In the wrestling entertainment business, there’s only one Hulk. But in the real sport of wrestling, thousands of high school athletes are looking to score on the mat and gain the attention of college recruiters.
The only way to rack up points on the mat is by working on your technique with fundamental moves that focus on your ability to control your movement around an opponent. According to the University of Michigan’s assistant wrestling coach Mike Kulczycki, the best way to develop these techniques and positions is to drill them every day.
“All wrestlers should have a keen sense of the basic, fundamental moves,” Kulczycki says. “From a beginner to the most advanced wrestler, drilling is always the most important part of any wrestler’s progression.
“Wrestling is a sport in which one wrestler may execute one move one way and be successful, and another wrestler may have another technique or hold they prefer to use.”
That is why the Wolverines drill on their own with a partner for 30 to 45 minutes once a week—depending on the time of year—in order to perfect their own wrestling styles. The training sequence is broken down into three parts. They spend 10 to 15 minutes on their feet using their favorite attack moves, followed by 10 minutes of work on escapes and reversals, and finish with 10 to 15 minutes working on pinning combinations.
“This ultimately gives our athletes the ability to react through their muscle memory,” Kulczycki says. There are no set plays in wrestling, and anything can happen, which makes the Wolverines’ training so valuable. The freedom to drill with no exact setup allows Michigan wrestlers to prepare themselves to get out of every position and gain an upper hand on their opponents.