Five Point Move is proud to host US Greco Roman National Team Head Coach Matt Lindland every week for “Coach Lindland’s Report.” For fans and wrestlers looking for insights regarding the US Greco National Team, we ask Coach Lindland some questions to get his take on training and upcoming competitions. If you have any questions you’d like us to ask going forward let us know via Facebook, Twitter, or through our Contact page.
This week, Coach Matt Lindland and the wrestlers at the three remaining weights still in need of qualification are in Mongolia. Jesse Thielke (59 kg, NYAC), RaVaughn Perkins (66 kg), and Joe Rau (98 kg, Minnesota Storm) are set to compete this Friday in what is the First OG Qualifying Tournament in Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital and largest city. All three wrestlers won their respective weight classes at the US Greco Olympic Wrestling Trials in Iowa City, Iowa earlier this month. Previous attempts throughout the year to qualify these weights hadn’t gone the US’s way. But now it’s a different story. These athletes are all coming off impressive performances at the Trials and should hopefully be carrying with them the confidence they need to accomplish the objective.
5PM: How has the week gone so far and what have you guys been up to?
Coach Matt Lindland: We left on the 14th and after 30 hours of travel, we arrived here in Ulaanbaatar. The training has been pretty light: once a day on the mats and a game and then a sauna in the afternoon. The athletes seem very comfortable and relaxed. We have gotten out of the hotel to go to the markets and found some yak sweaters and cashmere.
The facilities aren’t the nicest I’ve seen, but are sufficient to get what we need.
5PM: Is it especially difficult to manage weight overseas leading up to an important tournament?
ML: The athletes knew that if they won the Olympic Team Trials they would be coming here, so weight is not an issue. We have a couple of guys that cut pretty hard, but these are disciplined professionals who understand what’s at stake and needs to be done. I am impressed with how well the team has responded.
5PM: You’re a believer in turning any sort of nerves into positive energy and excitement towards competition. Is that something you’ve had to remind the guys about this week?
ML: True. I want my athletes to relax and enjoy the process. We always compete better when we relax and have fun doing our job. This is a serious effort to qualify for the Olympic Games, so adding undue pressure does no good. The more relaxed our athletes are, the better they will compete.
5PM: Does this group of three being alone together so far away bring them closer together as a unit? It feels as if they are Spec Ops given a critical assignment.
ML: This does absolutely feel like a special assignment and these are the right men to get the job done. We are all getting well wishes and support from the rest of the team back home. Everyone as an organization is pulling together to take care of all the little details so the athletes can perform to the best of their abilities.
Nobody wants to go to Turkey. So let’s wrestle hard and get it done here.