Implement a proven three phase training system for managing peak performance in your athletes that has helped St. Cloud State win back-to-back NCAA D-II National Championships!
- Learn how to integrate live and situational wrestling within practices throughout the season that ensures wrestlers are primed for success against the competition
- Develop a cradle series that will help your team increase their falls from the top position
- Learn a series of drills that will allow your wrestlers to dominate any scramble situation
with Steve Costanzo,
St. Cloud State University Head Coach;
2018 NCAA DII National Champions - third title in four years, including back-to-back National Championships (2016-17);
2018 NWCA DII National Duals Champions;
2016 NCAA DII Coach of the Year;
2018 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Champions - winners of seven straight conference titles (2012-18) and 11 overall; 5x NSIC Coach of the Year; former Dana College Head Coach - 2016 NAIA National Champions
Practice is where the most development happens in your wrestlers. As a coach, it's important to understand how to structure your practices throughout the season in a way that helps your athletes peak at the right time, so they can maximize their success at the end of the year during regional and conference tournaments.
A distinguishing characteristic of the St Cloud Huskies' practice sessions is the simple, effective coaching style of Steve Costanzo. You will see that he encourages his athletes to stick to high-percentage moves throughout their training; moves that you will be able to observe and apply to your own training or coaching.
Phase 1: Pre-Season (Disc 1 & 2)
Beginning mid-October through mid-December, Coach Costanzo and his staff introduce their training system to wrestlers and focus primarily on building core technique and integrating those skills during longer, intense live wrestling sessions. Practices start with a dynamic warm up consisting of a combination of calisthenics, band exercise and wrestling drills.
During the first practice, Coach Costanzo and his staff review the bent leg turk series and cradle series, while also illustrating how to build up to intense live wrestling sessions through stance and motion drills and 80/50 movement drills. The 80/50 drill is used to develop confidence in a wrestler's takedowns and hand fighting skills. It teaches wrestlers to get to an angle so they can effectively attack the legs. It also teaches wrestlers how to transition from hand fighting to leg attacks.
In the second practice, Coach Costanzo walks us through a 90-minute pre-season wrestling practice that's a little unconventional because live wrestling is done in the first half of practice and the technical side of things is focused on at the end. Match length and live go's can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. Costanzo explains that he gets the team to focus on a grinding type of training during phase one, typically lasting no more than 90 minutes.
Drills focus on specific wrestling skills, such as the bull ride drill, to work on wrestlers' riding skills and the Abas roll and scrambling drill to work on leg passes and the ability to wrestle through all types of positions and scenarios.
The last half of practice focuses on live situational wrestling and learning a cradle series. Assistant coach Brady Wilson shows the Huskie approach to breaking someone down, and how he splits the back into three parts. First, Wilson shows how to use this knowledge to successfully break the bottom man down, so the top wrestler can successfully start their cradle series. From there, Wilson goes into detail on how to execute the inside and outside cradle, as well as the situations in which a cradle presents itself.
Phase 2: Mid-Season (Disc 3)
From mid-December through the end of January, Costanzo shows how to focus on more chain wrestling through key drills, individual coaching, and shorter live wrestling sessions. With most of the team's core technique established at this time, the main focus of the practice is hard situational drilling to enhance technique that was developed during the first phase and live wrestling to help prepare the wrestlers for competition. Costanzo shows how to reinforce solid positions through key drills such as Position Matches, the Maintain Position Drill, and actively sparring through awkward positions.
Phase 3: Late-S