conversation with a big ten parent (not OSU)

wrestlfan

Well-known member
I had a conversation with a high profile stud in the big tens parent. I congratulated him on the successes of his son. I said it must be a ton of fun to be able to cheer your son on at that level. His reply totally caught me off guard. He said it wasnt fun. He said he could never just sit back and enjoy it because the stress level for everything that they do is so high. I hope us parents can sit back and enjoy watching our kids play in their sport. Yes, I am saying play as I am referring to the youth levels.
 

Cjlewis01

Active member
I literally have made myself ill from anxiety coaching my son at Districts and state through youth and junior high because I'm trying to internalize everything to not be that dad who's ruining the sport for his son from the coaching chair.

I can't imagine how terrible it would be at the highest collegiate levels. I hope to survive the next 4 years (my oldest is an average freshman in high school).

I do find that it is enjoyable to reflect upon and I greatly enjoy watching him compete.
 
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wrestlfan

Well-known member
I literally have made myself ill from anxiety coaching my son at Districts and state through youth and junior high because I'm trying to internalize everything to not be that dad who's ruining the sport for his son from the coaching chair.

I can't imagine how terrible it would be at the highest collegiate levels. I hope to survive the next 4 years.

I do find that it is enjoyable to reflect upon and I greatly enjoy watching him compete.
congrats to you and your son. im trying hard to make my way through it
 

Jim Behrens

Well-known member
As the parent of a wrestler a LONG time ago, I can relate completely. My son was pretty good but it was always hard to watch. For me, I hated the weekend of the District tournaments where he was top 4 or going home. A very hard sport.
What I can say has two parts.
1) Enjoy the journey. Those 4 years in HS go by much faster than you will ever know. Actually when I look back on it, his entire wrestling career went by in the blink of an eye.
2) If you are the coach/Dad, my suggestion is to do what Tony DiGiovanni did at Solon when his son was on the mat. He left the chair and let the assistant coaches take over. Again, enjoy the moment and love the child for what they are doing. Actually be very glad that they are doing something with you. It is not about the parent in us, it is about the child and the lessons they learn.
 
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wrestlfan

Well-known member
the hard part of the youth is that the club coaches dont go to nmsd or the tulsas or vacs, -- so dad has to sit in the corner. (not that i in any way expect them to!)
Its real easy to coach someone elses kid and tell them to just keep calm. lol...much different when its your own
 

LucMurphy134

Well-known member
As there parent of a wrestler a LONG time ago, I can relate completely. My son was pretty good but it was always hard to watch. For me, I hated the weekend of the District tournaments where he was top 4 or going home. A very hard sport.
What I can say has two parts.
1) Enjoy the journey. Those 4 years in HS go by much faster than you will ever know. Actually when I look back on it, his entire wrestling career went by in the blink of an eye.
2) If you are the coach/Dad, my suggestion is to do what Tony DiGiovanni did at Solon when his son was on the mat. He left the chair and let the assistant coaches take over. Again, enjoy the moment and love the child for what they are doing. Actually be very glad that they are doing something with you. It is not about the parent in us, it is about the child and the lessons they learn.
Great topic, appreciate the responses and I totally relate, I've coached hundreds of kids at all levels over the years, but boy did things get real when coaching my own kid. I recall my son's first tournament ever- he was 6, and I could not sleep a wink the night before because I was so filled with anxiety. Had I done enough to prepare him? What if he gets hurt? What if he hates this sport? What if he steps over a whizzer? What if he loses to a girl? What if he can't make 45, and has to bump up to 49? Who else will be in his bracket? Is it creepy to be looking at a 6 year old's Track wrestling profile? Should I tape his shoe laces? Did I pack his headgear? Bring 2 singlets in case he bleeds on one? Crazy thoughts......and as usual I stressed about nothing important. I realized eventually to emphasize training over competition, and effort over winning and most importantly that it can not mean more to me than it does to him. Also, frankly as we both witnessed so many crazy dysfunctional parent/ kid interactions, I began to feel pretty good about my level of insanity, and I like to think he started to appreciate my style of fatherhood. All a parent/coach can really do is show them the way and at some point it either takes or it does not. When he was young, we always tried to hit McDonalds on the way home from tourneys which some days was the highlight of the day. As my son approached high school, I purposely made an effort NOT to talk about technique or strategy unless he came to me and asked first. Not easy, but I knew he had many amazing coaches around him, who might say the exact same thing as I would, but knowing their message was received differently because it wasn't coming from his dad. I think there's a natural evolutionary thing that makes teenage boys automatically consider the opposite of any advice their father shares with them. I definitely had it with my dad, and my son has it with me. My role became helping him to prepare himself to compete outside the room such as nutrition, weight cutting, recovery, stretching, and just generally be supportive. On match or tournament days, you'd never find me because I was in the far corner of the gym or arena, alone, watching the scoreboard or even watching the red and green cartoon wrestlers and score on my phone on Track. If he was winning by enough, I'd take a very cautious peek at the action. Not healthy I know, but it worked for me. Wife will never understand- but hey she married a wrestler.

