Like many of you in this club, I’m extremely disappointed in not getting to see our team compete at the AAU State Championships.  My son cried, when I broke the news to him yesterday afternoon and I’m sure many of you had similar experiences.  My heart breaks for the NCAA Athletes that will not get to finish their seasons, and I can’t imagine how I would have felt if given this news when I was in college.  Through high school, college, and into my coaching career, my entire world revolved around a few weekends in March.  The final event matters a great deal, but I now see the work, the community, and the journey to the final event as the most important thing.

I want this club to know how proud I am of the effort, dedication, and work that was put in this season and I don’t need to see how we finished at the TN AAU State Championships to know how far we have come.  As a group, we had between 40-50 athletes still consistently training each week between our two locations, and our level of wrestling proficiency has continued to jump levels.  To the athletes, I thank you for your attention and for the work you have put in.  To the parents, thank you for your time, energy, effort, and open communication.  To the coaches, you are all some the kindest, and most caring people that I have ever met.  I loved seeing the team together, and one of my personal highlights of the year, was hearing our team get a warning for being too engaged in cheering at a match at Regionals!

I have enjoyed the time this season with my son, Caleb.  Like all of you with your kids, seeing him improve, learn lessons, developing a love for the sport and for competition, has been amazing.  I’ve loved the road trips, the talks, the college matches on tv, and watching him care deeply about his new friends in the club.  It has been an amazing year.

As we enter the next post-season phase for the club, here are few things to consider:

We have held approximately 40 regular practices and 15 advanced practices since our start in October.  If your athlete was at all those practices, he or she has accumulated about 110 hours of mat time.  That is a great for a youth wrestler, but only equivalent to about 3 weeks of “real world” work experience. I only note that for perspective, in that none of us would feel very confident at a new craft with only three weeks of experience. 

We are starting our freestyle season after spring break and that will run until early May.  We will be having two practices a week during this segment.  Our summer season will continue with one night a week of practice and multiple local camp opportunities.  I’m putting this out there as a reminder that your athlete will have the ability to double their total mat time before the start of next season.  If you are finishing year one in the sport, by training through the spring and summer, you will be basically starting as third year wrestler next fall.  This is huge.  I don’t want to infer that your son or daughter only specialize in wrestling.  They should participate in as many activities as possible, but if they have a desire to improve in wrestling, you must dedicate time to train.   

It has been an amazing winter season for this club and I look forward to the journey forward with all of you.