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Old 06-04-2009
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Danny Burk Danny Burk is offline
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World Team Trials

I am going to take a short break from the interviews this week to blog about the World Team Trials last weekend in Council Bluffs, IA.

I thought the overall experience was pretty good - the arena was not huge, but it was never at capacity, so I thought it made for a decent venue. It was within walking distance of multiple hotels, places to eat, and a casino, which makes it very accessible for most people. Last year at the Olympic Trials in Vegas, the arena was a few miles off the strip and away from most places to eat/hang out, so therefore it was hard to get to and from.

It was nice to see some of the Illinois kids competing, although I wish we had more involvment from a "post college" standpoint. Mike Poeta had qualified but was not there (I hope he is not injured....). Mike Tamillow competed and looked good for the most part. He seems to be growing into the weight class fairly well. Other than that, I think the rest of our competitors were either in women's freestyle or greco.

The new greco rules are kind of weird to me - I cant decide if I like them or not. In each period, only one guy gets to go on top, which I am not sure if I like that. Also, they are on their feet for 90 seconds - I would like to see them on their feet longer, but then again, in those 90 seconds, generally speaking, very few moves are actually attempted in most matches. So, perhaps last year, with the 60 seconds on their feet, then each guy getting 30 on top was better for actual action in the match. I wish they had a way for the greco guys to become more active on their feet, because when they are, it is crazy fun to watch.

Speaking of action, or a lack thereof - I am starting to see the problem the US freestyle guys have with competing on the international level. They simply do not attack enough and rely on either defense/pushouts or winning the ball grab to win matches and advance in competitions. This may work against other US guys, and perhaps it might work once or twice internationally, but this is not the style our guys need to be using to be able to be the best in the world. I am sorry, perhaps this is a little too critical, but it bothers me. We have some great athletes in our country but they are not using their abilities in matches.

Clearly, they train hard and have a desire to win that is unmatched by most others. But, I think they are going about it the wrong way. Standing around, almost straight up and down, and handfighting is not the way freestyle wrestling is supposed to be wrestled. Plus, when handfighting, they are rarely looking to get into a position to score, especially with their hips. I am no genious, but in order to execute a solid takedown, your hips have to be under you for the most part. Therefore, standing around with ur hands straight out and your hips back is not going to help you get into a position to score offensively. Plus, when you are not handfighting with a purpose, the whole "wear the guy out" thing can not come into play.

I wish there was a way to fix this issue, but with the rules, there really is not. Passivity is almost never called, because of the issue with "fixing matches". I talked about this on a thread earlier this morning. Fixing wrestling matches was a fairly common thing back in the 80's and 90's, usually based on politics. Referees had much more control of the outcome of the match, because they could make "judgement" calls, like passivity, to put one wrestler in a vulnerable position. They have since taken almost all judgement out of wrestling internationally, with the 2nd and 3rd officials and the video review committee, and therefore, there is hardly any way to make these guys attack. So, they can sit back and run away without penalty, as long as they stay in bounds and make contact on a regular basis.

I think it is great that we have 7 athletes going to Denmark to represent our country in freestyle wrestling. But, the way some of them got there leaves a lot to be desired. And, even worse, the people they beat in order to win the trials have a lot to work on as far as attacking goes. Somehow, we need to find a way to be more offensive on the international level, because the "defensive" mentality is beginning to trickle down into all levels of wrestling. Now, obviously I understand a good wrestler needs great defense. But at the same time, in order to be a great wrestler, you need to attack and look to score points the entire match. You can win matches against guys in the US by being defensive and not doing much, and maybe getting a "ball grab" here or there. But, that is not going to work consistently on the world level, and isnt that what we are trying to accomplish?

A fine example of this is Jake Herbert. I dont know how Jake will do on the world level this year, but at least he is going to give himself a chance. His best of 3 final series was against Bryce Hasseman, who I have known for about 7 years, and whom I was rooting for (sorry Jake...). But their 3 matches were some of the best wrestling I saw all weekend. Herbert can attack and can score basically from any position, which makes it fun to watch and makes him very dangerous. Bryce, for his part, was the more defensive wrestler of the two, but he was still very offensive compared to most of the wrestlers in the tourny, especially if you look at the way he is constantly moving forward. In every one of his matches on Sunday, Bryce wore down his opponent by staying on him and keeping him moving. The guys could not just sit back and try to save energy to attack. Bryce wore them down and was then able to get to his offense and score points. This was rarely seen throughout the tourney - people who are active enough to wear their opponent down.