Jim is right, you don't realize it when you are in the thick of it, but it goes by incredibly fast and whenever and however the journey ends my hope would be that both the parents and the kid remember it all happily, and realize what a special thing you shared together.
 
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wrestlfan

Well-known member
wanna hear something funny... i took my son to summer natl in atlantic city when he was like 5. Im thinking my kids all bigtime.. lol... he draws a girl in the first round. Im like buddy you have a girl. I sit down all cocky and jacalyn bouzakis snaps him and his face off smacks that mat and she bar stacks him in like 20 seconds... (they like to drill together now and warm up together at tourneys)
 

snapspinscore

Active member
the hard part of the youth is that the club coaches dont go to nmsd or the tulsas or vacs, -- so dad has to sit in the corner. (not that i in any way expect them to!)
Its real easy to coach someone elses kid and tell them to just keep calm. lol...much different when its your own
That is only true of certain clubs. I would say a majority of the top clubs do send coaches to those tournaments. If they are not going to those tournaments, then you have a glorified work out room, not a true wrestling club/family.
 

phopl4

New member
I had a conversation with a high profile stud in the big tens parent. I congratulated him on the successes of his son. I said it must be a ton of fun to be able to cheer your son on at that level. His reply totally caught me off guard. He said it wasnt fun. He said he could never just sit back and enjoy it because the stress level for everything that they do is so high. I hope us parents can sit back and enjoy watching our kids play in their sport. Yes, I am saying play as I am referring to the youth levels.
Totally agree. The stress level is off the charts for the student athlete and the parents. So much pressure, no room for error, open to so much negative criticism from people on forums, trying to stay healthy and injury free enough to get on the mat and do the best you can at the moment. Not everything that goes on in the practice room of these higher profile schools is anyone's business. Weight cuts, injuries, illness, emotions, navigating college, classes, so much goes on behind the scenes that no one knows about, cares about, or ever thought about. Knowing your kid is out there doing their best at the moment, and if they fall short is going to be judged and crapped on by people that have never made it this far in their own wrestling careers sucks. People forget that these are college kids. Kids that have been working their entire life to get to the place they are now. They are the 1% of high school wrestlers that are now wrestling at the D1 level, and that percent gets even smaller when talking Big Ten. They have won Tulsa, Super 32, Fargo, state championships, navigated the stressful recruiting process and now they are here, finally. Their dream has come true, they are a B1G Wrestler. Fun....at times, but all in all, it is F*c$ing stressful watching your kid on the big stage.
 

jujutsuguy219

Active member
I literally have made myself ill from anxiety coaching my son at Districts and state through youth and junior high because I'm trying to internalize everything to not be that dad who's ruining the sport for his son from the coaching chair.

I can't imagine how terrible it would be at the highest collegiate levels. I hope to survive the next 4 years.

I do find that it is enjoyable to reflect upon and I greatly enjoy watching him compete.

It was tough watching my so wrestle at the D3 level in college. I cannot imagine at D1 in the Big 10.
 

jarhead2

Active member
I agree with much that has been written here. My wife and I could not enjoy any of the matches we went to when our sons were wrestling in college. Way to much pressure for us, I cant imagine what it was like for my boys. After they were finished there was a feeling of relief for us and we could actually enjoy wrestling at the D 1 college level again.

I always think to myself how parents want their kids to be starters on their college team right away, until they are. Then they find out real quick if their children are really ready for this level of wrestling that quickly. Most often the answer is no but there are a few who excel right out of the gate and kudos to them. Most of the time it goes the other way early on in a kids collegiate career.

My words of advice to the parents of kids in college wrestling are this: Be careful for what you wish for, competing at the D-1 level or a level the athlete is not ready for can be very trying experience on a parent and a kid.

