Digital attendance tracking for wrestling teams (release notes, May 24, 2019)

Attendance tracking is now available to teams of all levels who use WrestlingIQ to run their wrestling team.

Traditionally attendance tracking is hard to stay on top of. Paper (don’t even get me started), spreadsheets locked down to one computer, or a coach that has a sophisticated way of doing it but can’t make every practice.

Check the video below to see how coaches can now take attendance quickly with a computer, tablet, or any other internet connected device. This update also includes an attendance report you can view and download to your own computer. If your athletic director asks you for your attendance tracking records, pull one of these up, download it, and send it over.

SMS notifications, multiple accounts, mobile video upload, and parent video upload (Release notes, March 29, 2019)

Text message notifications

Previously, WrestlingIQ was only able to send notifications via email. In many cases this is fine, but for situations like messaging or practice changes, email is not urgent enough.

As of today anyone can enable text message (SMS) notifications. While logged in, go to your notification preference screen and pick the delivery channels you want. Existing users will also receive a prompt when they first login asking if they want to enable sms notifications.

Multiple accounts

The reality of our sport is that most people are involved in multiple teams. You may be the coach of a high school and a club team. Or a coach at one club, and a parent at another school. Before, you had to have two separate WrestlingIQ accounts. Now you can have multiple accounts under the same email & password login. Once part of two different teams, you can tap the little arrow in the top left corner to switch accounts.

Mobile video upload

Native apps are in development, but not finished yet. As an alternative solution, I’ve added a file picker button to the video manager that let’s you upload video from a mobile device. Use the normal camera app to capture the video, and then WrestlingIQ to upload it after you’ve finished capturing the video on your phone. You can also continue to drop video files as normal from your computer.

Parent video upload

At the club level it’s common for parents to film their kids matches,  rather than a dedicated team manager or coach. WrestlingIQ now lets parents upload video, and tag their kids in a match for organizational purposes. If you want this, please send me an email since it is currently off by default.

Custom Messaging Groups, Public Calendar, and Less Whitespace (Release Notes, March 8, 2019)

This week’s update improves calendars that are available on club team websites, a small UI change, and custom messaging groups.

Custom Messaging Groups

Special thanks to Sean, Anthony, and members of the Skyline High School wrestling team for working with me on messaging this past season.

As of today you can now create a custom messaging group within WrestlingIQ. You might use this to setup a group called ‘Parents – State Wrestling 2019’ and add only the parents you know will be present at the state tournament. That way you can message the group directly, without spamming the rest of your parents or wrestlers.

 

I’m working on other messaging improvements that aren’t quite ready yet. Stay tuned for text message notifications, the ability to make specific parents or wrestlers messaging admins, and some additional configuration options.

Public Calendar

Shout-out to Justin and Andy of Pin City Wrestling for these upgrades to the public calendar.

On a public calendar page (example), you can now click on an event to get a popover with more info such as event location, and notes. The note field may contain links, so this is a good way to direct your parents or prospective parents to something like tournament registration via your WrestlingIQ powered website.

The public calendar now displays a little bit better on mobile. By default mobile phones will load up the list view, as it displays the best. But if you click month, you should now be able to at least read the events for each day on all devices. It’s not super pretty yet, but it is now at least functional.

Less Whitespace

I released a fairly major UI overhaul a few months ago which introduced a lot more whitespace into the UI. With this update I’ve reduced the whitespace within lists to make it easier to see more information without having to scroll aggressively. I think this makes it cleaner, without making it too dense, but please shoot me an email if you have feedback on this (for better or worse).

Release Notes Feb 28, 2019

A few small changes today.

If you had parent profiles enabled on your WrestlingIQ account, you may have noticed that using the search page for them was sometimes showing parents twice. This issue is now fixed.

The search page now also returns coaches, and might be useful if parents need to contact a specific coach outside of WrestlingIQ.

Finally, I’ve updated and polished the club specific sales page for WrestlingIQ. Thank you for the testimonial Andy, much appreciated.

