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Is Old Dominion just the tip of the iceberg?

A shocking betrayal.

Old Dominion, a long and storied collegiate wrestling tradition, just dropped its half-century old program.

The reasons given by ODU include financial challenges and Title IX compliance.   Athletic director, Wood Selig added this:  “Our decision became even more clear during this coronavirus crisis, which we know will have significant impact on future athletics budgets. This decision will better allow the remaining sports to compete at a national level."

The bigger question:  is this a one-time setback to our sport, or is ODU just the tip of the iceberg?

It is entirely possible that many more wrestling programs will be shuttered in the very near future.

Taking a deeper look

Right now we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

The most visible health expert in the country said this recently:

“I don’t think we should ever shake hands again."

Ponder that for a moment.

The sport of wrestling is a sport of close combat, with athletes putting their hands on each other, breathing, coughing, and sneezing on each other throughout the match.

Our sport includes the highest level of physical, hand to hand contact in all of college, high school, and youth athletics.

If Dr. Fauci’s mindset becomes the future….

What chance do we have of surviving?

Right now the experts are talking about re-starting our economy, and opening things back up.

What’s that going to look like?

Here’s what its not going to look like…

Business as usual, just like January.

Expectations in a lot of circles are that things will change, now and in the future.

Some businesses will open back up.

Some activities will resume.

But there will be a New Normal.

And wrestling just might not fit in with that new normal.

We can’t return to normal until there’s a vaccine.

That consideration has been discussed at the highest levels of government.

A vaccine will likely take 12-18 months if we’re lucky.

Case in point, decades later, there’s still no vaccine for AIDS.

Compounding the problem

Every sport, even the revenue-generating football and basketball, will have a hard enough time getting back to competition in the wake of this world health crisis. There is enough close contact in those sports to keep the great Dr. Fauci tossing and turning in his bed at night.

But more likely than not, those sports WILL find their way back.  They will be deemed safe enough.  

If they don’t?

All this is for naught because no collegiate sports will exist.

Nor High School.  

Nor Youth.

But will wrestling resume?

Right now, I operate under the assumption that, at some point, restrictions will be lifted and sports will be allowed to continue.

But wrestling will be heavily scrutinized due to its high level of personal contact.

If nothing else, Political Correctness will wag its crooked finger in our direction.

We are not important enough, they will say.

Its too dangerous, they will say.

We should never shake hands or wrestle, Dr. Fauci might say.

What if, what if, I am wrong? (which I hope I am)

Let’s think positively and say we are granted permission to wrestle again.

What then?

When that happens, there will still be THIS enormous elephant in the room.

This crisis has hit colleges and universities extremely hard.

Revenues are cratering.

Many schools will likely not survive – and those that do, are already seeing budgets slashed to the bone and bottom lines drowning in red.

Schools rely heavily on endowments and deep pocketed donors – and those will shrink precipitously.

Many students will drop out, opting instead for budget-friendly online education (which they are getting right now, at a much higher cost).

Revenue will drop to a fraction of its current numbers.

Budget cuts will be deep and painful.

Entire departments will vanish.

The most profitable, essential programs will stay – the least essential ones will get slashed.

Sports is NOT essential.  Nursing school is.

The only programs that have even a remote chance of survival are the ones that are self funded.

Unlike football and men’s basketball, Wrestling is categorically a non-revenue sport.

Even Soccer isn’t safe.  University of Cincinnati just dropped their men’s soccer program due to budget concerns.

Combine budget landmines with the health concerns around our sport, in this new “we should never shake hands again” world we are living in.

What chance does a sport have that starts off with competitors shaking hands, and proceeds to get a lot more physical contact from there?

Will colleges and health directors look at our sport in a different light?

Will high school athletic associations?

Its likely they will.


Two steps to our sport’s survival.

Step One:  Eliminate the financial incentive to cutting wrestling

For any collegiate wrestling program to stand a chance of survival, it is imperative that it be self-funded – and then some.