This is just one old coach and parent's thoughts on this subject.
 

wrestlfan

Well-known member
question for the dads on here who have experienced the parental aspects of a high level hs or college kid---- serious question---
is being on high gold pool teams at things like vac and nmsd and being in tulsa finals type of places-----is that pressure to win at the young age part of the process needed to help deal with the levels of pressure they COULD have later on their wrestling paths... OR... would your kids be better off just not having to deal with those types of pressures until later on in their careers...... My guess to the answer to this question is some will feel one way and some another.. lol... ---- its all just an interesting take and perspectives that are great to hear
 

HDW04

Active member
I can't even imagine the stress as a parent and athlete during big tournaments in D1 collegiate level. Though to be honest I'm not sure it can be any worse than as a parent than in highschool. My son's a senior this year, 2 time state placer, runner up last year. I was an absolute disaster last year at State on day 2. I think actually the quarters and semis were the most stressful events i have ever been through. I actually just sat back in the finals and enjoyed the show...he wasnt expected to make it there and i was so proud watching him on the stage that i didn't even care about the outcome.
 

Old142

Moderated User
question for the dads on here who have experienced the parental aspects of a high level hs or college kid---- serious question---
is being on high gold pool teams at things like vac and nmsd and being in tulsa finals type of places-----is that pressure to win at the young age part of the process needed to help deal with the levels of pressure they COULD have later on their wrestling paths... OR... would your kids be better off just not having to deal with those types of pressures until later on in their careers...... My guess to the answer to this question is some will feel one way and some another.. lol... ---- its all just an interesting take and perspectives that are great to hear
Very good question, I think considering all the tangibles it's BETTER to have went through those type of high level competitions which in the case of my son, a high level of success. However I would start my son later than I did, 6 is unnecessary ....I'd start him at 8 if I had a do over. We also joined a club I coached at where we wrestled 70-80 matches a year, looking back thats unnecessary also, although I didnt start him at over 20 matches a year but by the time he was 9 he was easily over 75 matches a year which there is no need for that, thats one thing I would change . I also think obviously kids process things differently, some might feel excess pressure no matter what, some may not. The word "burnout" comes to mind, but some people consider that word completely negative, in some cases "burnout" could happen no matter the preparation ....some kids just lose the desire to continue to be the best. My son beat several AA'S ....3 Different NCAA CHAMPS ......in college. Won many tournaments ...BUT in the end I saw his desire diminish to continue to be the best, also had some struggles juggling both education and wrestling, had an injury which didnt help. It was an interesting journey...of course I would change a few things, but ultimately he reached every goal he set for himself.
 
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DevilDude

Member
I was always much more nervous with my stepsons competition in HS and college than when I play a sport. It is now starting with the next generation as stepsons have kids. I get nervous watching a 4 year old play soccer and a 6 year old running a quarter mile on May Day. I never have nor ever will coach anybody. I always told them to listen to their coaches. Neither of the stepsons got any scholarship offers worth much although it help one of them get into an ivy league school for undergrad (he now has an Ivy league school MBA, his brother has an MBA from the one SEC school known for academics). If you tell me to enjoy it as it happens and relax, that is like telling the sun not to rise in east. Ain't going to happen.
 

cruiser_96

Well-known member
"Pressure to win" is always a negative thing - no matter the local or level. Gratitude to compete, thankfulness for the opportunity to compete in or at an event one enjoys, participation at a level that challenges the individual, the joy of mastering one's own body & mind, etc. - these are all much better focal points than "winning".

Individuals who take these latter views can thrive at any level. I think of David Taylor and Cael Sanderson when they have conveyed such things. I remember DT told a story about being at a youth event - I assume a high level event. He saw a kid (9 years old?) running. DT asked him, "Hey - what are you doing?" The kid replied something like I am running in order to cut weight. DT said, "Not anymore. Go tell your dad you're wrestling the next weight up." HA! I love it.

As I recently told my team - If you can't hit a double leg at 150, what makes you think you'll be able to hit one at 144 or even 138??? This is a shift from "winning" to learning the sport.

$0.02
 

wrestlfan

Well-known member
"Pressure to win" is always a negative thing - no matter the local or level. Gratitude to compete, thankfulness for the opportunity to compete in or at an event one enjoys, participation at a level that challenges the individual, the joy of mastering one's own body & mind, etc. - these are all much better focal points than "winning".

Individuals who take these latter views can thrive at any level. I think of David Taylor and Cael Sanderson when they have conveyed such things. I remember DT told a story about being at a youth event - I assume a high level event. He saw a kid (9 years old?) running. DT asked him, "Hey - what are you doing?" The kid replied something like I am running in order to cut weight. DT said, "Not anymore. Go tell your dad you're wrestling the next weight up." HA! I love it.

As I recently told my team - If you can't hit a double leg at 150, what makes you think you'll be able to hit one at 144 or even 138??? This is a shift from "winning" to learning the sport.

