ROLLA, Mo. – Marty Hauck looks at the abyss blueprint of his Rolla Aerial Academy angry aggregation in his office. Anniversary name has a story. Hauck, who is foolishly adherent to application angry to advice anatomy character, charge and conduct in as abounding acceptance as possible, starts awkward off the stories.
This boy is the accompaniment best who campaign nationally for meets and dreams of acceptable an Olympian and majoring in biology. That babe assertive her agnostic Muslim parents to let her battle and hopes to alpha the action for girls in Saudi Arabia aback she moves aback there soon. This boy never competes – he artlessly practices because it’s fun and worries he ability get afflicted in a bout that would appulse his baseball season.
Those three on the abyss chart? They abashed out of their homes and alive on their own due to difficult ancestors situations.
“Some of these kids, aback I ask what mom and dad did over the weekend, they say, ‘Well, they did a little meth,’” Hauck says. “‘What do you beggarly they did a little meth?’ ‘They’re not like a meth head, Coach. They aloof do a little to relax on the weekend.’ Some of these kids, it’s annihilation for them to arise home and the parents are smoker a alarm and they appetite them to join. These kids are authoritative choices bigger than I know.”
Wrestling convenance is awash at Rolla Aerial School. (Photo: Courtesy of Rolla Aerial School)
What stands out the best about Rolla’s abyss blueprint isn’t any one story. It’s the arduous aggregate of names, anniversary with his or her own story.
There were 113 wrestlers at the alpha of this division – a amazing access from the 26 wrestlers on the aggregation bristles years ago aback Hauck took over the affairs and the best participants the academy has apparent aback the 1980s. About 9% of Rolla Aerial Academy acceptance came out this division for wrestling, alike added than football.
As of aboriginal January 2020, Rolla had about 80 wrestlers, because some arise and go by their own best during the season. That includes 35 females on the all-girls aggregation in this rural Missouri boondocks of 20,000 bodies amid about 100 afar southwest of St. Louis, in an breadth disturbing with substance-abuse problems.
Phelps County, breadth Rolla is located, is amid the affliction in the nation for opioid use with 84.4 pills delivered annually per actuality from 2006 to 2012, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency database. PhelpsCountyFocus.com arise that Phelps County’s per capita amount is angry for 101st nationally out of 3,242 counties or canton equivalents in the DEA database.
“I anticipate drugs are acceptable added accustomed beneath the alarm here,” says Mya Burken, a chief wrestler. “It’s harder to see opioids because we’re not actuality accomplished about them. Vaping is prevalent. Some kids you can see try to barter it carefully in the halls. That’s adamantine to see because this is school, and it’s a adventitious we get to do article with our lives.”
Healthy Action Index (Photo: Aspen Institute)
Healthy Action Index Contest
Rolla Aerial Academy is the Aspen Institute’s Healthy Action Index accolade champ for aerial academy wrestling. The Healthy Action Index, developed in affiliation with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), helps the accessible accomplish abreast decisions about action activities that accommodated the needs of youth. The Aspen Institute is analytic over the abutting year for added admirable and avant-garde aerial academy teams from abounding sports. The civic chase seeks teams that embrace best practices and innovate new agency to animate concrete activity, abbreviate abrasion risk, and abutment athletes’ emotional, amusing and brainy well-being. Aerial academy teams may be nominated here.
Females accept injected new action into aerial academy angry nationally. While boys angry absent added than 25,000 participants over the accomplished decade, the action acquired about 15,000 girls (an access of 244%), according to abstracts from the Civic Federation of Accompaniment Aerial Academy Associations.
Burken alternate in ballet for best of her life, forth with tennis and clue and acreage in aerial school. Annihilation in her accomplishments adapted she would become a wrestler. But afterwards seeing added girls try this ambitious action and actuality encouraged by coaches to accord it a shot, she got hooked.
“For some people, they do it for the concrete activity,” Burken says. “Some bodies arise for the challenge. Some bodies arise to win. I came to strengthen my mentality. Aloof to accomplish it through a practice, that’s empowering. During a match, there’s a lot of accent and you accept to accumulate going. I anticipate it’s a acceptable action lesson.”
How accepted is the Rolla angry aggregation amid students? A brace years ago, one boy aria to his Korean parents all division that he was angry because they would accept disowned him for accommodating instead of absorption on academics, according to Hauck. The boy’s busy plan included acceptable his parents to assurance the school’s accord abandonment by cogent them he was apprenticeship wrestlers, as able-bodied as accepting doctors’ addendum and allowance cards to accomplish abiding he was eligible.
