The previous month and change has been heavier on news involving actual competition. We had the Junior Worlds, the Cadet Worlds, the University Worlds being cancelled, and of course most recently, the rule change. The wrap-up stories for this week might not include event recaps or the like, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff to talk about. If anything, a few of the noteworthy items for this Roundup might very well have a strong influence on the future of Greco Roman in the United States sooner rather than later.
Betterman joins the system
Joe Betterman has never been afraid to let people know what’s on his mind. Not that his takes on the sport come from a bad place; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Betterman has a lot in common with fellow retired US Greco hero Dennis Hall. Both aren’t shy about being vocal regarding the direction of the sport and both are determined to improve this country’s competitive vitality. For Betterman, that is going to entail helping from the inside out, as last week he was elected to the role of Vice Chairman for Colorado USA Wrestling.
The 32-year old is the founder/owner of the Betterman Elite Wrestling Club in his state and boasts a growing stable of athletes. Furthermore, he is married to former women’s star Deanna Rix, who is also on board at CUSAW as the Women’s Director. Together, they have two beautiful, young kids and more than enough off the mat to keep them busy. But busy or not, Betterman felt as though he was called into duty to get in on the action with the youth in Colorado. “I wanted to see how things unfolded and eventually, I couldn’t sit idle any longer and not do my part to help the state,” Betterman said last week.
Even if you don’t live in Colorado, this news may very well have a far-reaching impact. Greco Roman wrestling is not given the same spotlight as the other styles in the US and the only way to fix that begins at the grassroots levels. The kinds of changes that could be made in Colorado with the help of Betterman’s influence might play a role down the road in the way other states handle Greco training and competition for age-groups.
Betterman’s responsibility starts and ends with enabling wrestlers from all styles and backgrounds, so it isn’t as if he was brought in to just grow Greco. He’s devoted to every athlete’s well-being. But at the same juncture, having someone like Joe Betterman in a spot where he can be effective is nothing but good news for the US Greco Roman community as a whole.
If you paid attention to last week’s “Coach Lindland’s Report”, then you know that coach’s education videos was a hot topic. It all began when coaches and athletes from around the country relayed feedback inquiring about updated videos coming from the national office regarding technique. Whether it was on social media, comments sections, or in Five Point Move emails, the storm gathered enough steam for it to actually turn into something. Naturally, it was brought up to Lindland and his enthusiasm to make something out of this interest got things moving.
The coach has already put up a video on arm throws directed right at coaches looking for technique (and of course, athletes who want to know how things work at the OTC). There is also another one coming soon about bodylocks. Coach Lindland is absolutely on board with the idea of this whole “open source” videos-for-coaches project, and he is looking for other Greco Roman coaches from around the country to share what they have to offer, as well.
Five Point Move will be the hub for this project moving forward. We are in the process of gathering videos from notable Greco Roman instructors so we can kickstart this movement further but if YOU want to be involved, just say so. Reach out to us via email or elsewhere so we can get you started.
US Greco Roman team works out with heroes
Wrestlers from the Olympic Training Center met up with members of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group late last week. The goal of the joint-training session was to give the Green Beret instructors Greco Roman positions and techniques they could assimilate into their hand-to-hand combat preparation. On the first day, National Team head coach Matt Lindland, assistant coach Momir Petković, and two-time World bronze medalist Andy Bisek went over to Fort Carson to put the service members through various drills. The next day, the US Greco guys included a larger group of OTC resident-athletes so that the Special Forces personnel could have individual training partners.
It was an eye-opening experience for the Greco contingent, especially the head coach. “I learned a lot because one thing you don’t have to think about when you’re cage fighting and dirty boxing, are other people who have guns and bad guys who can hurt you,” says Lindland. “So if you slam a guy up against a cage in an MMA fight, you don’t have to worry about someone coming up from behind, whether shooting you or knifing you, or injuring you in some way. When we started discussing philosophies on why they do that, a lot of it made more sense because they wouldn’t mind having their backs up against a wall because they have a lot more situational awareness that way.”
There is a really cool video of the Greco guys training with the SF group and the best part is, a lot of the drills are valuable for Greco Roman coaches and competitors alike. It is definitely worth a watch.
NMU swinging into Sweden
Later this month, wrestlers from the Northern Michigan-Olympic Training Site and a group of Cadets will be competing in Sweden. Two tournaments and a training camp will be part of the docket as the push into the new competitive year begins to hit full speed.
While the NMU program has made it over to Scandinavia and elsewhere around Europe through the years, this time around a different tone is detected. More has been learned about the US Greco Roman program this quad than ever before, so it is only fitting that people are realizing how important these treks overseas actually are, certainly at the developmental level. It is all worth paying attention to because how these athletes fare matters going forward.
ICYMI, Uccellini and Curby 3-Style
NMU alum and 2014 All-American Joe Uccellini is the founder and head coach at the Curby 3-Style Wrestling Club in Troy, New York. Uccellini is one of those guys who is a Greco “lifer.” It’s practically all he wants to talk about, that is, when the topic doesn’t involve one of the wrestlers under his charge. Curby 3-Style offers training in all three major wrestling styles but with a concentrated focus on Greco Roman (naturally). The club, in its third full year, is growing at such a rate that the place is now going to be open virtually all hours of the day. Good things happen to good people, it would seem.
The story in and of itself is an inspiring one. Uccellini is big into one-on-one coaching and communication, allowing him to build relationships with his athletes which in turn, helps him get through to them better. But it is another relationship altogether that serves as the catalyst for the drive behind the club. Uccellini named the wrestling club after the late Jacob Curby, who passed away in 2010. The two were roommates and best of friends at NMU, and Uccellini credits Curby with changing his perspective on life in and out of wrestling. Therefore, one of the ways Uccellini keeps him in his life is not just with the club’s name, but also, with its overall message of hope, self-belief, and determination. Please check out their story when you get the chance.
What’s coming up here
- The new Coach Lindland’s Report this week is a bit of a departure from the usual. Don’t misunderstand — there are questions related to the Cadets and also, the Golden Grand Prix and how it could be affected by November’s non-Olympic Trials. But the relationship between MMA and wrestling is also brought up, leading to a conversation about youth development and membership numbers. So we might have went a touch off-topic at times this week, but it was worth it.
- An athlete interview. Guesses are welcomed.
- Maybe a surprise. Maybe.
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