Automatic Emails and Calendar Hyperlinks (Release Notes, February 22, 2019)

After spending the winter months making WrestlingIQ useful for club teams, it’s time to add some polish. Special thanks to Justin and Andy for all their time and support.

Automatic Emails Upon Parent Registration

When you create, or edit, a paid session you now have the option to add a ‘Welcome Email’. If you enter text into this section, parents will automatically get this emailed to them after they have registered their kid for a specific session with your wrestling club.

auto email demo

 

Hyperlinks In Calendar Events

The other small update today is the ability to add hyperlinks and styling to the notes section of an event.

What’s Next?

You should expect more emails like this from me. I haven’t done a good job of this so far, but I expect to send an email to everyone who wants it every time I release new features within WrestlingIQ.  So, you should see a few more of these emails, but what are the next features I plan to build?

My focus for the spring and summer is going to be….

  1. Ensure all club team using WrestlingIQ are successful.
  2. Upgrades to the messaging portion of WrestlingIQ (special thanks to Sean and Anthony for helping with this).
  3. Native apps
  4. Calendar export to popular systems such as Google Calendar, Outlook, etc

Time will tell how quickly these things get built, but I’ll be here every week working towards making those a reality. Stay tuned!

Theater Mode in the WrestlingIQ video player

WrestlingIQ now supports ‘theater’ mode. The intent is to expand the video player size so you can see it easily, and still allow you to take notes.

Turns out full screen is great for viewing, but not ideal if you want to give feedback to your wrestlers at the same time.

If you are a WrestlingIQ user this is available now. Click the button just to the left of the full screen button to enter theater mode.

Special thanks to Coach Gaither and Coach Gullikson of Skyline High School for the suggestion.

The player in the new, expanded theater mode

 

The normal player size

WrestlingIQ now has the ability to send event invites

One new feature that I haven’t talked much about is the ability to send invites for your events in the team calendar. This works a lot like event invites on other systems like Google or Outlook. You drop into the event, add who you want to invite, and WrestlingIQ automatically emails them asking if they can attend.

Here’s a video of it in action, please excuse the rough cut nature of the video – I really like making these clips, but they are a long ways from polished!

The Ultimate Guide To Wrestling Practice Plans

If you are here looking for wrestling specific advice on planning practices, you’re in the right place.

This started out as a place for me to point coaches to for resources, and quickly spiraled into me spending hours reading literature about sports science reaching back 40 years. If you want to jump quickly to a specific section, here’s a handy table of contents.

Digging into sports science

Wrestling is steeped in tradition, but we can still learn from modern research. This thesis from Dora Bartulovic, while dense, is a good overview of some of key concepts, particularly deliberate practice (DP) and self regulated learning (SRL).

Deliberate practice

Deliberate practice is a term for constructing practice in such a way that maximizes skill acquisition on the way to mastery. This not only applies to the coach, but to the self motivation of your wrestlers.

DP activities have also been characterized as involving conscious attempts by the learner to structure learning activities in specific ways to maximize the degree of skill acquisition – the structuring of activities involves deliberate cognitive processes related to planning, execution, and reflection (Ericsson, Prietula, & Cokely, 2007). These processes can be facilitated when a learner interacts with a coach, but Ericsson et al. (1993) made the case for the importance of such processes during practice alone. Moreover, for training to qualify as DP, athletes should also receive immediate instructive feedback and the results of their performance, which may involve generating self-feedback in relation to one’s own learning activities (Ericsson et al., 2007).

Focus here on the emphasis of planning, execution, and reflection.

Earlier research also suggests that DP effectiveness is constrained by motivational factors and has daily limits of effectiveness.

A number of training studies in real life have compared the efficiency of practice durations ranging from 1 -8 hr per day. These studies show essentially no benefit from durations exceeding 4 hr per day and reduced benefits from practice exceeding 2 hr.

– Ericcson et al., 1993

Some practical implications of deliberate practice include:

  • Consider posting your practice plans in an easily readable form for your team before practice, in order to give athletes the ability to mentally plan for practice.
  • Think critically about how to give feedback in a way that jump starts a wrestlers own ability to offer themselves self feedback and engage in self regulated learning.
  • Longer does not necessarily mean better.

