On Thursday, December 29, about 20 coaches gathered at Brooklyn Technical High School to take part in the Beat the Streets seminar for coaches. Executive Director Brendan Buckley took to the mat in Brooklyn Tech’s wrestling room, demonstrating techniques from the top position as well as ways drills for the coaches to instruct their kids. The coaches put on their shoes and had a hands-on experience trying out the techniques as they were explained!
Jaime Gray, the BTS training center coordinator, found the seminar had a lot to teach. “I learned quite a bit from Buck today.” He observed that many of the coaches in attendance were associated with strong wrestling programs, no doubt because they took advantage of opportunities such as this to improve their coaching technique.
Rob Koll, the Head Coach from Cornell University, addressed the coaches by conference call about the importance of having a system while coaching. He talked about the attributes that kids look for in their coaches to build their confidence, as well as other ways to get the best out of his wrestlers.
Coach Adam Albert from Uncommon Charter thought that the seminar was a great experience. “This helped me re-learn a lot and shared the little secrets that help you get into the moves.” Albert, who wrestled in Division I at Hofstra, has been coaching on and off since 2000 and joined Uncommon last year. While he’s got a depth of experience, he still found Koll’s discussion to hold valuable lessons. “He talked about building a relationship with the team and ways to go about doing it: have a system and recognize that each kid is different, and you’ll need to have different expectations about abilities.”
Albert’s season is a challenging one -- with such a new program, there’s a lot of turnover. “It’s all about getting them to love the sport, then implementing a system. Many kids aren’t used to ‘the grind,’ so we have to develop this before reforming their habits.”
Robert Antioco from Erasmus also said that the seminar was great. “Listening to Koll made me laugh because I used to have the ‘young coach’ mindset with inflexible rules and a worse attitude.” He found that learning little technique tricks helped change his perspective about a number of moves, and the key takeaway was the importance of creating a system. “I never thought of ways and behaviors as a system, but you have to create a habit and make it second nature to the team.” He’s looking forward to implementing these lessons for his team as it faces some tough competition soon. He expects the team to benefit and looks forward to a promising season.
Liju Abraham, who is in his first year as the head coach at Brooklyn Tech, described the seminar simply: “Excellent.” He was impressed with Buckley’s coaching during the technique demonstration, and found that a new perspective, accompanied by breakdowns and explanations, was a solid aid to his education as a coach.
One of the key takeaways for Abraham was the “dog training” metaphor employed by Koll -- as the owner of dogs, he knows the struggle of deciding when to be “stern or not.”
“This way of looking at things helps explains habits and good behaviors.”
Abraham is also optimistic about his team’s season, noting that they have not hit their full potential yet. “The kids are doing as they should. I hope we peak at the mountaintop.”