Five Point Move is proud to host USA Greco-Roman National Team head coach Matt Lindland each week for Coach Lindland’s Report. Here is where you will find detailed perspectives from Coach Lindland regarding results, training, upcoming events, and other Greco-related news that isn’t available anywhere else. ALSO — if you would like to donate directly to the US Greco-Roman program, just click here. Your support is appreciated!
The all-important “test event” for the US Senior World Team last week, aka the Grand Prix of Germany, didn’t yield the kind of results most associated with the program were hoping for. Only two World Team members — Dalton Roberts (60 kg, NYAC/OTS) and Geordan Speiller (82 kg, Florida Jets) managed to win matches, with Roberts advancing to the finals and eventually dropping a decision loss to Hunagry’s Erik Torba. There was plenty to dissect in the aftermath and Coach Lindland shares what he felt were the most important developments coming out of that tournament along with the strides made later on during the week at the international training camp. To close out, Lindland goes over the individual plans in place for the Seniors as World Team camp creeps closer on the calendar.
5PM: Let’s start positive. What in your mind was the biggest highlight of the German Grand Prix?
Coach Matt Lindland: I think the most important part was getting the guys back into the mindset of competing; getting them to think about how they’re going to compete, how they are going to travel, what they are going to eat the morning of weigh-ins after they make weight, how they are going to get their warm-up in. Just running through their routines and trying to get those things down so they can figure out if there are any adjustments that they need to make. It was just about different things that we thought were important for them to do.
Obviously, Dalton Roberts earning a silver medal was certainly a big highlight for him and the program as a whole. I think it was good to get these guys overseas to begin that process of getting back on the mat. It had been a little while since they last competed at the World Team Trials and it’s time to get ready to do that.
5PM: A big part of Vegas camp was the execution of match plans and technique. Did the seven World Team members who competed in Germany subscribe to this approach and compete according to whatever their designated match plans were?
ML: Yes, I think we started out with those intentions, but when things get tough we revert back to old habits. We have to stick to our plans because when our guys are wrestling and taking their matches to their opponents, they are very hard to beat. When they are getting away from their strategies and their own tactics — which we saw, they gave up some points and lost a few matches — it’s hard because I know the guys are capable of a lot more than the results we saw. But I thought some of our performances could have been a lot better just with guys sticking to their game plans a little more.
5PM: Is there enough time for adjustments and corrections to be made before the World Championships? To fix identifiable bad habits?
ML: That’s a hard question to answer because I think it’s a case-by-case situation. There are some guys who are right there, they just need to stick with it a little more, just hone that in a little better. And I think there are some guys who you’ve got to revamp and go, Okay, this is what you do really well so we should stick with this strategy. There are definitely improvements we want to make for each one our guys, everyone can make some adjustments along the way. But really, we have to start working on what is our best stuff right now. At the same time, I saw guys in Germany working on those adjustments and honing those little things and getting better in each of those areas they want to improve on.
I think you have to be pragmatic about the approach, patient with the guys, and really, just communicate with them — Is this the direction you want to go? Or do you want to go back and wrestle with what has gotten you to this point? And obviously, what’s gotten them to this point is pretty darn good, because if it wasn’t, they wouldn’t be our #1 guy and competing at the highest level going to a World Championships. So, they’re doing a lot of things right to get to where they’re at right now, we just need to decide which direction we want to go in with each one of our athletes. Do we keep adding new skills and making those adjustments if we think it’s going to pay off at the World Championships? Or do we want to just have them focus on their strengths?
5PM: The best part about the German Grand Prix is that a camp immediately followed its conclusion. There was an opportunity right away to see improvements in action, to workshop whatever adjustments that were fresh in their minds. Was that something you addressed leading up to the camp after the tournament? Was it a directive?
Overall, camp was outstanding. There were so many different nations. Germany obviously had a big delegation. Hungary was there and they are one of the best teams in the world. Sweden has some great guys right now, Norway, too. It was just a great environment with a lot of sharing, a lot of cooperation, and teamwork. It was just an outstanding experience.
5PM: How about team chemistry? That’s been a theme all summer long and if guys are going to bond further it would seem overseas is where that would happen. Did the World Team members gel even more while away in Germany?
ML: Germany was a real success, to tell you the truth. It’s a lot different when you see your athletes fighting for one another as opposed to fighting with each other. I could see these gentlemen fighting for their teammates and really being there for one another. It’s really coming together and guys are starting to work together as a unit, and that is going to make us a lot stronger going into the World Championships. Everyone has the same goals, the same aspirations at that tournament, and we’re going to help each other get there, and we’re going to be there for one another. I saw a lot of that from the Team on this trip and it just keeps improving. We’re definitely headed in the right direction.
5PM: Do the Seniors have specific instructions or training plans they execute prior to when World Team camp starts next month? Are their workloads lighter leading up?
Coach Matt Lindland: Their workloads are maybe lighter these first few days after returning home just because I want everyone to recover and get their bearings underneath them. But certainly, everyone has an individual plan leading up to camp. Some guys who are here (at the Olympic Training Center) will be doing the program that Mohamed (Abdelfatah) is running. The rest of the guys have their own plans and directives relative to where they’re at. We talked about what we want everyone’s weight to be and going back to revisit that base conditioning. Guys should also be getting runs in. They should certainly be getting on the mats and executing their plans. Par terre defense is still an area of concern that we want to continue to improve on. Spend some time there on a daily basis, working on the bottom.
But I think everyone knows exactly what they need to be doing when at home, and we have a couple of guys we need to get healthy again. In general, we will be communicating over the next couple of weeks on a regular basis with each of our athletes to check up on their training and their health. We want everyone coming into camp ready to go. It’s going to be our highest volume and our highest intensity phase.