If you want a more approachable article about the difference between training and practice, consider this one (thanks to Coach Tate at Queens for this).

Self regulated learning

Self regulated learning (SRL) is defined by Zimmerman as the degree to which:

individuals are metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process

SRL is a fancy term for a wrestlers ability to use their mental prowess to influence their success in the sport. In particular,

Self-regulated athletes regularly set goals, they systematically self-monitor by observing and tracking their own efforts, their performance, and outcomes of training, and are able to adapt when discrepancies are noticed between their desired and current states; therefore, athletes who self-regulate more effectively should be able to get more out of their training, and be more likely to reach their maximum potential (Toering et al., 2011)

– p8 Bartulovic

Practical implications of self-regulated learning for wrestling coaches include:

  • Ensure your athletes are regularly goal-setting. Consider having a coach doing 1-1 short meetings with your athletes on a regular interval to go over their goals and get regular updates on their progress.
  • Distribute video to the team as a way for them to buy into their own learning. Video is a good format for wrestlers to monitor their strategic progress, and make mental adjustments for future matches.
  • Self regulated learning is tied to improved motivation, as wrestlers are bought into their own journey to success. Don’t underestimate the power of mindset coaching in addition to simply coaching the physical movements of wrestling.

Resources from abound the web

The following is a list of resources I’ve gathered from around the web specifically related to practice planning. Some are philosophical essays, some are paid videos, and some are plan templates.

Some are paid, some are free. I am not endorsing these products or plans, I have personally not used them. The intent is to create a list of wrestling specific resources to save wrestling coaches time, instead of having to scour the internet for it.

If I missed something please leave a comment, I will be keeping this updated with new stuff as it comes in.

Kolat.com

Cary Kolat has an entire section dedicated to practice plans on his website free of charge. He also recently released a ton of technique videos to his youtube channel.

Attack Style Wrestling

Daryl Weber has a lot of products available on Attack Style Wrestling. There are technique and coaching bundles featured, which are paid, including an entire product just for practice planning.

USA Wrestling

USA wrestling has a section on their website that lists out some wrestling games and activities. Buried in there is a link to this pdf which contains some fully fleshed out practice plans. If you want some more background on the mindset for creating effective practice plans that fit your program, here’s a solid article from USA Wrestling as well.

Beat The Streets (NY)

The NY division of Beat The Streets has published 14 practice plans on their website. These may be particularly useful for youth coaches, which is the focus of the (amazing) Beat The Streets organization.

Bill Welker’s Practice Model

This short but sweet webpage gives in an example of what different types of wrestling practice plans might look like (pre-season, in season, cross training). Here’s a PDF version that is similar.

Scot Davis Essay

This essay, dug up from the archives of wrestlingusa.com, is part personal anecdote and part example practice plan.

Championship Productions

Championship productions has a lot of videos and products available for purchase. Here’s one specifically about wrestling practice planning.

NFHS Article On Planning

This one is more about philosophy, but may be worth the read.

NWCA Courses

The NWCA has a couple courses in the backlog related to practice planning. These aren’t practice plan templates, but may count towards continuing education in some cases.

Your Coaching Staff

Although I can link out to a bunch of websites to give you a base of knowledge, at some point you need to sit down and create your own plans. From talking with many coaches while developing WrestlingIQ’s practice plan builder I can tell you that effective coaches have similar philosophies.