If the number-crunchers see a program that is contributing to the bottom line – bringing real revenue that far out-strips its expenses – you’ve given yourself a fighting chance.  Here’s how you can accomplish that:

Have a minimum of 5 revenue streams, all contributing positively to a healthy bottom line, including, in some cases, lining the pockets of the university as well.

These 5 revenue streams could include:

  • A perennial endowment machine that funds the program for years into the future (and can’t be seized by the university).  Example in point, Penn State’s Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, worth upwards of $5 million – far more than any wrestling program in the nation.
  • Advertising (where allowed – check your local compliance office, I’m not an expert on such NCAA things):  Programs available for home meets with lineups, personal information, etc., including paid ads.  In this digital age, you could make a digital program and make it available on your team’s app (if you have one).
  • Summer Camps (most do this now) – a good chunk of money goes to the university, which keeps everyone happy.  
  • More traditional fundraisers such as working concessions at football games, hosting a tournament, inviting fans to be a part of your team club, where you can regularly market t-shirts, tickets to events, etc.
  • Home meets – admissions $, concession $, etc, but also a great place to cross-promote your app, your club, your camps, those home meet programs (digitally etc) or give them away and make money on the advertising.  If it were me, and I were concerned about printing costs, I would create a digital program every meet, and have scan codes posted on fliers throughout the venue so fans can purchase the programs instantly (or better, give them away for free and make money on selling advertising spots on the program).

If your school already does all of the above, that’s great.

Being self-funded is not enough to survive anymore though.  The next step is even more critical:

Our sport must get healthier immediately

Remember the pandemic?

Well, there’s only one narrow path out of this for wrestling, the sport that features more personal physical contact than any other.

If we are even allowed to continue (aka, Fauci doesn’t somehow become president)…

It is imperative that we rip the health risk out of our sport in every way possible.

The coronavirus mindset will last much longer than the virus’ threat.

And parents will ask, at every opportunity…is this sport safe for my child?

The answer, right now?

Not Safe Enough.

Here’s why:

Chapter 4 of my book, Wrestling in the Coronavirus World:  How to protect your kids now and in the future, outlines the Danger Zones of Wrestling that leave young athletes at risk.

Here are a few of these dangers, lifted directly from the book:

Large open mats

Ah, what fun can be had, with an enormous room full of wrestlers of all ages getting ready to strap it on and get after it.  I remember many an open mat I attended when I was but a yute in question.

But that was then and this is now – and times have changed.

Skin diseases weren’t nearly as prevalent.  Staff infections were rare.  MRSA was never mentioned.  And Covid-19 hadn’t been formulated in that Chinese factory (?) yet.

Now is the time to re-evaluate the large open mats, and take an in-depth look at the risks of these venues.

“I went to open mat, got the nasty funk and so did a bunch of my friends.”

This was sadly related to me recently by a kid who was forced to sit out of my training for a while.

Six questions come to mind and I already know the answer to most of them:

  1. Where there any skin checks? (no)
  2. Did anyone check the health of participants (check temperature for fevers, etc.)
  3. Were showers made available and encouraged?
  4. Were disinfectant wipes (such as Clorox wipes) available for wrestlers afterwards?
  5. Were the mats mopped before the event?
  6. Were people kept from walking on the mats in their street shoes?

There’s a checklist you can use to evaluate whether an open mat is a safe option for your wrestler.  

If the answer to any of the above is NO, then you take your chances by going there.

Large wrestling clubs that take in more than 20 athletes at a time.

The larger the numbers, the fewer the health protocols that are enforced.  Sheer numbers lead to sloppy practices, and many of these rooms are a literal cesspool of disease just waiting to be sprung upon your unsuspecting child.

