ASK KOLAT: How Do You Prepare for Peaking at the End of the Season?
The Season Overall
This week, Cary Kolat answers the question, “How do you prepare for peaking at the end of the season?” At the beginning of the season, Kolat wants to tighten up the team’s fundamentals and get everyone’s rhythm back. As the season goes on he ramps up the intensity and starts with 2-hour practice sessions. Once the end of the season gets close, he drops practice time incrementally from 1.5 to 1.25 to 1-hour sessions as the wrestlers prepare for conference championships and NCAAs.
Part of the question asks how Kolat prepares wrestlers on an individual basis. At Campbell, coaches take individual athletes aside to work on specifics. Kolat handles certain weight classes and he’ll work individually with his wrestlers at practice. The coaching staff makes sure the team is fully confident and mentally prepared before competing. This depends on what the wrestler feels they need. For some it may be extra drilling or conditioning. Others may need more time working on specific positions.
During preseason and at the beginning of the regular season in the weight room, Kolat’s team lifted heavy. They switched to less weight and higher reps as the season progressed. For conditioning towards the end of the year, athletes did a 10-15 minute warm up. Warming up is important to prep the cardiovascular system and increase blood flow to the muscles. Taking precautions to prevent injury in training takes precedence nearing championships. After the warm up, Kolat’s wrestlers do a 15 minute high intensity burst where they fight the last 5 minutes to keep the same pace. This was applied to a variety of aerobic exercises from bike, track, wrestling, to pool work.
Kolat says the biggest part of getting wrestlers ready at the end of the year is the mental aspect. This comes down to coaches knowing their team on an individual basis. Coaches can then help their team be at peak performance during their biggest matches.
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