Ask a member of the Neosho wrestling program and he’ll likely tell you there’s no such thing as an offseason. The team doesn’t believe in taking time off, and that’s what helped lead them to Columbia, Mo., last week as the 7-12 grade teams competed at the Mizzou Team Camp on June 9-13.
With the varsity team coming off its third state title in four years, the Wildcats took first place out of 18 teams spanning 13 states to take both the gold and silver divisions.
“I was very proud of our young men for their commitment to use this opportunity to help our team grow,” Wildcats coach Jeremy Phillips said. There are individual camps that our kids attend, and those are important, but team camp helps us understand wrestling for more than ones self, the value of bonus points, and allows leaders to evolve.”
Phillips said he challenged his wrestlers to set goals prior to entering team camps. The “smart” goals, as he put it, were highlighted by a challenge for each wrestler to evaluate their performances in order to “address weaknesses and build upon strengths.”
“After technique sessions and duals we put in extra (work) to do just that,” Phillips said. “I was pleased with how we embraced the extra which means while everyone else is beating us to the showers and to the cafeteria, we are putting in time to improve.”
Phillips said the team had a rigorous schedule.
“Our schedule each day was an hour of technique and dual each morning, two duals in the afternoon and then two hours of technique in the evening,” he said. “This was already a pretty demanding schedule. This allows my kids to really see the concept return on investments and the sacrifices they make will pay off.”
The team also seemed to develop more chemistry, according to Phillips, which could spell trouble for the rest of the state in the future.
“In addition to the improvements on the mat, I saw this group become more like a family the last few days, and that is key to winning championships. Truly caring for those who are committed and working with you for the same common goals is what helps, I think, maximize potential and make the experiences priceless memories that we will cherish forever.
“I look forward to us building upon this experience and preparing for another exciting season this winter.”
He then added an important caveat: “Our goals between now and then will be embraced in the weight room four days a week and on the mat at least two days.”
Page 2 of 2 - Yep, no offseason.