Wednesday, December 10, 2003

It's about execution

I've got a great idea. Before you go to a calculus class, spend an hour or so going over multiplication tables. Will that help you learn?

This is all about the new winningest coach in college football history and his theories on practice.

I'm with him 100%. In my high school wrestling days we were tormented with all sorts of conditioning drills before we started practice. One memorable day we ran 7.5 miles up and down hills in Central FL heat before we even started. I don't want to know how many times I ran up and down stairs in bleachers or a stadium. Innumerable calisthenics, shuttle runs, it just never stopped. Then maybe while we rested the coach would show us a move while we were still sucking wind.

Hey, there's no question that conditioning is vital in wrestling. In high school at the time it was 6 minutes, but in a tough match it's about as concentrated a 6 minutes of activity you'll ever experience with one person. At that skill level often the victor was merely the better conditioned one.

But conditioning can happen any time. And conditioning that happens during the activity is the most relevant conditioning. So IMO we ought to have been slaving away drilling more on moves - it could have been just as grueling if not downright masochistic, but we would have been learning and polishing moves the whole time. If someone found out they were losing late because they were out of gas, then they could take care of that on their own time.

I'll never claim I would have been a better coach than the one I had - he'd forgotten more than I'll ever suspect about wrestling. But there's no substitute for victory - I was one of the few winners he ever had, and after my senior year he was gone.

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