Make Stretching fun With Zack Esposito
If you have ever been to a Trampoline park, Chuck E Cheese, or bore witness to a child under the age of 10’s Birthday party you will notice two distinct things.
1) EVERYTHING IS CHAOS!
2) Kids are happy in Chaos!
With that said every Martial arts academy and Wrestling room in the world will resemble this very scenario. Some of you may be saying “My Kids Class Isn’t like that!” Sir or Ma’am you have either just dropped your little one off or are lying to yourself.
Kids will not and do not tolerate boring classes, and if given the opportunity will make jokes, fortnite dances, and as much noise as they can when they are not engaged in an activity worthy of their attention. Again if you think your kid does not do this there are two options.
1) Your Lying to yourself
2) Your kids a Nerd and needs friends get them to wrestling class quick!
Even as resilient kid’s bodies are, and how unlikely it may seem, they are not invincible. So warming up and stretching is essential in injury prevention. Yet unless your kid is the next Dhali Lama , getting them to do a boring stretching routine is probably going to resort to kids talking about tik tok-ing or whatever crazy nonsense they are into this week.
Luckily for all of us OSU Associate Head Coach Zack Esposito is two things that benefit the rest of us coaches and parents. First he is a NCAA Div.I Champion wrestler and Second and most relevant, He is a Dad of a young athlete himself.
Zack coach’s youth athletes and does his best to set them up for success. Knowing that children are wayward little creatures, he has come up with a great warm up and stretching protocol to keep the kids both engaged and most importantly SAFE!
Check out the video below on how Zack keeps a great demeanor and regimented system transferring from warmups to stretching!
Zack makes a great point about how kids adhere to structure, and he couldn’t be more right. Studies have shown that kids who are in a structured environment progress faster than those in a more free flow environment.
Overall having a system that replicates the environment the same time every practice will yield both compliance and improved retention. The way it has been illustrated is that Zack goes from a ground up approach.
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Rolling the ankles, then knees through the hips then up to the head. Then he brings the stretching to the floor. While on the floor he does sport specific stretches. Bridges and bridge handstands.
After the floorwork is done, the stretching is brought back up to the feet. To stay warm a few jumping jacks are thrown in.
Last Zack has the wrestlers slap their arms and legs “to get ready for practice”. This may seem like a odd ritual. If you have seen college wrestlers step on to the mat it is not uncommon to see people slap themselves or if you watch Iowa Tom or Terry will slap a wrestler on the face before a match.
This is not a tough guy, or gorilla posturing attempt. It has scientific backing to why it is important.
Slapping initiates pain, pain is registered, and the Sympathetic Nervous System is engaged. This is also known as the fight or flight response. Endorphins and Epinephrine are released, and this makes the athlete more attentive and aggressive.
To get more great training tips from Zack, Check out his instructional specifically for youth wrestling!
Zack is a top-notch instructor and athlete! Check out his instructional today!