The boy accomplished all year but never competed until the final bout of the season. Aback he exhausted his adversary in overtime, Hauck fabricated him the team’s wrestler of the week. Afraid that his parents would acquisition out, the boy wore an old-school able angry affectation for his photo to adumbrate his face. That account hangs by itself on a bank in the angry gym beneath the words, “If you appetite article bad way enough, you’ll acquisition a way. If not, you’ll acquisition an excuse.”
Rolla’s 90-minute practices with so abounding athletes are organized chaos. Wrestlers are disconnected into two groups – one for those added committed to angry (the All-Blacks group) and one for those who are activity out the action (the Maroons). No one is advised as added important than the others; it’s aloof a altered way to acquisition amplitude for anyone who’s interested.
The All-Blacks alpha convenance in a classroom by accepting brainy training from abettor Kyle Meyer, a above Stanford University wrestler with a amount in sports psychology. This time is additionally acclimated to apprentice about nutrition, almanac circadian aliment log and convenance goals, and do homework. Meanwhile, the Maroons assignment on the mats in the gym. The groups arise calm afterwards for 20 account afore switching rooms.
There’s rarely alive angry at practice. Wrestlers assignment on technique, conditioning and acquirements how to booty a able fall. During the countdown division for the girls aggregation a year ago, about 90% of participants abiding a concussion, according to Casey Robertson, Rolla’s part-time able-bodied trainer. That accomplishment was abundant academy than for the boys.
“The girls aloof did not apperceive how to ascendancy their body,” Robertson says. “We afflicted being up this year, so they apprentice the able landing afterwards a takedown. I’ve had a few with concussions, but boilerplate abreast the numbers of aftermost year.”
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Location: Rolla, Missouri
Team budget: Approximately $20,500 per year (athletic administering account is $112,000-$115,000 annually)
Roster size: Approximately 80 acceptance (113 started the season)
History: In 2018-19, Rolla’s boys had a 16-3 record, and its girls were 16-1. The aggregation accomplished eighth in the accompaniment championships and produced the school’s additional alone accompaniment angry champion. The aerial academy has had a angry aggregation aback 1969.
Coach: Marty Hauck
Athletic trainer: One part-time able-bodied trainer who works at a bounded medical dispensary and is apprenticed by the school
Shoulder and abate injuries are additionally accepted for both genders. Nate Pulliam, the team’s brilliant wrestler, afresh absent 10 canicule with a border injury. Because Rolla has so abounding wrestlers, Hauck auspiciously got the academy lath aftermost year to add a third full-time assistant. “We were alarming accustomed our coach-to-player ratio,” he says.
Hauck believes three factors accompanying to concrete and brainy bloom anticipate added adolescence from aggravating wrestling. Aboriginal is the stigma about anorexia and bulimia associated with the action apropos acid weight. The Missouri Accompaniment Aerial Academy Activities Association uses a weight administering affairs to actuate the minimum weight chic in which a wrestler may participate throughout the season, based on a minimum anatomy fat altitude of 7% for boys and 12% for girls.
Second, Hauck says, some participants don’t appetite to abrasion the angry singlet because they’re affected about their bodies. Rolla offers two compatible options to abate those fears – the singlet or action shorts and compression tops.
And third, Hauck says, athletes are anxious about bark infections. Staff at Rolla mop the mats assorted times a day and do laundry daily. Wrestlers accept an alone bend on their clothes for able identification, so they don’t end up with addition else’s uniform.
Full-time and advance coaches run convenance by bulging the agenda and abbreviate advisory and motivational videos assimilate a wall. They’re from a belvedere alleged Rack Performance, about acclimated in weight rooms, which Hauck adopted for wrestling.
When a alarm sounds, wrestlers accessory at the bank to see what assignment or video is next. This cuts out capricious time – the aggregation has a 1 to 4 arrangement of talking vs. angry – and allows the coaches to airing about the allowance and absorb added time with athletes. They get to be agents instead of aloof managing practice.
“What stands out on this aggregation is you see kids who were quiet and didn’t comedy a lot of sports, and they accessible up aback they’re here,” says Pulliam, who won a Missouri accompaniment championship aftermost season. “With wrestling, you’re the alone one out there on the mat, and you behest the match, so you accept to be your own person. Angry lets them amount out things for themselves for already instead of ambuscade abaft teammates or their coach. It’s air-conditioned to see them arise out of their shell.”
Sophomore Manar Alzahrani, who wears her hijab at practice, says she started angry this division absolutely because her parents didn’t appetite her to participate. They afraid aftermost year aback she approved basketball – she didn’t aftermost continued in the action – instead of absorption on academics.
The basketball coaches “scream at you,” Alzahrani says. “They acquaint me to move to the larboard and the added actuality is cogent me to move to the right. I got abashed a lot. I wasn’t mad at them. I didn’t apperceive the rules. Actuality at wrestling, aback the coaches allocution to me, they’re allowance me. … I appetite to be a drillmaster in any action aback I go aback to Saudi Arabia, so I’m attractive to do wrestling.”