Anyway, Herbert/Hasseman had 3 battles, and Herbert came out on top. He wrestled well and deserved to win. But, in reality, I think our country would be better off having both of these guys competing at the World - the bad part is, they are at the same weight. Like I said - Herbert attacks with his offense and can score in almost all positions on his feet. Bryce is a little different in that he attacks with his hands and wears people down so that he can get to his offense later in the periods/match. But, at least both of these guys were constantly looking to score points and trying to win matches. That is the style our country needs. We need people who can attack in some form and wear people down in order to win matches.

Unfortunately, though, this style is not seen from many of the other competitiors, which makes the outlook for the US very bleak, on an overall level. I think Dlagnev at HWT has the style to compete internationally, and I think there are a few others who could make some noise this year and in the future. But, they need to keep attacking. Shawn Bunch is the most athletic guy to wrestle in America in many years, yet he falls into the "stand around" trap and doesnt get to his offense enough. The Paulson twins are great wrestlers and always seem to be trying to get people out of position, but they dont attack enough in matches. Same with Dustin Schlatter and Jake Varner. Somewhere along the way, these guys were led to believe that no offense is the way to go, and that is too bad.

I will give credit to Sean Bormet and the NYAC "club/team". The athletes that are coached by Sean seem to be very offensive, except for Hrovat, who has never been an offensive wrestler, but is still very dangerous with his "funk". But, Herbert, Tamillow, the Churella brothers, Howe, etc seem to be more offensive then most of the other athletes, and I think all of these guys, at least at some point, were coached by Bormet. So, clearly, he understands the need for some type of attack, and seems to be able to get his athletes to believe in the attacking style as well. But, we need this to be more widespread throughout our country.

The guys at IOWA have always been known to attack - but really, that is not true anymore. Metcalf, Mocco, Schwab, Zadick and others that train at IOWA are not offensive. Hasseman is by far the most offensive/attacking wrestler that is currently training at IOWA. And, the sad part is, most of these guys rarely handfight enough to wear their opponent down, which has been the IOWA style for years, and which is why Hasseman is so good. He gets guys tired as heck. I am sorry, but if you just stand there (lke Zadick, Mocco, Schwab, Metcalf etc) and dont do anything and never create a scoring chance, how can you walk off the mat upset or mad, unless it is at yourself?? If you are going to lose, lose by trying to score points. That seems to be Herbert's mindset - If I lose, I am going to lose by attacking. That is what made Herbert/Hasseman so great to watch - I am familiar with them both and they both went out to win matches....not to stand around and hope something happened. They dont get out of position to try to score, but they are constantly looking to attack in some form.

Again, I dont mean to be critical of our country, but something has to change. It should be quite obvious - 2004 Gold Medalist Cael Sanderson attacked all the time. 2008 Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo was very offensive. Perhaps these guys should figure it out - winning by being defensive is going to work in the US and will get you on the world/Olympic teams sometimes, but it is not going to win you matches in the long run. I am rooting for the US guys, obviously. But, I just dont see how we, as a country, can consistently compete with the best in the world with the current style of most of our guys.

Last edited by Danny Burk; 06-04-2009 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 06-04-2009
greenlantern greenlantern is offline
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I agree. I heard a intresting quote saying that as athletes we coach and play to the rules. To bad this is what there doing because other countries arent
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Old 06-04-2009
Greenskin Greenskin is offline
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To be successful at any style you have to adapt to the rules. If a more aggressive style is going to help you win then that's what needs to be done. Regardless, an attacking style is what makes the sport fun to watch. I've always felt that if you think somebody might be stalling....they probably are and should be penalized for it. The sport has always suffered from a fan appeal standpoint and that has hurt its popularity. I can't blame guys for being defensive if the rules don't penalize that style and you can wrestle that way and win....but you had better be able to adapt to what the judges or refs are looking for if you want to succeed at the highest levels.
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Old 06-04-2009
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MR TWISTER MR TWISTER is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Burk View Post
I am going to take a short break from the interviews this week to blog about the World Team Trials last weekend in Council Bluffs, IA.