  1. You have to build practice plans to fit your team. Teams will have different technique needs and experience levels each and every year.
  2. Most coaches tend to have a ‘skeleton’ plan for their practices. Something like – announcements, warm up, drills, technique, live wrestling, conditioning, cool down.
  3. Many coaches plan out every practice in detail up until the first competition. It’s often not useful to plan beyond that, as the first competition will usually give you an opportunity evaluate where your team is at.
  4. Especially at the youth, middle, and high school levels make sure to focus on other areas needed to improve as a wrestler and person that are not necessarily technique. This may include visualization, information on healthy eating, stories, team video review, encouragement to do well in school, and general reinforcement of standards you expect your athletes to hold dear (discipline, hard work, etc).
  5. Plans have to take into account competition schedule. You will need to have a lighter workout pre-competition. You might mix in strength training or other types of cross training activities to vary your program. Rest days are important, or maybe you have a rest day by watching video as a team (please read the section below about deliberate practice and reflection). You can’t grind all the time.
  6. Keep your coaching staff on the same page, so that practices run as smoothly as possible. Some coaches do a pre practice huddle, others prefer to share practice plans electronically.

Tools for creating and organizing practice plans

Now that you’ve read up on some philosophies and resources about practice planning, how do you actually keep track of it all? I have not used these products (except for WrestlingIQ, which is software I make personally).

If you see something missing please let me know in the comment section so I can update the list.

WrestlingIQ

This is my own product. You can see the practice planner in action hereWrestlingIQ is intended to be the only software you need to run your team, and includes other features like video management, team calendar, and paperless team documents.

InfiniteWrestling

This iOS app is created by Broadside LLC, which makes practice planners for various sports.

NWCA planner

The practice planner put out by the NWCA includes practice plan creation abilities, plus access to a video library they curate of techniques and videos.

Microsoft Word or Google Docs

Okay, these aren’t intended to be used as a practice planner, but having plans written down electronically is still a huge boon to your program. If you use Word, I would suggest making sure you use a backup solution in case your hard drive fails (or use their new Office 365 product). Google Docs has the upside of being easily shareable across your coaching staff, and makes collaboration easy.

Paper

As a maker of software for wrestling teams, it pains me a little bit to recommend paper, but I’m going to. This is still better than having no plan whatsoever. It also has the advantage of being simple, easy to use, and cheap. In some cases, paper may even be the best choice for you. At the very least, paper makes you stay a little more organized than winging it.

Free PDF practice plan template

Free Practice Plan Template

If you don’t want a full software solution, but do want some structure, enter your email below and I’ll send you two free PDF templates.

 

Wrestling Practice Plan Builder Updated – Reusable Drills and Notifications

A while back I showed the initial version of the practice plan builder within WrestlingIQ.

Two key features missing from that initial version was the ability to save/reuse common practice sections and to automatically notify the coaching staff that a new plan is ready for them to review. I recently finished up those features and they are now available to anyone using WrestlingIQ. Here’s a quick demo:

Introducing Software For Club Wrestling Teams

This past summer I’ve been focused on making WrestlingIQ useful for club wrestling teams, particularly in regards to club registration, custom registration questions, flexible payments, paperless legal documents, and a team calendar.

You can see all of these in action in this video:

Become a Founding Club Team

I’ve been developing the above functionality with a few club coaches I know personally, who are now using it for their fall session.

I’m looking for a select few club coaches to become early users of WrestlingIQ for their club team.

What you should expect as an early club team on WrestlingIQ:

  • I will personally help get your entire team onboard. WrestlingIQ is a small business (meaning it’s just me coding, selling, answering emails, etc). I’m intensely interested in making your club team successful.
  • You will have my phone number to text or call if major issues arise.
  • I will be asking you for feedback and guidance on future product features. With this inner circle of club teams, I’m hoping to continue to make WrestlingIQ the best product for managing your club wrestling team.
  • If you need a website for your club team, I will help you design and deploy it.
  • Guaranteed pricing, even if I raise prices in the future. There are two options currently for founding team members:
    • $50 / month with parents paying a $1 fee per registration.
    • $99 / month with parents paying no fees.

What you should not expect as an early club team on WrestlingIQ:

  • Every feature you’ve ever dreamed of already complete. If you are looking for something that can do everything under the sun for any type of sports team, check out older solutions like SportsEngine. Part of the reason I’m doing these founding team slots is to get the feedback I need to make WrestlingIQ the best tool for club wrestling coaches it can be.

There are 25 23 slots remaining. If you think you’d be a good fit, please drop your info into the form below and I’ll be in touch shortly.