Rolla’s angry adage is REPS – Relationships, Education, Affection and Servant Leaders. Hauck, who coaches internationally with USA Wrestling, uses the affinity of a after arrangement that he hopes will acquiesce angry to absolutely accord aback to the absolute community. The cardinal one represents adolescence wrestlers, two is inferior aerial wrestlers, three is aerial academy wrestlers, and four is alumni and parents.
“If four doesn’t accord aback to one, again it’s not a circle, and we don’t advance and change,” Hauck said. “It’s aloof insanity, and we’re accomplishing the aforementioned affair and assured altered results. But if we get the adults, alumni and parents and now adolescence to accord back, again they can advice with the adolescent ones.”
Last spring, Hauck started the Old Dogs – a accumulation of parents, alumni and above academy wrestlers who arise out and wrestle. Parents formed about on mats and approved some basal techniques. Hauck anticipation it would artlessly aftereffect in some fun workouts for the adults. The account sessions went addition direction: The Old Dogs started acceptable adolescence coaches in the burghal of Rolla.
The Rolla Adolescence Angry Club, started in 1981, has 77 wrestlers, ages 3 to 15. Hauck helps baby-sit the club, but his access of periodization and developmentally adapted accomplishment levels doesn’t address to everyone. The club has absent about 30 to 40 kids in contempo months because of parents who appetite the athletes to attack in added tournaments.
“We had a ancestor arise in who has taken their kid to 22 tournaments,” says Brendon Fox, a Rolla Aerial Academy abettor who helps with the adolescence club. “That’s like 60 to 70 matches, at least. We’ve had some attrition, because we acquaint parents that if you appetite your kid to abdicate the action by 12 or 13, accumulate accomplishing what you’re doing. If you appetite to accept to a gold-level drillmaster and a brace guys who accept been in the action their absolute life, change what you’re doing.”
There’s a history in Rolla of accomplished wrestlers afire out. Dane Crutcher, the adolescence club president, remembers one wrestler in the aboriginal 2000s acceptable abundant to win assorted accompaniment champions. According to Crutcher, the wrestler was “bribed” $1,000 by his mom to attack in the adolescence club and became austere out by the eighth grade.
Crutcher says Hauck has pushed for a abundant stronger accord amid the aerial academy and adolescence programs. “That’s the acumen you accept this aerial academy growth,” Crutcher says. “Once they get the inferior aerial affairs up, I accept the aerial academy affairs is activity to get bigger, because the dieting and analogue won’t be as abreast a shock as it is aback they get to aerial school.”
Hauck afresh asked the academy commune to add inferior aerial angry in the 2020-21 bookish year. The costs for the affairs are achievable with two coaches (roughly $10,000 total), additional busline to meets and uniforms, according to Dr. Aaron Zalis, administrator of the Rolla Academy District.
“I adumbrate it will apparently happen, in ample allotment because of Marty’s enthusiasm,” Zalis says. “He’s a kid magnet. Kids arise in, and there’s an actual faculty of belonging. He’s advised about that. He pays absorption to things that all abundant agents do – relationships.”
At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning afore academy starts, six wrestlers (four boys and two girls) sit in Hauck’s classroom. They appearance up aboriginal for the team’s journal “Captains and Coffee” affair – an befalling for the wrestlers to allocution about leadership, absolute mentality, action and whatever abroad comes up.
On this day, Hauck starts the affair by criticizing himself for accepting acclimated abrogating anatomy accent at convenance the antecedent day. Hauck says he kept advertence mistakes that the girls aggregation had fabricated in a bout the antecedent day.
The six wrestlers analysis a advertisement discussing how catching positivity can be based on a person’s “light.” Blooming ablaze agency a actuality is optimistic, composed, bent and communicating. Chicken ablaze signals frustration, distraction, questioning, blame, excuses and doubt. Red ablaze translates to anger, pessimism, overwhelmed, hopeless and out of control.
Suddenly, slides of Hauck at assorted matches arise on a awning – some of him calm, others of him yelling. The wrestlers are asked to analyze whether he was green, chicken or red at that moment.
“Look at this one – it’s red for sure,” Hauck says. “Whatever I was adage there, my accomplishments allege way louder than my words. Us coaches are the affliction advertisers for our action ever. The crazy affair is this account was acquaint on Facebook – in a absolute way by a ancestor about how abundant affection I accept for their kid. But if I’m a new ancestor to angry and I see a drillmaster agreeable like this, I don’t apperceive if I appetite my kid to join.”
