5 things every wrestler learns freshman year of college
by Dan Seidenberg
Editor: Rebecca Sarnicola
The transition from high school to college wrestling; some guys continue to dominate just like they did in high school, some don’t pan out the way everyone thought they would, and then there’s the coach’s dream come true-the walk on that no one has ever heard of becomes a hammer out of nowhere. Regardless of what category you fall into there are five things every wrestler learns in their first year of college, and the sooner you come to terms with them the better.
5. The difference between being hurt and injured If you’re wrestling at the college level chances are you were pretty good in high school, but in college every match is a grind including practice. As a result, you are going to get banged up a lot and you need to get used to It, because no one is ever 100%. So the difference between being hurt and injured is that, well actually it doesn’t matter what the difference is, because you’re most likely going to have to wrestle either way. Get tough.
4. Choosing bottom is not a free point Just like that two minute first period you took for granted in high school, gone are the days where you could relax on bottom and get out at your earliest convenience. Matches are often decided by a riding time point now. If you take bottom as an opportunity to catch your breath your opponent will quickly take it away from you, and proceed to ride you for 37 minutes. If you want to get out you better hustle.
3. One hour weigh-ins are not to be taken lightly, in other words put the meatball sub down. In high school two hour weigh-ins meant plenty of time for a nice nap after stepping on the scale, but not before scarfing down your favorite artery clogging sandwich that you washed down with a 64 oz. Gatorade (okay maybe that was just me). Unfortunately, once you get to college you’re faced with the harsh reality of one hour weigh-ins, and if you don’t eat right you’ll experience a mean case of indigestion and your nap will take place on the mat…during your match…while your opponent conveniently sinks in the tightest tight waist of your life.
2. No the Athletic Trainer is not checking you out; skin check is just taken that seriously in college. At every high school tournament there is at least one wrestler with something on their skin that has everyone asking themselves “how in the world did that kid pass skin check?” That is usually no longer the case in college. During your first skin check you’ll feel more violated than going through airport security, but you get used to it. Skin Funk is nothing to mess around with, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are doing everything possible to minimize your risk and exposure. Make sure you wipe down or spray your body with an FDA approved Body Wipe or Spray. Matguard is very effective and endorsed by USA Wrestling. Use it every day, then shower as quickly as you can after practice or matches. Protect Yourself!
1. NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU DID IN HIGH SCHOOL!!! Hopefully, if you’re reading this it is not too late. Bringing up your high school accomplishments is like wearing your varsity jacket to a frat party, you just don’t do it. Oh, but you’re a four time state place winner? You beat who in the state finals? I hate to break it to you, nobody cares! Not your coach, not your teammates, and certainly not the girl down the hall of your dorm. When you get to college everyone is good. This is probably the first and hands down most important thing you will learn as a freshman both in wrestling and college in general. Do yourself a favor, leave your high school credentials behind you along with that varsity jacket, and start making a name for yourself all over again.
Wrestling at the college level is no easy task; just making the team is an impressive accomplishment in itself. However, it is a different environment and if you have high expectations for yourself you need to adapt. These are just 5 things you learn as you make the transition, what would you add to the list?
About the author: Dan Seidenberg is a 2014 Rutgers University graduate where he wrestled for 5 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on his latest posts and articles.