What level is your student? Great coaches assess right.

What level is your student? Great coaches assess right.

Posted on June 6, 2017 in

  What level is your student? Good coaches assess right.

By Jeffrey Marsh, The Wrestling Coach


All of your students have deferent levels of fitness and expectation, beginners will step into your practice after not having worked out in 2+ years or it could be their first day as an athlete. Pros step on the mat looking for competitive training partners and a competitive environment. Some students want a workout with high level technical instruction, they want to learn.

All great coaches understand their students current level (both fitness, skill, and often overlooked; their mindset ). Great coaches develop their students to the next level, they ready them for a higher level of intensity by presenting challenges they know are just out of their current grasp. They follow up those challenges with reinforcement – “close, but not yet.”

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Often I see programs where a new student steps on the mat in a beginner level and the intensity is too high, they are struck with a feeling of being overmatched; they feel they are in over their head. A feeling of hopelessness an ensure. They have a high likelihood of quitting here. They have yet to develop the mental strength to know how physically hard they can push themselves. Great coaches understand and see this, they teach to this level in order to progress their student to the next. Great coaches develop a passion for the craft within their students, perseverance will follow.

Hoboken Sharks Kids program was able to grow from 23 kids to 85 kid in 3 years only when we started coaching to three levels. New student retention went from about 50% for first day students to 85%. 85% of kids coming in felt they could grow in the program, our job in level 1 is simply to develop passion for wrestling while getting them familiar with base skill sets. Once they’re ready, they get pumped to Level 2 where the intensity and expectation for performance is increased. This bump may happen in 2 weeks or 2 years.

If you clearly define the way you coach the levels in your program you will setup a tiered system for success. More of your students will train longer, less students will quit after first class, and more students will feel a sense of pride when they get bumped up a level. Pride of accomplishment will have them working harder to reach the next level, it will become a mid-level goal to strive for. Without appropriately coached levels you athletes will slowly drift away from the sport.

The Little Wrestler that could

Rohi, The Little Wrestler, became a viral sensation on the internet for his ‘Growth Mindset.’ Find his series on YouTube here. Rohi has passion for the sport.

The easiest comparison for Levels in American sports is in football. Levels include; Pee-wee, 7th grade, 8th grade, Freshman Team, JV, Varsity, College, Professional. 8 sets of clearly defined levels to strive to toward; each level having ‘cuts.’ Each level provides the kids a mid level goal to work towards. Gymnastics is similar. Levels relate directly to skill sets. Levels in both football and gymnastics are coached appropriately as related to this.

Continue to create an environment where beginners feel welcome and as though they are setup for success, a place to develop their passion for your sport. Create an environment where intermediate students can advance to advanced classes and introduce appropriate levels of competition.

– Jeff Marsh, The Wrestling Coach

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