LHW: One problem that I have seen is when you have a young wrestler going against an older one. For example: a 9th grader vs. a 12th grader. Are Andrew and Dylan better able to shake off a loss to a more mature wrestler than they are to an opponent who is the same age as they are, or is every loss approached the same? How much did the boys absorb from the experience of competing in a senior event in Canada? Would you encourage other parents of phenoms to explore such opportunities?
Mr. Alton: Every loss is the same, it hurts bad and you learn from it when you are ready to acknowledge the loss. No they don’t care who they wrestle, but they do care who they lose too, no matter what level they are at.
In Canada they learned quickly how to slow down the match while being aggressive and only shoot when the shot was there. They spent time watching the event before they wrestled, so they were able to see a few matches before going out and wrestling at the international level. I think they adapted very well. They knew not to expend or waste too much energy early in the match. When they scrambled at that level they were tested physically, emotionally, mentally and most of all cardio vascularly. The wrestlers from Russia were really seasoned and knew when to shoot and score defensively. No I don’t think many wrestlers are ready for the senior level, but after watching my sons in Vegas this year at the FILA Juniors I felt confident they could compete.
LHW Now that your boys are older, what are your thoughts on training: Do you find that it is clinics, live wrestling, drilling, or participation in national events that serves as the most effective method of cultivating talent?
Mr. Alton: They have their training habits now. Sometimes they differ between the two, but they keep each other going. I think a weekend with the right people always helps. But it is drilling that is key. Drilling effectively is what matters the most. You ask any top level wrestler and I bet that is the answer you hear. When they train on a weekend with a group of other wrestlers, it is always the drill session that is the toughest. If the first session is technique, the second is drill and the third is live – the drill session should be the hardest when done correctly. It all leads up to the competition. So when preparing; I would say go to a weekend or one day clinic, do some live wrestling and most important drilling hard. These are all an essential part of the preparation. But competition is like a day off. If you have prepared properly then you should really be looking forward to the event of competing. However they are all necessary to cultivate talent and if you don’t compete; how do you know what works best with your training methods for competing.