I thought the overall experience was pretty good - the arena was not huge, but it was never at capacity, so I thought it made for a decent venue. It was within walking distance of multiple hotels, places to eat, and a casino, which makes it very accessible for most people. Last year at the Olympic Trials in Vegas, the arena was a few miles off the strip and away from most places to eat/hang out, so therefore it was hard to get to and from.

It was nice to see some of the Illinois kids competing, although I wish we had more involvment from a "post college" standpoint. Mike Poeta had qualified but was not there (I hope he is not injured....). Mike Tamillow competed and looked good for the most part. He seems to be growing into the weight class fairly well. Other than that, I think the rest of our competitors were either in women's freestyle or greco.

The new greco rules are kind of weird to me - I cant decide if I like them or not. In each period, only one guy gets to go on top, which I am not sure if I like that. Also, they are on their feet for 90 seconds - I would like to see them on their feet longer, but then again, in those 90 seconds, generally speaking, very few moves are actually attempted in most matches. So, perhaps last year, with the 60 seconds on their feet, then each guy getting 30 on top was better for actual action in the match. I wish they had a way for the greco guys to become more active on their feet, because when they are, it is crazy fun to watch.

Speaking of action, or a lack thereof - I am starting to see the problem the US freestyle guys have with competing on the international level. They simply do not attack enough and rely on either defense/pushouts or winning the ball grab to win matches and advance in competitions. This may work against other US guys, and perhaps it might work once or twice internationally, but this is not the style our guys need to be using to be able to be the best in the world. I am sorry, perhaps this is a little too critical, but it bothers me. We have some great athletes in our country but they are not using their abilities in matches.

Clearly, they train hard and have a desire to win that is unmatched by most others. But, I think they are going about it the wrong way. Standing around, almost straight up and down, and handfighting is not the way freestyle wrestling is supposed to be wrestled. Plus, when handfighting, they are rarely looking to get into a position to score, especially with their hips. I am no genious, but in order to execute a solid takedown, your hips have to be under you for the most part. Therefore, standing around with ur hands straight out and your hips back is not going to help you get into a position to score offensively. Plus, when you are not handfighting with a purpose, the whole "wear the guy out" thing can not come into play.

I wish there was a way to fix this issue, but with the rules, there really is not. Passivity is almost never called, because of the issue with "fixing matches". I talked about this on a thread earlier this morning. Fixing wrestling matches was a fairly common thing back in the 80's and 90's, usually based on politics. Referees had much more control of the outcome of the match, because they could make "judgement" calls, like passivity, to put one wrestler in a vulnerable position. They have since taken almost all judgement out of wrestling internationally, with the 2nd and 3rd officials and the video review committee, and therefore, there is hardly any way to make these guys attack. So, they can sit back and run away without penalty, as long as they stay in bounds and make contact on a regular basis.

I think it is great that we have 7 athletes going to Denmark to represent our country in freestyle wrestling. But, the way some of them got there leaves a lot to be desired. And, even worse, the people they beat in order to win the trials have a lot to work on as far as attacking goes. Somehow, we need to find a way to be more offensive on the international level, because the "defensive" mentality is beginning to trickle down into all levels of wrestling. Now, obviously I understand a good wrestler needs great defense. But at the same time, in order to be a great wrestler, you need to attack and look to score points the entire match. You can win matches against guys in the US by being defensive and not doing much, and maybe getting a "ball grab" here or there. But, that is not going to work consistently on the world level, and isnt that what we are trying to accomplish?

