Training: Studying Video Tape

If a move works at the highest levels of competition, it will probably work for you. Take the time to acquire and study footage of our nations and worlds best wrestlers. I videotaped the 1984 Olympics on my home VCR and have been copying and buying tape of world class competition ever since. I have a huge library of videos from the NCAA, World and Olympic Championships from 1984 to the present. I like to study high school state championships too, because the kids are often more creative and aggressive than the more experienced wrestlers. If you are a high school coach, you should study your state/provincial and semi finals tapes to see what the best wrestlers and teams in your state/province are doing to be successful.

My friend, Donn Ernst, was on the U.S. National Team Coaching staff throughout the 1970's. He videotaped our U.S. Team, as well as the Russians and other top wrestlers at the World Championships throughout the 1970's and 1980's, and he is still an avid collector of wrestling video today. Donn takes the time to edit and organize his video library carefully and has shared much of his collection with me. I call him my video guru. His nightly video sessions at my summer camp are very popular and effective learning sessions.

A couple other video gurus, Dave Bennett and Gordon Connell, have filmed and edited some great stuff over the years. Gordon made two hour tapes of Sergei Beloglazov and Ardsen Fadzaev competing in the World and Olympic Championships during the late 80's and 90's. I studied these films over a dozen times and learned a new move every time. These two Russians had an array of very precise techniques, and I have shared many of them with my students over the years. Gordon has recently been making edited highlights of the NCAA Championships, while Dave has been editing tapes of World Championships for USA Wrestling. I have purchased many of these tapes and found them to be valuable learning tools for me and my students.

It is very important to stay current. Wrestling styles, techniques and strategies slowly change over time. If you do not keep up, you may get left behind. Look at the evolution that has occurred in football over time, with coaches creating new offenses and defenses to get an edge on their opposition. Wrestling is similar. You need to work new techniques into your team's program or individual style over time if you wish to stay on top of your game.

Not only is watching live matches and highlight clips educational, it is also motivational and entertaining. When I coached with Russ Hellickson at Ohio State, he made a highlight tape of our team annually and set it to some motivational music. My students get pumped when I show them portions of these tapes before practice. I also have a personal highlight tape from my career at Penn State. I edited live clips of the moves I show on my instructional videos, and put them on a separate highlight video. I use this as a learning tool, showing my wrestlers the technique I am going to teach on film before showing it to them in person. My wrestlers get a kick out of watching me wrestle, and it serves as a great learning tool.

I wish I had known the different techniques I know now during my competitive career. I started to realize how valuable of a learning tool video could be early in college. Unfortunately, I was so busy with school work and physical training that I barely had enough time to watch my own tapes, let alone scout others, study instructional videos or review tapes of NCAA's. While coaching at Ohio State and Penn State I was able to make the time to study video extensively, and now that I run my own program I am able to make the time to review video tape extensively. Video tape has expanded my knowledge tremendously over the past decade and I know it has help make me a much better coach. Take the time to study those tapes. It well be well worth your effort and you and your students will reap the rewards.

It does not matter who believes in you as long as you believe in yourself. If you wish to excel in wrestling or life, you must have meaningful, concrete goals and you must believe deep down inside that you will achieve them. I encourage you to make a commitment to achieving your highest goals today!

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About The Author
Ken Chertow is a former NCAA All American and US Olympian. He regularly conducts wrestling camps throughout the USA.
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