The JV did a mighty fine job at the Santa Fe duals today.  The team went 4-1 overall, and we had several undefeated wrestlers: Zane Coley, Ben Sheppard, Geoff Mellor, Jason Hou, Ryan Tye, and Afsheen Farnoudi.  Good job, fellas!

Geoff Mellor: comin on strong!

 

The varsity had it rough at the Mann Classic.  No one medaled, and we definitely took our lumps.  The good news is that we are right there with all those guys.  We can compete with them, and 75% of our losses were self-caused.  That is, it’s not that our opponents were so far ahead of us; we beat ourselves.  Our mindset beat us.  That might seem like bad news, but the silver lining (thus making it good news) is that it is very correctable.  Let’s take the next seven days to relax, recharge, and reflect on the season thus far, then lets come back on Dec 30 rarin to go.

Speaking of: practice resumes Dec 30 at 8am.  The following day we will again have practice at 8am.  Everyone is expected to be there, injured or healthy.  Parents, I need you to back up the team on this.  Lately several of our wrestlers have gotten into a bad habit of not showing up for practice and not showing up for meets, and oftentimes the excuses are not good ones.  Please stress to your wrestler the importance of attending both. We had seven guys not show up for the JV meet today, and that was discouraging.  There is a difference between being sick enough not to wrestle and merely not feeling up to par.  Likewise, there is a difference between an injury and merely being in pain.  In both things (sickness and injury), the latter should be pushed aside–we all experience adversity from time to time and must push past the discomfort.  It is a good character building experience.  If your son is really sick (ie, throwing up) or really injured (broken something or other), those of course are legit reasons, but you are still expected to push through things if you have a minor issue. 

Lastly, please try as hard as possible to schedule appointments around practice and meets.  We need and appreciate your support on this.

As I mentioned earlier, relax and recouperate this next seven days.  Do not get on the mat (possible exception: Valdez camp for lower level guys).  I know some of the varsity guys have a hard time buying into this, but hear me out.  First, you all know I’m a big fan of extra work/practice/matches.  It is the air we breathe at Capo.  In the spring, for instance, I fully expect everyone on the team to either a) join a spring sport, or b) wrestle off season matches, go to club, go to summer wrestling camp, lift like crazy, or a combination of all those things.  If you don’t do any of that, my assumption is that you won’t be wrestling next year.  And: all things being equal, I’d rather have the “problem” of guys working too hard than guys being lazy.  HOWEVER, enough can’t be said about the effectiveness of well-timed rest.  Now is a period of well-timed rest.

I cannot stress this enough. Rest time is a must. Get off the mat…totally.  Get outside.  Varsity guys, after the performance at Mann, we ALL desperately need it.  I have been in wrestling for 22–count them–22 years.  I wrestled at the D1 college level.  I’ve seen it all.  There are periods of intense obssession with wrestling, and when those come, embrace them.  There will also be periods where you are burned out.  It is inevitable…even the most ardent mat rats go through that.  This burnout can be more or less severe, but don’t make the mistake of neglecting rest, and getting to the point where the burnout is unbearable and it breaks you.  This can be avoided by taking a step back.  I repeat: THIS IS A MUST!  I don’t want to see you guys keep going during break only to peak early or not peak at all.  There will come a time in January when you will be thankful for the break you took.  Get away, spend time with family, reflect, and then come back dec 30 with some definite goals and the moxie to get ’em done.  Again, I’ve been there..this is not based upon ignorance.

This article was written by a climber (Eric Horst) for climbers but pertains to wrestlers perfectly (HT: Justin Flynn):

“The Importance of an OFF SEASON”

If you are like me and many other climbers, you are mildly obsessed (or worse!) with climbing, and your mind and fingertips are never far from the rock. However, over the course of a year, accumulating physical and mental fatigue grows to a point that you can no longer recover fully just by taking a couple of days off. This is true for serious athletes in every sport, which is why all professional sports have an off-season. So let me ask you: When is your off-season?

The problem with us climbers is that there are just too many classic climbs, too little time to do them all! So, the tendency is to never take any time off and, thus, climb year-round. While this might seem like a good plan for maximizing technical gains and adding to your ticklist, the long-term effects of not taking a break from climbing can be injury, a drop in motivation, and a performance plateau. Any of this sound familiar? If so, part of the problem may be that you’ve gone too long without an extended break from climbing. Taking downtime is essential for all living things and it’s not something you can cheat on—if you don’t take some time off, you will eventually be forced to take time off!