A fine example of this is Jake Herbert. I dont know how Jake will do on the world level this year, but at least he is going to give himself a chance. His best of 3 final series was against Bryce Hasseman, who I have known for about 7 years, and whom I was rooting for (sorry Jake...). But their 3 matches were some of the best wrestling I saw all weekend. Herbert can attack and can score basically from any position, which makes it fun to watch and makes him very dangerous. Bryce, for his part, was the more defensive wrestler of the two, but he was still very offensive compared to most of the wrestlers in the tourny, especially if you look at the way he is constantly moving forward. In every one of his matches on Sunday, Bryce wore down his opponent by staying on him and keeping him moving. The guys could not just sit back and try to save energy to attack. Bryce wore them down and was then able to get to his offense and score points. This was rarely seen throughout the tourney - people who are active enough to wear their opponent down.

Anyway, Herbert/Hasseman had 3 battles, and Herbert came out on top. He wrestled well and deserved to win. But, in reality, I think our country would be better off having both of these guys competing at the World - the bad part is, they are at the same weight. Like I said - Herbert attacks with his offense and can score in almost all positions on his feet. Bryce is a little different in that he attacks with his hands and wears people down so that he can get to his offense later in the periods/match. But, at least both of these guys were constantly looking to score points and trying to win matches. That is the style our country needs. We need people who can attack in some form and wear people down in order to win matches.

Unfortunately, though, this style is not seen from many of the other competitiors, which makes the outlook for the US very bleak, on an overall level. I think Dlagnev at HWT has the style to compete internationally, and I think there are a few others who could make some noise this year and in the future. But, they need to keep attacking. Shawn Bunch is the most athletic guy to wrestle in America in many years, yet he falls into the "stand around" trap and doesnt get to his offense enough. The Paulson twins are great wrestlers and always seem to be trying to get people out of position, but they dont attack enough in matches. Same with Dustin Schlatter and Jake Varner. Somewhere along the way, these guys were led to believe that no offense is the way to go, and that is too bad.

I will give credit to Sean Bormet and the NYAC "club/team". The athletes that are coached by Sean seem to be very offensive, except for Hrovat, who has never been an offensive wrestler, but is still very dangerous with his "funk". But, Herbert, Tamillow, the Churella brothers, Howe, etc seem to be more offensive then most of the other athletes, and I think all of these guys, at least at some point, were coached by Bormet. So, clearly, he understands the need for some type of attack, and seems to be able to get his athletes to believe in the attacking style as well. But, we need this to be more widespread throughout our country.

The guys at IOWA have always been known to attack - but really, that is not true anymore. Metcalf, Mocco, Schwab, Zadick and others that train at IOWA are not offensive. Hasseman is by far the most offensive/attacking wrestler that is currently training at IOWA. And, the sad part is, most of these guys rarely handfight enough to wear their opponent down, which has been the IOWA style for years, and which is why Hasseman is so good. He gets guys tired as heck. I am sorry, but if you just stand there (lke Zadick, Mocco, Schwab, Metcalf etc) and dont do anything and never create a scoring chance, how can you walk off the mat upset or mad, unless it is at yourself?? If you are going to lose, lose by trying to score points. That seems to be Herbert's mindset - If I lose, I am going to lose by attacking. That is what made Herbert/Hasseman so great to watch - I am familiar with them both and they both went out to win matches....not to stand around and hope something happened. They dont get out of position to try to score, but they are constantly looking to attack in some form.

