Times have changed. Many sports are now year-round in scope, and some athletes are forced to rethink family vacations and summer jobs as they seek to reach a competitive level for the upcoming season.
While most Patterson High School students continue to enjoy a summer free of homework and classes, for several Tiger wrestlers, the season has already begun.
“If you want to compete at a high level you have to be willing to work year-round,” said first-year Patterson coach Virgil Canseco. “There is a saying in wrestling, ‘Summer wrestling builds winter champions,’ and those putting in the work will see the results come league season and beyond.”
Although practice will not officially start until November, Patterson High grapplers have met at the high school wrestling room since late-February, sparring, drilling and learning with some of the squad’s most talented athletes.
Looking to keep up the momentum in a positive direction, Canseco initiated the off-season program, hoping his players would be better prepared.
“We will begin our official strength training workouts on July 8 at the Patterson High weight room,” Canseco said. “I’m currently working with a personal trainer to design specific workouts for our kids that we can do year-round.”
Canseco said summer workouts can’t be mandated, but participation shows commitment, and the players know it.
For Patterson’s athletes, the summer months mean not only building strength in the weight room and honing agility and quickness, but also getting instruction and breaking down on-mat situations without the pressure of facing an opponent on meet day.
“These off-season matches are important so we can maintain our technique and work on new things before the season,” Canseco said. “You can go to camps and learn new skills, but you have to implement those new skills to see what works for you and what doesn’t.”
Canseco doesn’t require his wrestlers to attend summer sessions. Still, many of them show up, and the coach said those who put in less work in the offseason might hobble their chances to compete.
“Summer workouts are not mandatory,” Canseco said. “However, just like in life, you get what you put into it.”
While Canseco said there are different goals for different athletes at the team’s summer workouts, there is one common theme: action. He stressed the importance of just doing something.
“The challenge is to get people in here during summer vacation and work,” Canseco said. “I’m looking forward to working with the kids that want to get better. We have a really good chance to do some damage in the Western Athletic Conference and make team duals. But it starts now.”
Canseco added that coaches can spend time setting up summer practices and telling wrestlers to attend, but it remains on the athletes’ shoulders to buckle down and put in the hours that will boost them and their squads up to the next level.
The Tigers expect to have several wrestlers working out under the direction of Canseco and his assistant coaches, including Lim Prim and Tony Luna.
“I would like to see every one of our wrestlers get as close to 40 to 50 (matches) before the season starts,” Canseco said. “The way you do that is by taking advantage of match nights going on during the summer, and going to as many tournaments as you can handle. We don’t play a game. We do work.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.