Any trainings that do not perform skin checks and health screenings on a daily basis

Are starting times strictly adhered to?  Is there an expectation of arrival by a specific time?  Taking those steps allows a venue to build skin and health screenings into the routine.  If athletes have an expectation to arrive on time, then they can be ready to follow your built-in protocols that will protect all the participants from disease and illness.  If a venue doesn’t build skin checks into their routine, however, they are putting your athlete’s health at risk.  Do you want to take chances with your athlete’s health?

In a sense….Large training gatherings, and any wrestling experiences that do not include thorough skin checks and health screenings, should be a thing of the past.

Chapter 5 outlines Health Protocols to keep your wrestlers safe.  Every wrestling opportunity:  open tournament, training gym, wrestling practice, open mat – should be following these protocols if we want our athletes to remain safe and healthy.

If we do not implement these kinds of changes, and immediately…

Our sport is in serious danger of not returning in any meaningful way.

My book, Wrestling in the Coronavirus World:  How to protect your kids now and in the future, can be found here.

I wrote the book with the express intent of helping our sport survive this current crisis, and the next ones that are certain to follow.

The book includes:

  • Why I feel the wrestling world is doomed (unless we make immediate changes (Chapter 3)
  • Still swept under the rug:  the biggest non-virus threat facing our sport (Chapter 6)
  • Health protocols to keep your wrestlers safe (Chapter 5)
  • The Danger Zones of Wrestling (Chapter 4)

Its a quick read – and a roadmap to the future of our sport’s existence.

-Randy Simpson

Randy spanks evil empire like the naughty child it is

Just a short video, recorded right after my social distancing bike ride (staying at least 6 feet away from all other humans – except my wife, who was on the ride with me).  In it, I talk about the buzz-phrase for 2020, along with my continual fight with….well, I don’t want to ruin it for you.  Just check out the video (also – this one is password protected so be sure to get the password from the email).

If you are seeing this post, and you aren't on the list yet, go here to join,  and then email me.  I will provide you with the password so you can see the video.

to answer your question…
to answer your question…

Steve Jobs.
Bill Gates.
John Smith.
Cael Sanderson.

On the surface, these great men would not appear to have anything in common.

However,  a deeper look tells a different story.

Each of them was successful because they utilized the principles of FOCUS.

As a competitor, John Smith used one move – the low ankle single.  Everyone in the world knew he was going to do it.  Nobody could stop him.

Cael Sanderson was going to grab your head and ankle pick you.  Everyone in the world knew it.   Nobody could stop him.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did the same with business.  Focused on one course until successful.  Competitors often knew what they were going to do.  Nobody could stop them.

Which brings me to the point that will certainly rile up many people…

it starts with this question I recently was asked by a parent:  Do you accept walk-ins?

I know what you’re thinking, what does that question have to do with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, John Smith and Cael Sanderson?

Hold yee horses as I explain.

Regarding the question posted above:   there is absolutely a place in my program for athletes to try out this training.  Everyone starts somewhere after all, and if you haven’t given it a try, how do you know if it is a fit?

Indeed, my program, my personality, my style,  is NOT a fit for everyone.  Not everyone is willing to take the short path to success either – actually most insist on taking the long way around.

And the system of training that I employ IS a system built to shorten one's learning curve, hence the short path instead of the scenic route.

Now for the part that will tick off the most people….

It doesn’t happen through the drop-in training mentality.

Example in point:

How will your high school sophomore learn geometry the fastest?  By being taught 4 different methods on 4 separate days?  Imagine how confusing that would be.

Instead, he will become proficient at geometry much more quickly by learning one system until successful. 

That’s your quickest path to learning geometry – as well as wrestling, programming, or any other meaningful skill.

So when another parent asked me about dropping in on training whenever it fit their schedule, I had to tell him, that’s not how we roll here.

(try-outs are offered from time to time – drop-ins whenever, are not).

My system of wrestling that I have developed over 30 plus years of training athletes, works best for athletes and parents who commit to training in this system and following my process. 