$0.02
I also remember watching DT be sucked down at districts as a freshman in hs and winning in a dominant performance where he would have done the same at other weight classes. He seemed to turn out ok from it
 

wrestlfan

Well-known member
Maybe he learned a valuable lesson?
he must have learned it very recently or turns a blind eye to his own club . A few of his top youth kids are weight cutters.... dinges and lisowski are some of the top kids in his club and the country and they cut regularly. My son has wrestled and trained with both of them- they 100% cut. DT now helps at the orchard club where the Deputy bros are. They are as good as there is in the country and cut as much as any youth kids out there. He must not see them either.
 
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Jim Behrens

Well-known member
he must have learned it very recently or turns a blind eye to his own club . A few of his top youth kids are weight cutters.... dinges and lisowski are some of the top kids in his club and they cut regularly. My son has wrestled with and trained with both of them- they 100% cut. DT now helps at the orchard club where the Deputy bros are. They are as good as there is and cut as much as any youth kids out there. He must not see them either.
I have absolutely no idea who any of those people are. In addition I don't doubt that there are guys who cut weight. I would guess that a lot of that pressure comes from the Dad. Just guessing. That is just ingrained in the sport.
I think Cruiser's point was that. especially with kids who are growing, it can be counter productive. Very little reason to argue the point as none of us have any idea what others might be thinking.
 

wrestlfan

Well-known member
I have absolutely no idea who any of those people are. In addition I don't doubt that there are guys who cut weight. I would guess that a lot of that pressure comes from the Dad. Just guessing. That is just ingrained in the sport.
I think Cruiser's point was that. especially with kids who are growing, it can be counter productive. Very little reason to argue the point as none of us have any idea what others might be thinking.
i wish they would do mat side weigh ins. For tulsa next month, the finals are wrestled THREE days after the one time weigh in. Its sickening.
I dont disagree with his point at all. I disagree with DT talking to random 9 year olds about what they are doing at a tournament when he has the exact thing going on in a not small way at his own club
 

LucMurphy134

Well-known member
I also remember watching DT be sucked down at districts as a freshman in hs and winning in a dominant performance where he would have done the same at other weight classes. He seemed to turn out ok from it
Maybe, but for every Taylor, Steiber, Dake, Lee, there are a hundreds more young studs who end up hating the sport, and /or making bad choices once they are own their own. Marsteller & Cody Gardner, jump to my mind, but a long list could be made easily. Every kid is different in their capacity to handle high level training and competition, and their capacity and desire will change over time as they develop. I've definitely made a more than a few mistakes in pushing my kids beyond what was necessary, and putting them in situations that they didn't yet have the tools to handle yet, however growth often comes out of discomfort. I think the key is to recognize their limits, and depending on their (your) goals, understand that it's a long road, and while early success does not dictate later success, instilling good habits, work ethic and mental toughness take time to develop. Learning when to back off and be a Dad first was an important lesson for me. At the end of the day, wrestling is just a small blip in a kids life, all the medals and trophies from OAC, Tusla VAC, McDonough Fargo, etc. will all end up in a box in the basement someday. The most important thing is to have a good relationship in tact when it's all over.
 
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Old142

Moderated User
"Pressure to win" is always a negative thing - no matter the local or level."

There is always "pressure" to win, every athlete knows in the big matches he will have to perform at his best, losing with family, coaches, team mates watching isn't fun. How they manage that "pressure" is what differs. A recent interview with Spencer Lee addresses what I just said, and he appears to be one of the coolest cats out there all time.....but of course some "pressure" helps the adrenaline to flow.
 

Spike155

Member
I too coached hundreds of kids from youth through high school. I literally wrestled every match of every kid I ever coached. I would be completely exhausted at the end of a tournament. But, coaching my son just amplified all nerves and exhaustion. So someone asked once if it's so time consuming, exhausting and nerve racking, why do it?
This is why!
 

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LucMurphy134

Well-known member
I too coached hundreds of kids from youth through high school. I literally wrestled every match of every kid I ever coached. I would be completely exhausted at the end of a tournament. But, coaching my son just amplified all nerves and exhaustion. So someone asked once if it's so time consuming, exhausting and nerve racking, why do it?
This is why!
Amen, that's what it's all about! Congrats!
 

snapspinscore

Active member
I also remember watching DT be sucked down at districts as a freshman in hs and winning in a dominant performance where he would have done the same at other weight classes. He seemed to turn out ok from it
Taylor was VERY undersized his Freshman year in high school. He was no more than 98lbs at any given point in that season. Not saying he didnt cut any weight in the future, but he absolutely did not cut a single lb his freshman year. He barely cut anything his sophmore year either. Junior year he MAYBE had a tough cut, and then his Senior year he jumped 4 weight classes and went up another weight to beat Collin Palmer.
 
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