Now, I bet you are already setting goals and planning roadtrips for next season—personally I’ve got three major climbing trips locked in over the next seven months. But before you start training for your upcoming trips, why don’t you do as I will do and take a break for a few weeks.

Following is a three-step process for recharging your motivation and refreshing your body during a self-imposed off-season from climbing. Individuals living in northern areas will most likely take this off-season break during the winter, whereas climbers in warm-weather climates may take their break during the peak of the summer heat. Ok, let’s get started.

Step #1 of the off-season renewal process is to pause and reflect on the past season.

With the year winding down, it’s always a good idea to take a mental inventory of accomplishments and experiences of the past year. Take a few days and dwell on all that was good for you in the past year—enjoyable roadtrips, personal-best sends, new friends made, new places seen, and such. For many amped-up climbers it’s tough to stop and smell the rose in this way, because they are so intensely focused on the next climb. Yes, it’s true I’ve been there; and I can tell you firsthand that being so intensely goal-focused and future-oriented is to miss out on some of the joy and experience of climbing. So, take some time to reflect on past climbs and really bathe your mind in the experience. Visualize a kind of “highlight reel” to your year in climbing—doing so will recharge motivation and help you tap deeper into the spirit of climbing. Remember, it’s not all about the send, it’s about the experience! The bottom line: Don’t be so quick to discard recent experiences in favor of future projects.

On a more global level, it’s also important to pause and your count our blessings. Natural disasters and tragedies of many kinds affect millions around the world, and even within the climbing community there’s been great loss this season. Take solace that your daily challenges are likely minor by comparison, and vow to wake each morning with an attitude of gratitude. Possessing this mindset will foster positive energy and a forward-looking vision of “possibility” that will grow personal happiness and help seed future successes.

Step #2 of the off-season renewal process is to rest and recover!

If you are like me, you’ve developed a few tweaks or pains this season. Yeah, I’m going on age 43 and the pangs seem to appear more frequently every year. Then again, I do hear from dozens—actually hundreds—of young climbers each year who are nursing finger, elbow, and shoulder injuries…so, maybe age has nothing to do with after all? But I digress.

Again, let’s use pro athletes as an analog—all professional and Olympic athletes take time off each year, and so should you! I suggest you schedule anywhere from a two-week to two-month break from climbing, and shift your focus and energy onto something else. This is a good time to get busy working toward some of your other life goals and to engage in different physical activity unrelated to climbing, such as snowboarding, skiing, or perhaps even playing a team sport for a while. Most important, however, you don’t want to do anything that stresses your body in the way climbing does—so that means no indoor climbing and training for climbing.

Of course, many climbers resist taking time off, saying they will lose strength and slow improvement. The truth is that any loss of fitness during a layoff of just a few weeks will quickly return upon resumption of training. Conversely, by not taking an a few weeks of rest each season you vastly increase your risk of a tendon or muscle injury that will force you out of climbing and set you way back. Clearly, the smart thing is to take a little time off each year and give your body a chance to recover from the accumulated fatigue and traumas of our rigorous sport.

As someone who is very serious about performance, it’s my MO to take few weeks off from climbing each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Such a break from training and climbing allows any tweaks or nagging injuries to heal. This year, I’ve developed some lower back issues as well as some slight pain in a couple fingers, so my self-imposed “off-season” finally gives my body a chance to correct itself. After a few weeks of frequent stretching, some modest antagonist muscle training, and active rest (in my case, playing backyard football with my sons), I should be ready to start a new season of training and climbing with a fully healthy body. You, too, can benefit from an off-season break from climbing—in fact, consider it mandatory if you have any kind of pain in your fingers, elbows, shoulders, or back!

Step #3 of the off-season renewal process is to reinvent your training and climbing.

After the off-season break, it’s essential that you return to climbing with a resolve to mix things up. First, plan a ten-week training cycle that incorporates new exercises and climbing drills. One of the biggest mistakes climbers make is to engage in the same training program year after year—which, of course, means they are limiting themselves and perhaps even locking into a performance plateau. Effective training must be progressive and ever-changing. Check out my book Training for Climbing for some fresh training and practice strategies that will help take your game to the next level.

It’s also important to somewhat reinvent your MO as a climber—that is to climb with some new partners, visit new crags, and possibly even shift your primary climbing preference for a while (that is, to switch from bouldering to sport climbing, or from sport to trad climbing, or whatever). This strategy of changing things up every few months—both your training and climbing focus—is one of the biggest secrets to long-term motivation and improvement.

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