And I reward such commitment.  Hence, the higher level of commitment, the best rate.  Athletes who made the year-round commitment pay a fraction of those who go program to program.  And athletes who commit to a full month, or season, pay a fraction of what someone does who tries it out on a one-time basis (although you are given a chance to save significantly, right away, if you decide it is a fit and you want to stay).

The try-out period for in-season training is about over.  We are getting too late in the season.  But if you want to give it a try (this might be the last week to do so), and see if you are a fit, go here.  If you use your promo code (if you're new to the list, that is), you can get in for as little as $34.


PS.  Spring is right around the corner, and we focus completely on the olympic styles of freestyle and greco wrestling, because the gains athletes make from doing so, far surpass the gains made by athletes who only wrestle folk style in the spring.  The skills shown the very first night in fact, are so powerful, that you can use them to shut down 95% of all top position attacks.

You can try out spring training on Tuesday March 24 for the extremely low $10 (listed at $25 but use the promo code in emails – this offer won’t last long though).  The promo code is worth $15 savings on this try-out session.

Mat Mastery Monday: How to shut down your opponents throws IMMEDIATELY

Ever had this happen to you?

Late in the match, you’re up by a few points.  Your adversary charges into you, (sometimes) gets you called for stalling…he locks you up in the 50/50 (aka over/under), launches you to your back and STEALS your match from you!

You did all the work, you built the lead, then he swiped it out from under you with one desperation move.

A move that could’ve been shut down immediately.

Whether you are a thrower now, in the future, or never, having the ability to shut down your opponents throws is key to winning closes matches like this one.

Its why, every spring, we train athletes to shut down the 50/50 right away, developing a system of attacks that fit like a glove with the shut-down techniques, so athletes can win using a 3 step process:

  1. excellent position including the precise details that get most wrestlers beat
  2. an array of shutdown techniques to keep you out of danger and off your back
  3. a 1-2-3 system of attacks based on your opponent’s naturally built-in human reactions

The first priority is excellent position and precise shut-down tactics – skills you can gain the very first night of ACE at our special Game of Throwns session.

You can also learn our slick 1-2-3 scoring system that will be taught at Game of Throwns advanced (learn more about that invitation-only session here

We start in a few short weeks, so join us now while there’s still space


PS:  This week’s bonus is a video – it will go out Friday morning to all who are signed up for ACE by Thursday at midnight.  This video will show you a subtle yet effective method for shutting down your opponents from the over/under position – a method covered on the first night at ACE, but you can see it now and use it in upcoming fall tournaments.   Its something that is rarely taught anywhere but can save you a ton of frustration and agony (in addition to greatly reducing your ‘air time’.)

Mat Mastery Monday: keys to winning from the most critical position on your feet

Today, I cover the most critical position to win from on your feet…

a position so important that state titles are won and lost from it every year.

This one position will have more to do with your success on your feet than your set up, leg attack or finish!

If you do what most do from here, you are likely to end up stalemated at best, or taken down at worst.

The position I refer to is the Short Offense position.

Front and center today is the most popular move from here, the Front Headlock.

There are hundreds of different takes on this position, and many ways to finish it.

The most successful methods meet the following four criteria:

  • good position is key.  Once you get the right hold, there should be close to ZERO % chance of your opponent scoring on you– and a very highpercentage of you scoring on your opponent.
  • put them on defense immediately – and keep them there.  If you wrestle to hold on – you will not score against the quality athletes
  • all moves from here should be fundamentally sound– never sacrifice position for a move(one of the biggest mistakes athletes make from here – especially hunting down fancy splash moves that get you beat more often than getting you takedowns)
  • a simple 1-2-3 step plan, with at least 3 moves in your pocket, that you can execute depending on the look you get from the opponent.

Our 3 step method to great front headlock positionis easy to learn.  Athletes who adapt to this method and learn it in a single session, and in a short amount of time, master it, resulting in shutting down their opponent immediately, and being ready to score.

