“Summer wrestling makes winter champions.” It’s a familiar saying that we often hear and see in the form of memes on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. It’s a philosophy that successful coaches share throughout the country, knowing its utter importance towards making the goals and aspirations of their wrestlers a reality. The positive here is that more and more schools are developing summer wrestling programs and more and more wrestlers are getting involved. Coaches that do not have their own summer wrestling programs, are sending their kids to schools that do. The problem here is that while these programs involve freestyle wrestling, the same cannot be said for the style of Greco-Roman. While a passion, love and value of importance has been placed on freestyle in this country, it is not the same for Greco-Roman.
Takedownwrestle media recently sat down and spoke with one of the United States’ most successful Greco-Roman stars, 2016 Olympian Jesse Thielke to get his opinion on why.
“Scholarships.” Thielke said. “Coaches want their kids getting scholarships and freestyle wrestling is much closer in style to folkstyle, than Greco-Roman is.”
Takedownwrestle and Thielke also discussed how many coaches have a negative attitude towards upper body wrestling..
”Coaches don’t want their kids relying on throws.” Thielke commented. “But they have to realize how many other skills a wrestler can learn from Greco-Roman. Two on one situations, developing and perfecting underhooks. Even if you don’t want your wrestlers wrestling upper-body, it’s important to learn it so they can counter throws and know what to do in those type of situations.”
Thielke also pointed out how Greco-Roman can help make one better at freestyle.
“Doing Greco-Roman will help to tremendously build and improve your par terre skills. Wrestlers can learn and benefit so much from all three styles of wrestling.” Thielke added. “There are skills that apply to both folkstyle and freestyle that you can learn from Greco-Roman and coaches need to be more open to that.”
Perhaps coaches and wrestlers alike may even find that like Thielke they are most successful at and passionate about Greco-Roman.
“It takes time to learn it.” Thielke admits. “But once you do it provides you with valuable knowledge and abilities you wouldn’t otherwise have.”
The growth and popularity of folkstyle wrestling continues to improve in this country, as does the growth and popularity of freestyle. It’s to our benefit if we work to do the same for Greco-Roman.