlers about getting sore after a lift. In fact, I had this conversation last night with a D1 wrestler I’m working with.

As wrestlers, it’s common to think that the only way to get “good results” is if you work yourself to near death and get super sore.

However, I am totally against this.

Why?

Because it prevents you from getting better.

You can’t become a better wrestler by not wrestling.

Think about how well you can wrestle the week after doing a high volume lower body lift.

Keep in mind that walking is probably difficult if you really gave it your best effort.

Do you think the fact that you’re having trouble walking will affect your ability to practice?

I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that it will (and I love donuts!).

I am always asking wrestlers I work with for feedback after a workout.

Why?

I want to know how sore they are!

This helps me gauge their current workload and whether or not it’s negatively affecting their performance.

Remember- you’re a wrestler.

You’re not a bodybuilder, powerlifter, etc.

I explain to wrestlers that any goofball with a weekend certification, can put you through a hard workout and make you sore for close to a week.

It’s my job as a performance coach to find the right balance of stimulus from your training program. The right balance will allow you to simultaneously get stronger, more explosive, AND improve as a wrestler.

That has been, and will always be, a work in progress.

In fact, I believe so much in full body programs, that I’m still having the wrestlers I train follow them. I do this even in the “off-season.”

It just makes sense to me.

2. Long Term Planning

I’ll be honest, up until this season I had only used 4-6 week programs with the guys I work with.

Man, was that a mistake.

I didn’t think much of it until one of the D1 wrestlers I work with approached me about writing him a season plan.

What an eye opening experience!

In the past what I had done was simply make adjustments from week to week based on the competition schedules of the guys I was working with.

And while it got the job done, it wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been.

By looking over the course of an entire season I was able to clearly see and plan for everything. As a result, I was able to design a much more effective and well thought out plan.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t done this before.

Everything seemed to be working in the past, so perhaps I thought I didn’t need to make changes.

But now that I’ve seen the difference, I’m always looking to design long-term plans.

Obviously, there is still the occasion where changes must be made on the fly.

Practice could have been tougher than expected.

An injury may have occurred.

As I like to say- life happens.

Regardless, the benefits and outcomes of being able to plan over the course of a season are well worth it.

3. How To Deload

Because I covered how to properly deload in this post, I won’t get into it much here.

I will say this though- it’s nice to have some research proven numbers to support the idea that you should probably take things a bit lighter before big matches.

By the way, if you’re a coach who doesn’t subscribe to the “less is more” policy at the end of the year, check that post out.

I hope it sheds some light on a way to adjust your training so that you can get more members of your team to the top of the podium next year.

Conclusion

Like I said earlier, I’m constantly trying to learn and improve.

And while I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything, I do like to think that I know at least a little about how to improve your performance on the mat.

I hope these “lessons” help you in the future as much as they helped me this year.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or email me at dickie@wrestler-power.com.

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion
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Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.

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Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.

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Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.

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