Monday, January 4, 2010

Greetings from The US Olympic Training Center

Well i had about forty text messages to my cell phone yesterday from delayed, rerouted, and just generally annoyed athletes. The majority of our Canadian contingent have arrived to Colorado Springs, most with luggage... so all is good!

Being at higher altitudes (coupled with the remnants of the Christmas break) the initial couple of days here came be a little challenging. Last night we had about 15 girls go through a light workout to get everyone adjusting from the travel and start the process of getting use to a different environment. We had two rousing games of soccor followed by about 30 minutes on the mats. No sparing but just a good opportunity to sweat and fill the lungs with the colorado air. Most seemed in very good spirits and ready to get going with the camp.

For those who dont know the facilities at the OTC are tremendous... The dorms are older yet fine. The food is outstanding and the training facilities are very good. We have 4 international sized mats set up in a gymnasium for our camp. This morning over twenty Canadians took part in the first official practice of the camp. Going through the planned schedule with Coach Steiner the week is intended to have a good amount of sparring and situational wrestling between our two country's.

Practice at 9:00am Terry set the stage for a challenging camp first thing this morning with a fairly lengthy and intense warm up. Our athletes split into partners and had a chance to drill for about 10 minutes with the focus on Ground wrestling. This was individual time to work that was not directed toward a specific technique or series. Following the drilling athletes were divided up by weight classes and began ground scrimmage. The same partner wrestled top then bottom for a number of 30 second periods (some open scrimmage, some situational scrimmage, starting in a specific position... eg. Gut wrench grip, leg ride on, lace position etc.) everyone was on the mat at once. This sequence was followed for three different sets of partners. Which ended up taking about 25-30 minutes of ground wrestling. After the scrimmage, practice ended with some directed drilling which emphasised a couple of the ground situations the coaches had observed.

We finished up with a short meeting for the Canadian Team. The key messages emphasised a need to be really proactive and take care of our bodies through-out the week (eg. staying hydrated at this elevated altitude, icing, etc) Also a need to be a strong and supportive TEAM CANADA, to push each other mentally and pick each other up when bodies get sore and things get tough. We also need to focus on the process of getting better and not just on winning. Everyone will face partners over the week who will get the better of them at some time, in some situation. There are lots of strong wrestlers here. Getting too caught up in winning and lossing will cause them to panic. It is just like losing a round in a tough match. You must refoccus and make the necessary adjustments the next time. We want to make wrestling happen and not just play it safe. Lets hope we can remember these things when the time comes!

By the afternoon session at 4:30 almost all of our 25+ Canadian Women will be here. It will be another scrimmage focussed session. It will include some longer 10 minute goes and some situational drills. This time, standing wrestling. Coach Calder and Sissaouri are now here, along with myself and Coach Dan McGee from Regina. I am really looking forward to seeing our girls get challenged and respond in the week ahead!

Wish us luck!!!

I have asked some athletes to give their perspective on the camp as well. So after the evening session it will not be me, but one of our wrestlers whom will write the next entry...

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