Wrestling is a reflexive (I made this word up) sport. This means, movements do not pass through cognitive structures before they are executed. To become world class at at these movements, it takes thousands of hours, some say the exact number is 10,000 (http://www.google.com/search?q=10+000+hours+to+become+an+expert). Where I see a US disadvantage is in the margins of freestyle (out of bounds, back exposure, clinch, etc.). A US wrestler does not spend thousands of hours working on these aspects of their wrestling. Even SR (post-college) competitors spend far too little time at the nuances of freestyle, this work needs to started at the kid level and maintained - not done occasionally as cross training.I don't advocate changing folkstyle to match freestyle. FILA goes out of its way to reduce wrestling to a game of chance and confusion with erratic rule changes. Beyond that, I pretty much agree with everyone else.
I think the problem with the senior guys(myself included) is that they don't get enough matches in. You can wrestle live sessions at practice, but you can't replace a real match. There needs to be more tournaments around the US during the year, so that senior guys can wrestle more. There also needs to be more places to train spread out across the country. Right now you have NYAC, Gator, Sunkist, and some colleges that have an assistant competing. This of course stems from lack of money, and the innability to get funding for more club teams.
Joe, looking at the way our senior level athletes train in the videos Flo has posted of them, it doesn't surprise me that a kid like Herbert who literally puts all of his time into wrestling and works hard at it, is beating these dudes. I wasn't impressed by Stephen Abas's preparation for the Olympic Team Trials last year and I wasn't impressed by the live sessions you guys filmed of the Olympic Wrestlers preparing for the games. They appeared to be low intensity and low on conditioning. You will notice that guys that put the extra time in like Cejudo and Mocco, who spent extra time training after every practice with Brands are doing much better than the others. In addition, I noticed that many of these younger dudes have more open styles. Old dudes like Bono and Schwab just sit there, doing nothing and then get shot on.One of the big problems older wrestlers face is the lack of funding. In Russia, where good wrestlers are financially treated like professional boxers in the U.S., wrestlers can afford to train every single day for several hours. In the U.S., a good wrestler might only train hard during a one month camp in preparation for a tournament, and that needs to change. When you compare this with the young bucks that are in the room everyday for several hours working EXTREMELY hard, it just doesn't match up.Maybe what these older guys need to do is just practice all season with a collegiate team AND GO THROUGH THE WHOLE PRACTICE. Take for example Doug Schwab. I don't know a whole lot about the guy, but seeing him in that Iowa practice video gives me the impression that Schwab wrestles live with Metcalf but doesn't condition with the team. I don't know, it's just a thought, but don't you think that since he is competing in the international scene he should be conditioning with the team too? I know folkstyle differs from freestyle, but these older wrestlers will definitely be in better shape than the Daniel Cormiers, Joe Williams, Andy Hrovats and Chris Bonos that we see out there on the mat if they condition with the teams they coach. In all seriousness, guys with as much body fat as Cormier and Hrovat should not be competing unless they lose some weight and drop a couple weight classes.So to sum this up:The two things I think these older dudes need to do is:1. Open up2. PRACTICE HARDJust one more thing. I think U.S. wrestlers need to get out of the shoot-sprawl mentality. You will notice that the Russians score many takedowns without even shooting at all, using moves like a two-on-one to a drag or a simple pass-by or even just yanking the guy to the side so they can spin around. All of these moves are done from a tie-up and the Russians dominate the tie-up and are much better at handfighting than the Americans. Our guys need to research the alternate ways to score from the tie-up other than their basic set-up to a shot. Also, you will notice that the Russians continue to wrestle if their sprawl fails, and resort to moves like the crotch lift to try to score back points. I think American wrestlers need to look into these moves and develop them at the level of the Russians.
Joe, I see your point but I don't think you should discount the individual drive and determination of our college or High School guys. I think condition can be a factor but one's individual desire to be a champion can be in a seasoned guy or a college guy or even the Junior in HS. I don't know if the change over from college to freestyle is that big of a deal to the more talented and mentally focused wrestler. Thanks for the post, good point to discuss.
I think it shows that our older wrestlers just aren't training the way they should be. This isn't a diss on those guys, but if they were allowed to train everyday, like the other countries do, these young bucks wouldn't be winning all the time.
Over the weekend, some of our collegiate wrestlers did very well at the US Open. Two of them even won the tournament. Stiebert, A high school junior placed 3rd. This is very interesting to me. Is this a good thing that our younger guys are doing so well at this caliber of tournament? Is there a problem with how our more seasoned wrestlers are training? Not to take anything away from Herbert or Varner because they are both complete studs, but they just finished NCAA wrestling and have had no time to prepare for the freestyle part of the year. THe only benefit that I think they might have is that they are probably still in very good shape from the grinding NCAA season. What do you think?