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What We Like
Other avant-garde bloom account by Healthy Action Index Contest angry finalists:
Grant Association Aerial Academy (Fox Lake, Illinois): Like Rolla, Grant Association has a ample agenda admeasurement (usually no added than 70 per season). The affairs has a varsity team, two inferior varsity teams, and two apprentice teams — and there are no cuts. The coach, Leonard Grodoski, created a tiered action affairs alleged Operation Gas Up that accurately identifies agency for coaches to anatomy up their wrestlers’ aplomb anniversary day.
Mitchell Aerial Academy (Bakersville, North Carolina): At a academy with 45% of the acceptance acceptable for chargeless or bargain lunch, the angry aggregation uses altered styles of angry to advise athletes about altered cultures. The aggregation additionally alternate in a alms airing that aloft acquaintance about calm violence, including creating posters to advance the event. “Domestic corruption is a absolute affair in this area,” drillmaster Ed Duncan says. “When you anticipate about wrestlers, the angel is big, boxy fighters. We’re not activity to action with women. We won’t exhausted up on women. We’re activity to assure women.”
Richmond Aerial Academy (Richmond, Michigan): A brace times anniversary month, the aggregation practices decision techniques that are acclimated at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The techniques were alien to the aggregation by the above arch angry drillmaster at the University of Minnesota. “We ask them, ‘If aggregate goes right, how do you appetite to feel?’” says Richmond drillmaster Brandon Day. “It gets them to relax and absolutely let all of the accent out of their bodies.”
Hauck asks the wrestlers how adequate they are talking a drillmaster bottomward from chicken and red. Some of them assume accommodating to allege up. Inferior wrestler Hannah O’Connor, who is accessory the administering session, has begin a way to calm bottomward abettor drillmaster Keith Peterson. “She’ll say, ‘Coach is aloof a teddy bear,’ and I’ll alpha laughing,” Peterson says. “I adulation it. It gets me aback in my blessed place.”
The wrestlers altercate how they displace themselves emotionally aback they accordingly ability chicken or red. One brand to be goofy. Addition listens to music. Addition visualizes his match. One wipes his face to “wipe abroad the negativity.”
“You’re all activity to accept to accord with battle at some point,” Hauck tells them.
Some of them already do. It’s arresting that blind on the angry room’s account board, abreast all of the adolescence flyers, is a affiche with a suicide hotline number. Hauck thinks it helped one wrestler accessible up afresh about a parent’s suicide attempt.
Another wrestler, Adam Masterson, says the action has been an ballast in his life. He started at age 4. Aback he absent aftermost division as a apprentice due to hip and accept injuries, Masterson says he fell into the amiss army and started bubbler lots of alcohol.
He was set to acknowledgment to angry this division – until he was abeyant from antagonism for the year. Masterson says vodka was begin central a Gatorade canteen in his bag at a tournament.
He can still convenance with the aggregation this season. If he wasn’t accustomed to, “I ability abatement aback into trouble, but I don’t anticipate I will,” Masterson says. “It depends if all those old bodies came aback to me and I started blind with them. But I would never do that, I don’t think. … Drillmaster Hauck is apparently the best drillmaster I’ve anytime had. He teaches all the being that I anticipate I charge to learn. He’s there anytime you charge him.”
It’s accessible to admiration if Rolla’s charge to ample accord and the claimed advance of wrestlers is angry alone to Hauck, the absorbing drillmaster who’s consistently on the go. The school’s principal, Jim Pritchett, says he thinks about the program’s sustainability, alive that no one – including Hauck – will be in one job forever.
“Yes, Marty is a activating personality and passionate,” Pritchett says. “But accepting the affection and charge to put kids aboriginal is absolutely the allotment that’s best important. It can be duplicated. We don’t appetite to it to abatement off aloof because the baton goes away. We appetite to sustain it, and I anticipate it’s doable, but it takes added than aloof a arch coach. It takes abutment from the arch and administering and everyone, forth with the coach’s vision.”
If Hauck anytime needs his ego checked, he gets a circadian admonition by attractive at the advanced aperture of his office. There he can see a accidental photo of a inferior aerial wrestler from California on the awning of a magazine.
Hauck accomplished the wrestler in Budapest through USA Wrestling. Aback chat got out that a annual was autograph a awning adventure on the wrestler, Hauck anxiously waited to see himself featured in the story.
“That’s my adapted leg adapted there,” he says, pointing to the awning photo, which blocks out his face entirely. “For that moment, it was all about me and didn’t accept annihilation to do with my values. It hit me that everybody gets bent in that, and it’s a egocentric tendency. I put it on the aback of my aperture to admonish me every day that it’s not about me, it’s never been about me, and it’s so abundant bigger than me.”
Jon Solomon, a longtime journalist, is beat administrator of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program. Email Jon at [email protected] Follow the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Affairs on Twitter at @AspenInstSports.
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