Again, I dont mean to be critical of our country, but something has to change. It should be quite obvious - 2004 Gold Medalist Cael Sanderson attacked all the time. 2008 Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo was very offensive. Perhaps these guys should figure it out - winning by being defensive is going to work in the US and will get you on the world/Olympic teams sometimes, but it is not going to win you matches in the long run. I am rooting for the US guys, obviously. But, I just dont see how we, as a country, can consistently compete with the best in the world with the current style of most of our guys.
Man Danny...talk about hitting the head on the nail...you nailed several of them...get on the offense...open up...it works
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Old 06-04-2009
freight-train freight-train is offline
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Originally Posted by MR TWISTER View Post
Man Danny...talk about hitting the head on the nail...you nailed several of them...get on the offense...open up...it works
I know everyone is frustrated with the freestyle wrestling that was seen in Council Bluffs and comparing it to the Russians who can open up and hit amazing, explosive techniques; however, it is more than just "opening up," going balls to the wall, and trying moves whenever possible. Gone are the days of Randy Lewis when you could give up 5 pts and still come back to win the match. When Russian and foreign competitors wrestle, they are just as cautious as our guys and constantly own great position, but they are trained to hit a single, explosive move when the opportunity opens up. "Opening up" is a quick attitude fix, but as a country, we need to change the way we train and work on exposing our opponents mistakes, improving our timing, and attacking when the opportunity is there.
If you know anyone who has been trained by an Eastern European coach, they will tell you that drilling is not only about repetitions, but perfect and explosive repetitions. Sometimes only doing 4 or 5 instead of 30... I feel as though drilling in our folkstyle system is way too often used as a tool for conditioning instead of a way too build perfect technique.
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Old 06-05-2009
Greenskin Greenskin is offline
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I know everyone is frustrated with the freestyle wrestling that was seen in Council Bluffs and comparing it to the Russians who can open up and hit amazing, explosive techniques; however, it is more than just "opening up," going balls to the wall, and trying moves whenever possible. Gone are the days of Randy Lewis when you could give up 5 pts and still come back to win the match. When Russian and foreign competitors wrestle, they are just as cautious as our guys and constantly own great position, but they are trained to hit a single, explosive move when the opportunity opens up. "Opening up" is a quick attitude fix, but as a country, we need to change the way we train and work on exposing our opponents mistakes, improving our timing, and attacking when the opportunity is there.
If you know anyone who has been trained by an Eastern European coach, they will tell you that drilling is not only about repetitions, but perfect and explosive repetitions. Sometimes only doing 4 or 5 instead of 30... I feel as though drilling in our folkstyle system is way too often used as a tool for conditioning instead of a way too build perfect technique.
I agree. As a coach I would much rather see 3 perfect executions in a drill than 10 that were only average.
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Old 06-05-2009
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Danny Burk Danny Burk is offline
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Originally Posted by freight-train View Post
I know everyone is frustrated with the freestyle wrestling that was seen in Council Bluffs and comparing it to the Russians who can open up and hit amazing, explosive techniques; however, it is more than just "opening up," going balls to the wall, and trying moves whenever possible. Gone are the days of Randy Lewis when you could give up 5 pts and still come back to win the match. When Russian and foreign competitors wrestle, they are just as cautious as our guys and constantly own great position, but they are trained to hit a single, explosive move when the opportunity opens up. "Opening up" is a quick attitude fix, but as a country, we need to change the way we train and work on exposing our opponents mistakes, improving our timing, and attacking when the opportunity is there.
If you know anyone who has been trained by an Eastern European coach, they will tell you that drilling is not only about repetitions, but perfect and explosive repetitions. Sometimes only doing 4 or 5 instead of 30... I feel as though drilling in our folkstyle system is way too often used as a tool for conditioning instead of a way too build perfect technique.
I agree with you. We need to, as a country, maintain a focus of being able to explode into a scoring position when the chance opens up. Too many times, our guys are sitting back and when their is an opportunity, they are not in position to attack.
By "open up" I certainly do not mean to put yourself out of position trying to create too much action. But, create something! Get into positions to score, because otherwise, it is very difficult to score.
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Old 06-05-2009
Wic407 Wic407 is offline
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Let's see how our younger wrestlers do against Russians

at the Elmhurst dual on June 10th. These kids are Bormet trained and it should be interesting. I heard they will be practicing with them for a week or so.
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Old 06-07-2009
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maroondude101 maroondude101 is offline
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i agree u.s. needs 2 b more offensive but lets c wat u did compared 2 metcalf,schwab,zadick,n mocco.
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Old 06-10-2009
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After watching the debacle in Bejing on webcast I pretty much said the same thing and I would say that Kerry Boumans (a coach at Overtime) would agree 100%. Watching Askren lose that match to a nobody Cuban was extremely painful, especially the way he lost. Absolutely NO offense. Now I would have to disagree about Mocco; I think he demonstrates excellent technique and wrestles agressively (for a heavyweight). That 5-point move against the Iranian (basically a judo throw) should have been his score. Yes, he still has a lot of room for improvement but his effort in Bejing was one of the few worth mentioning. It's a shame they couldn't all have brought it like Cejudo did.
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