Thursday December 14th 2017

With the Christmas Break coming up, many schools will basically call it quits for those two weeks. Most Quebec public high schools have a two-week break and some of the private schools will have three weeks.  Some of the Universities have already stopped as finals are coming up and academics take precedence over training.  During this time, people usually go on vacation as they seek to get someplace warm and sunny for the holidays.  For anyone else who does not like these long dark days during this time of the year, it’s not hard to sympathize.  Any athletes that remain in town may be few in number and as result may not be enough to have a decent practice.  Therefore, by default the rest will be given some time off.  While some see this as a time for some rest and recuperation, not training over the Christmas Break can have it’s disadvantages.

Training is always easier with your teammates and coaches there to motivate you

(Photo property of Jason Chen)

Wrestling is one of those sports that is difficult to learn.  It has to be maintained on a regular basis in order to keep your technique sharp and your conditioning at its peak as well.  Two weeks off from any sport can be detrimental but in wrestling it can be even worse.  To top it off, when the athletes that are away do make their return, getting back into the rhythm of training can be even harder.  So what can you do?  As a coach, if you don’t have enough athletes to have a regular practice, then you can’t practice.  But practice doesn’t have to be limited to wrestling as this may be a time to catch up on other things.  This is where you can modify things to fit the situation.  The athletes that are left can work on certain techniques, if the right people are there that match up in weight.  Why not review some situations that have been problematic?  Or teach some new techniques so that when the rest come back from the holidays, they can help teach those techniques?  At the very least, work some conditioning so that when practices resume, they aren’t too difficult.

Beach Training makes things so much better!

(Photo property of Jason Chen)

From the athlete’s perspective, going on break can have it’s advantages as well since it can be a time to recuperate from injuries and regain some mental health.  As a younger athlete or an athlete in development, this is not a problem as the mental and physical demands aren’t nearly as tough at that stage of wrestling development.  However, this can still be seen as a time to make some advances or at least maintain what you have.  If your club has given some time off and is closed for the holidays, why not take some time to do a run and either work on, or improve your cardio?  Do some calisthenics such as some push-ups, crunches and squats.  In the absence of a weight room, these are things that can be done almost everywhere. But like the other athletes who are on vacation, the motivation can sometimes decrease when you don’t have the rest of the team there to motivate you.  It’s during these times that we tend to see the more committed athletes emerge.

Finding a partner to train with over the Christmas Break is tough!

(Photo property of Jason Chen)

As a coach and a former high performance athlete, I loved training during the Christmas Break.  After all, at this time of the year, the only thing that you had to worry about was training.  No school, no work and rest and recuperation between trainings was that much easier.  For the more committed athletes, training during the Christmas break might be easier as all other responsibilities are suspended for that brief period of time.  With that I will leave on a more positive note.  Enjoy your holidays, train as best you can and if the time with the family involves too much eating, then maybe it might be time to move up to heavyweight!