Athlete Development Model
~ As Per USA Wrestling National Coaches Education Program ~
Early years of learning wrestling are split into two groups; 5-8 and 9-12 year old.
It's important to focus on fun through drills games and activities that drive agility, balance and coordination.
You shouldn't practice longer than 3 hours weekly for 5-8 year olds, and 9-12 should practice no longer than 7.5 hours weekly. Typically you'll have 2-3 practices weekly until the later group where you'll start to practice 4-5 times weekly, as well as a 6th day for competition sometimes.
Early on the focus is on long-term learning over winning immediately, as well as the rules and respecting opponents and coaches. Understand that mistakes happen and that young children are just looking to make you happy in their early years. Encourage when those mistakes happen and allow them to learn rather than feel failure as a child.
The next athlete phase is the 13-17 age group, defined as late childhood and the 18-22 group defined as the young adult group. The focus in the 13-17 age group is for understanding wrestling specific strategies, focusing through a full practice and increasing level of competition.
The 18-22 age group's focus is more towards self-motivation, complex coordination and movement training, as well as solid technique in every position. Athletes have learned to take criticism as feedback to better themselves and they understand diet and training planning.
13-17 age group athletes will practice for 5-10 sessions weekly with rest between, 90-120 minute sessions. 18-22 age group should be practicing 10-15 times weekly varying intensity.
World Class athletes are seasoned professionals of a craft, they've likely dedicated their entire life for the abilities they have. That's the 22+ age group. Focus is on speed, strength, endurance, power, and flexibility.
Defined style for competition and under controlled weight management. This point is where you achieve mastery of technique with understanding of advanced concepts.
Practices should be 1.5-2.5 hours long with a key recovery plan that allows multiple daily training and practice sessions every week. Testing and tracking of results will be a good skill by now, as well as knowing what's working and what's not.
There are 10 key factors for athlete development:
- Continuous Improvement
- Intellectual/Emotional/Moral development
- Excellence Takes Time
- System Alignment
- Physical Literacy
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