For wrestlers, practice means maximum effort and lots of sweat

September 16, 2011 — by Evaline Ju

Wrestling is no simple tangle of arms and legs.

Wrestling is no simple tangle of arms and legs.

The sport involves a large amount of both mental and physical toughness, aspects that wrestlers must practice over and over again to gain the necessary endurance.

“Whether it’s [in practice or in a competition],” senior Connor Mullaney said, “wrestling is always the hardest part of practice since it involves every muscle of your body and all of your energy if the person you wrestle gives you a good challenge.”

A normal practice session lasts about two hours, beginning with gymnastics, including handsprings and cartwheels, yoga and stretching as a warm-up. Sometimes the team members also do plyometrics, exercises that include fast movements, such as jumps.

“[Plyometrics] aren’t fun at all, but they’re good for mental strengthening,” Mullaney said.

Practices also include drilling and techniques. The team works on handfighting and takedowns, a series of moves to throw an opponent off balance and bring him to the ground.

“The most difficult drills are the timed ones where you try to get the most amount of takedowns in a given time,” junior Henry Wei said.

New techniques are introduced during a practice, and then team members pair up to practice a move with another. Toward the end of practice, the members wrestle live with each other. A drill called “Iron Man” pits one wrestler against many opponents, and the wrestlers rotate to give each person a chance to be the “Iron Man.”

“Most of the drilling is pretty intense,” said history teacher Kirk Abe, who was the wrestling team’s head coach until last year when coach Joe Pele took over. “It is pushing yourself really hard for short bursts. The longer you do short intense parts, the better.”

Practices end with conditioning and warm-downs.

In one practice, Wei recalled, the team did not drill but did plyometrics, sprints and push-ups, for an hour and a half.

Fortunately, the team has lighter practices before tournaments and matches. The coach answers questions and the wrestlers go over moves and do some light drilling.

Thanks to the difficult practices, Wei feels that he has become mentally and physically stronger and recommends people to try the sport. Wei says he didn’t know if he would enjoy it when he first started.

“Actually one of my friends convinced me to do try [wrestling] with him, but here I am today still doing it,” he said.

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