The 3-move attack we utilize forces the opponent into one of a few choices – each of them leading right into your next attack.  I've seen athletes flip their front headlock from a liability to a major asset that they score multiple takedowns with, in only one week!

Since the front headlock is so crucial to success on your feet, it is a high priority that we implement at ACE (which starts in a few short weeks).

go here to join us this fall


Yard Goats attack New Jersey

Saw this in the [digital] paper and thought I’d share….

The Yard Goats got into a brawl with folks from Trenton New Jersey over an unwritten rule that was broken.

And of course I am referring to minor league baseball.  

When the team from Trenton bunted to break up the Hartford Yard Goats’ no hitter in the 9th inning, the benches cleared and a good ole’ summer brawlensued.

Apparently, bunting to break up a no-no is ….uh…. a no-no.

Anyway, why should this interest you, an esteemed member of the wrestling community?

It probably shouldn’t.  And maybe it doesn’t.

But it doesremind me of my own unwritten rule about wrestling:  

Never get instruction from the internet and expect good results.

Case in point:  just the other day, another Yew-Tewb weekend warrior posted a video of a single leg finish.

My reaction?

  • Fancy!
  • Flashy!
  • Wow –  the kids that do this are going to lose a lot of matches.

This yew-tewber made some critical errors:

  • Dropped to both knees right from the start.
  • When splitting the middle, put his head on the mat (better wrestlers will bury you if you do this
  • Got over 100 likes in the first 6 days meaning we’re going to see more of him.

The biggest problem with turning to yew-tewb for instruction?  

The #1 goal for most who post on that platform to GET ATTENTION.

That means, by definition, do something flashy.

And flashy usually gets you beat.

Believe it or not, I have a you tube channel.

But it keep it hidden behind firewalls.  Most of my content can only be accessed by folks who train with me, or are on my list.

When I post them, they are for only one purpose:  to help the dedicated athletes who train with me, along with their parents.

Okay, enough about goats.  Younger Youth Camp for 1st-3rd graders starts next Monday and Youth Takedown Master Camp starts on Wednesday (registration for both is closing down soon).

And the first of 4 High School camps starts in just under 2 weeks.

Get your cheese here


PS  If you don’t like cheese and just want to access the camps page, go here

Why wrestling camps may be making you worse

Being on the mats is better than not, right? 

And doing a clinic or camp is better than not?

Let’s just say I mostlyagree.


Anytime you are on the mats, there is a chance of you gaining skill and making improvement.

But the flip side is, you could also be hurtingyour skill level.

I once observed a world champdemonstrating technique at a coaches clinic – and he was locking his hands incorrectlyon the single leg (repeatedly)….

all while coaches furiously scribbled down notes and recorded every second in order to show their team.  

Side note, if your opponent locks hands like this champ did, you can easily counter him in less than a half second.  (Remind me at camp this summer and I’ll show you how).

That’s from a world championand collegiate coachImaginethe mistakes made by a college wrestler showing technique at a camp.

Amazing that many camps cede their responsibilities to their campers by “highlighting” these collegians and letting them instruct.

It reminds of the old adage about practice making perfect, which my coaching colleague correctly altered to this:
practice makes permanent. 

And imperfectpractice – for instance, executing technique incorrectlycan and will re-enforce bad habits that could be next to impossible to fix down the road, costing you matches and heartbreak at the most inopportune time.

Like the collegiate wrestler that the world champ coached, that locked his hands incorrectly, just like his coach had done – and promptly got countered and thrown to his back and pinned in the biggest match of his life.

To learn it the right way, go to the guys who are meticulous to a fault– with years and years of experience (or decades, like myself) of nailing the finer points – the ones that reallymatter when it counts the most.

On that note, the first camp of summer starts exactly one week from today.

Now’s your chance to join us before its too late.


PS  If you’ve already signed up, be on the lookout for ‘welcome to camp’ emails – they will be heading your way soon.  Right now, pass this info along to your friends and teammates so they can join you.