Over the past twenty years, college wrestling programs across the US have been drastically cut. An unforeseen result of the loss of these programs was the loss of growth in the new coaches arena. As programs are beginning to expand once again, and exponentially in the women's sector, there is a shortage of wrestling coaches available for these opportunities. Enter the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). Their goal is to ensure opportunities in wrestling for future generations by bringing the wrestling community together. Through their leadership academy, they have developed coaching and training opportunities for both male and female coaches. The ever growing responsibilities of a modern day wrestling coach has created a need for the tools provided by the NWCA. Here are a few reasons this kind of opportunity is essential:
Why it's important
The engagement and importance of a "CEO" style coach is becoming necessary in today's college programs. However, not everyone innately possess these skills. Most learn from mentors or from external resources, which teach them how to become the best all around coach they can. Learning through resources on your own is time consuming, and not everyone may have the means to contact the right mentor. It is essential to take advantage of workshop-like opportunities to further a coach's arsenal of capabilities.
The need for a program to be successful has been redefined. No longer can your athletes only be equipped with good technique and a school uniform to sufficiently compete. Today, in order to sustain a program, a coach must be supported by fundraising, travel, equipment, and proper training volumes and phases for peaking and tapering. What is required for a coach today is a completely different animal from the coach of 20 years ago. Without empowering yourself to expand your knowledge and ability to maintain a program, it will be difficult to pass those skills along to your athletes. Just like the skills and capabilities needed to be successful in the work force of today, so have the skills for a coach expanded.
Shortage of coaches
The sport for women is growing faster than we have coaches available take up programs and positions. This starts at the increasing number of college programs, and trickles down to the needs at the youth levels. This means it is imperative for both men and women to continue their coaches education in order to meet the demand. Creating a highly educated group of coaches will create high level social, leadership, management, adaptability, and wrestling skills being taught to elementary age kids through college.
You're not sure how to get back into coaching
Sometimes we don't even know where to start. Getting back into the coaching world can be intimidating, especially if the coaching in your area is very established. There is always a need for extra support when it comes to creating opportunities for kids. You don't need to be searching for a college position in order to support the growth of the sport. It is not uncommon for a head coach to become stretched thin, especially if they have multiple age or gender groups they must accommodate. Make yourself available. The more coaching education background and experience you can provide, the more you can market your skills. There are always needs for specific technique areas, getting kids to competitions, and fundraising management. There is easily a hole that will need to be filled with your expertise. From there, the more support you can create for a program, the more experience you will gain and be an asset as an assistant coach or head coach in the future. We forget that most people who are "on top," (i.e. head coach at a college or university) started with being a volunteer in the room in whatever capacity was needed.
Increase your confidence
Not everyone finishes their competitive career and immediately feels like they can be a confident coach. Not everyone who decides to coach wrestling has had wrestling experience themselves. Many amazing youth wrestling coaches may have never competed a day themselves, but have been successful due to their ability to bring a team and resources together to create a successful program. This is due to their ability to recognize key attributes needed in a coach, and to capitalize on their own strengths. Arm yourself with skills through a well thought out program. Sarah Bollinger attended the coaches academy in 2016 when she first started coaching. Attending the seminars helped her lay a path for success:
"I was able to learn a lot from (attending) the different seminars and the online modules. After that, NWCA has always looked out for me, and with the help of Mike Moyer, I just took a head coaching position at a new program! They have continually supported me every step of the way. I’m happy I was able to attend the Women’s Leadership Academy."
-Sarah Bollinger, Head Women's Coach Southwestern College
Know where you stand
Do you know what your strengths are? Your weaknesses are? Why you haven't gone back into the wrestling room to begin coaching? Why are you not as confident in the room around the athletes/parents/other coaches as you could be? Especially if you are looking to accommodate the needs of a specific age group, the NWCA resources will help you learn how to do just that.
The NWCA leadership program was developed by Dr. Dan Gould of Michigan State University and will will be held July 31st through August 2nd. By applying, you have the opportunity to receive a full scholarship to attend the program. If you are a coach looking to further your career as an assistant or head coach of a college program, there are always skills to add to your resume! Along with these college-specific coaching academies, the NWCA has resources for any level coach.
Are you convinced this is right for you? Then get going on that application!