You Have Every Right To Pick And Choose Whom You Roll With.
Let’s face it, this sport isn’t for everyone. It’s hard, can be intimidating, and some people get anxiety in anticipation of the wrestle.
Some people will come into the sport after a time in their life where they haven’t played anything or participated in a fitness regime for some time, which isn’t a bad thing. However, we need to manage three things, they are; our mind, our body and our ego.
To start, the people that find the sport the hardest are females as this demographic is the minority on the mat.
They have to contend with the egos and strength of males, which starts to develop around the age of 12.
Females have every right to tell another teammate no when it comes to wrestling or specific training (shark tank). This typically occurs when they have had a negative experience when training with an individual who may have been overzealous in their training, or let their ego get in the way (typically males do this when they first start out).
When it comes to picking and choosing who you want to roll with, you have every right to do this. You shouldn’t feel bad about hurting someone’s feelings when you say no, if they ask why, just be up front with them.
However, if there are underlying reasons where someone has been disrespectful, you need to speak with your coach immediately. Do not let that negative experience simmer under the surface where, coming to class ends up being a battle in itself!
Now for the ‘older’ or I prefer to say ‘the mature and motivated’ people.
When I started in the sport, I was about 33. I was in shape and I participated in a regular fitness regime. In some respects, I came into the sport late. But there are people that come in much older than 33 that haven’t participated in sport or a fitness routine for many years. It’s not a bad thing, but they need to make sure that they read on so that they can participate in the sport for the long game, not the short one.
Just like we indicated early in this piece, the ‘older’ grapplers need to do the same. You have every right to pick and choose who you want to roll with, do specific training with or partner up with, and this is NOT gender specific!
The older we get the more responsibilities we have. Families, mortgages, job, and your health are just to name a few. The worst thing you can do is partner up with the ‘young aggressive bull’ at the academy only to come out of the wrestle realising that you have just injured yourself and need some time away from the mat, or worse, work. This time off the mat could be considerable, where you could end up second guessing why you are doing the sport in the first place!
Let’s look at drilling first.
Our blue belt program is the novice program. In this program the athlete learns to escape, defend and attack from the four primary positions. The hardest period of this program for some might just be a week of the position known as the knee on belly where you have almost all your teammates weight on your chest (maybe it should be known as the knee on chest then!). Athletes should look to pick teammates that are of similar height/weight so that they can train comfortably and become competent and confident in their movements.
Drilling in the advanced class may see you getting inverted. Now I’m 46 and I don’t know about you but I don’t like that portion of the game because my lower back and neck just can’t handle it anymore. So, I look to alternate movements that may give me the same result.
Moving onto the shark tank, typically the first few people selected are done so because they are either being tested (without realising it), are responsible and experienced grapplers, or are trustworthy athletes that are free of an ego. The remainder of the team are lined up waiting their turn to jump into the shark tank and test their skill at either passing/escaping.
Being in that line up is a great opportunity to look to the future and choose who you will partner up with. You might see someone that is too aggressive for you and allow the next teammate in line to go to. Mind you, the shark tank is a wonderful part of training because it is specific to a position or piece of play that needs refining as it is the same position for that period of time.
Finally wrestling, the never-ending puzzle.
Depending on what you want out of your training will determine who you will wrestle with. Clearly the more you wrestle the more experience you will gain and in turn will give you a better skill set, but picking the young 23 year-old male full of testosterone when you are a three-stripe blue belt at 55 years might not be the best thing to do when they are fresh.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with ‘playing’ with these people, you just need to know when to tap.
At the end of the day, everyone participates in this sport for their own reasons. However, no one participates in this sport to get injured. It costs nothing to tap, nor is it offensive to say no to a prospective partner. Just pick your partners wisely, but don’t cherry pick those you think you will always beat as they might just put you back in your place and your progression will stall.
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