Benefits of Offseason Wrestling
Offseason wrestling is where you will make the most gains. It is simple math. The offseason is about 8 months long and a wrestling season is about 4 months. If you are wrestling for those 8 months you will learn more than you can in 4 months.
I always thought of offseason wrestling as the time when you learn new moves and techniques. You can take more chances with your wrestling and your diet. You can push yourself a lot further during offseason wrestling because an injury, while still bad is not as catastrophic as it would be during the season. You can experiment with how you feel during a match after you eat different kinds of foods or after drinking a variety of energy drinks. And you can figure out what wrestling warm-up will be the best for you.
During the season your job is to sharpen the skills you learned in the offseason as much as you can.
Drawbacks of Offseason Wrestling
The drawbacks of offseason wrestling are the same as wrestling after high school. Where you can do it? Most wrestling coaches try to have open mats for their wrestlers throughout the offseason. But if you are in high school the main place you will probably be able to get on a mat is at a wrestling school. That costs money. You could also go to a wrestling camp as part of your offseason wrestling. I cannot personally speak to this as I never went to a wrestling camp, although I have heard some great things from wrestlers who have gone. Again that costs money.
My advice on Offseason Wrestling
Wrestle as much as you can in the offseason. If there are open mats in your area always go to them. If you have a choice between a gym workout and time on a wrestling mat it should be a no brainer. There are gyms everywhere and you can always make up that kind of workout.
Another option is what I actually did my senior season of high school. I knew my dad was willing to help me try to reach my goals and so I asked him if he could buy me a wrestling mat. It was a small one, just 12 by 12 but it was big enough for two people. I got a lot of use out of that mat in the year I had it.
It would have been a much better family investment if I had younger brothers that wrestled as well. I still say, if you have a place to put the mat and you can afford it, even if it’s with some teammates, then it is a good option. While a good coach is important and that is what a wrestling school provides, the number one way to become a better wrestler is to wrestle. Whereas a mat is a onetime purchase and then it’s yours, a wrestling school is a monthly or yearly fee. Both have their high points and you have to decide what is the best for you.
I can say this, for most people, if you want to be a great wrestler you have to partake in offseason wrestling.