Wednesday February 15th 2023

We’ve reached the point in the season where the flurry of tournaments in the New Year has begun to subside and preparation in earnest begins for the GMAA/RSEQ finals, the Provincial Championships, the National Team Trials, the USport qualifiers and USport championships and the respective National Championships for each age groups. Athletes from across Quebec will use this time to prepare their athletes, with the goal of having them peak at the right time for their major competitions.

It’s with that in mind, that I’ve already begun the process of doing this, since I’ll have athletes from different age groups vying for top results in the upcoming months. For my high school team, the preparation for the GMAA/RSEQ finals and possibly the Provincial Championships is the one that begins now, after our season concluded with our final dual meets of the season. For our first season in the league, it would have to be considered successful, but not a success if that makes any sense. Getting them to come to practice on a regular basis coupled with the lack of commitment from some athletes was just one of the challenges that I encountered. However, their results in their individual matches have to be considered successful as nearly all my wrestlers won more matches than they lost. If I come home with some medals from the finals, I’ll be extremely happy. Hopefully, with some good results, this will inspire some more kids to join next year.

The final meet of the season went very well

So how do I get my athletes prepped for this end of season tournament? There are some very different schools of thought when it comes to this. Some teams favour intense training and training camps as a way to prepare their teams. This is an effort to replicate the competition atmosphere, by ramping up the intensity in training so that it mimics a match. This method is one that is done quite a bit in many parts of the country and other parts of the world. While this may work for some teams and athletes, this is not one that I subscribe to for several reasons.

The idea of increasing the intensity of your training just before a competition gives me the impression of cramming for an exam. While this may work for the short term, in the end it’s just not sustainable and will ultimately fail you at the worst time. I believe that you should up the level of intensity way before so that there’s an adequate time to taper off. This is the second reason why I don’t subscribe to this. In my mind, all your harder training should have been done throughout the year. Before the competition should be devoted to tapering off, thereby decreasing wear and tear on the body, and decreasing the risk of injury. In the end, each club will proceed with the method that they consider to be the best for their athletes and their clubs going forward.

Getting these athletes to “peak” is very different than other athletes 

Coming up after that is the University qualifiers and Nationals. While not directly involved with the team as a whole, I nevertheless help in any way needed. This is a challenge because it requires a very different mindset going forward. With the older athletes, the changes are minor but in a way more precise. At this point in time, they already have the basic mastery of what needs to be done. I would probably like this to tuning up a Ferrari. It might need to be tweaked here and there, but it’s still a Ferrari. Also, I should point out that I haven’t seen other universities prepare their respective teams for the USport Nationals so I really have no insight in to what goes on there. I can only cite my personal experiences and go from there.

Finally, it should be noted that not many sports will experience such a diverse form of prepping their athletes for upcoming competitions. Team sports prep as a team for the same completion, in one age division and skill level, and will therefore all do the same things. The sport of wrestling has to incorporate many different ages, genders, skill levels in the same room, which will affect the type of preparation for everyone. For most wrestling programs, this is par for the course. Therefore, it’s with that little bit of introspection, that I brace myself for the oncoming wave of practices and tournaments, with the goal of having my athletes perform to their peak abilities. Hopefully, within the next couple of months, I will be writing a blog on the many successes that Quebec has achieved in the coming months. Only time will tell.