Interview with Lyon College Women’s Wrestling Coach

Interview with Lyon College Women’s Wrestling Coach

Jun 13, 2017 / By : / Category : Interview, NAIA

Lyon Women's Wrestling

Welcome to Interview #90

I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of NAIA Women’s Wrestling Coach of Lyon College, Kevin Corbett.

Kevin Corbett is new to Lyon College, but he is not new to wrestling. He has been learning how to both wrestle and coach from his father since he was 13 years old. Previous to Lyon college, Corbett was involved in the Doane University wrestling program.

Corbett becomes the first full-time women’s head coach at Lyon, part of a trend of women’s wrestling growing at the collegiate college.

Read on. This interview is full of great tips!

Should a wrestler personally contact you by phone, text or email? What will you do next if you are contacted by a high school athlete?

In my opinion, recruits should either call or email the coach as their first contact. A wrestler may feel nervous about making the phone call, so that’s when I would suggest using email instead. You’ll be able to go over it several times before actually sending it. This makes it easier to introduce yourself and ask a few questions you may have.

I think texting is only appropriate if the coach initiates it or gives you the option to text them. Email is more professional than texting.

Once a recruit makes contact with me I will either direct them to fill out a questionnaire or an application depending on their graduation date.

What are some of the things that would keep you from recruiting a wrestler?

Great question. Some things that may stop me from recruiting athletes are:

  • Grades and test scores. The institution I am at currently, Lyon College, is not very easy to get into. I suggest recruits take the ACT or SAT at least 2-3 times, once at the end of their junior year and twice during their senior year.
  • Athletes who don’t show their parents respect. If they can’t even respect their parents, why would they respect me as a coach? I had a young lady on the phone with me and her mother simply asked, “who are you speaking with?” and she started yelling and cussing at her mother. I was shocked! Let’s just say she didn’t receive a call after that.
  • Illegal Activities. Social Media is a powerful tool and if I find your Instagram with pictures of paraphernalia and alcohol all over it I will not pursue you.
  • Social media. If you want to wrestle in college, be very careful what you put on social media. I am not here to judge people on the views and ideals but I will not recruit someone who bullies, disrespects, or degrades people on social media. Like I said earlier, social media is a powerful tool.

Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what the athletic scholarship break down looks like on your roster?

I can’t discuss the breakdown of scholarships on our roster but I will share that our athletes are all on some form of institutional aid from the college. Whether the athlete qualified for scholarships through academics or athletics.

What are a few of the most common mistakes that prospective-student athletes make in the college recruiting process? 

A big one is not following through with what is asked of them in a timely manner. One example of this is recruits not getting applications done when they are asked. An application usually takes between 15-30 minutes; it doesn’t take long at all. I shouldn’t have to remind a recruit 10 times over the course of a month to finish a quick application. Another example is getting their transcripts or scores sent out when asked. Whenever a recruit puts things off I may have a hard time taking them seriously.

Another mistake is making everything about money. While some athletes need to make this a priority, others do not have to. The question I have is what are they willing to pay for success in the classroom, in the community, in their career and on the mat? Recruits who chase after the largest scholarships are forgetting about other factors that will help them be successful. Examples of other factors are; graduation rate, classroom size, academic supports, training partners, coaches, facilities, job placement, opportunity to compete, etc… These things play into your success more than scholarship money most times.

There are so many positives about Title IX for women, but there have been unintended consequences on men’s sports, especially wrestling.  How are the addition of women’s wrestling programs changing that? Can you talk about the state of collegiate wrestling for men and women, how it has been impacted over the past few decades and what the future of collegiate wrestling looks like?

Lyon Women's WrestlingI think women’s wrestling is a key factor to saving our sport. We have basically excluded half of the US population from participating in wrestling. Now that some are getting the opportunity participate in all-female competitions, we can gain more support and see our participation numbers rise. If you’re a wrestling fanatic, it doesn’t matter if you’re watching Helen Maroulis win an Olympic Gold medal or Jordan Burroughs win one, you will enjoy watching it. Great wrestling is great wrestling.

Which leads me to my next point, wrestling fans need to do more (We have been doing better in recent years). They need to go out and support their local high school and college wrestling duals and fill up the stands, no matter the level. Athletic departments will have a much harder time dropping a wrestling team who sells out their gym for every dual meet.

I think “College Wrestling” is stable and growing. While a lot of fans focus strictly on DI wrestling there are programs being added to enrollment driven schools constantly. We don’t always pay attention to these programs who compete in the WCWA, NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA, DII, and DIII championships very much. Those programs are sometimes put in the corner and forgot about. I think the future of wrestling heavily involves women’s wrestling and enrollment driven schools.

Title IX basically forces athletic departments to either cut programs or add programs to follow the law. If every college that was about to lose their men’s program over title IX added a women’s wrestling program instead of cutting the men’s program, Title IX wouldn’t leave the wrestling community with such a distaste for it. I think growing women’s wrestling can save men’s wrestling. Some may disagree, some may agree. This is my opinion.

What are college coaches looking for in a recruiting video? What is the best way for recruits to format the video to be useful to the college coach? How should they get the video to you?

When I’m watching film of recruit I would prefer to watch full matches. Everyone can hit a good move here and there. I’m looking for someone who shows a strong fundamental base and can keep the pressure on their opponent. I’m not a fan of a wrestler who let’s off the throttle halfway through a match and coasts the rest of the way through. I also look for things that aren’t related to technique and reflect the wrestler’s character. This could be coming back from a point deficit, being humble after a win, showing sportsmanship, etc…

I think creating a Vimeo or YouTube account and sharing the link to the video is a simple and easy way to share their film with coaches.

How do you use social media when recruiting? What is your advice to recruits about their use of social media?

Social media is a powerful tool. I don’t think social media always reflects a person accurately but can give you some insight of who they are. I’m not here to judge their ideals or political views but I do suggest recruits refrain from posting vulgar, inappropriate, and Illegal things on social media. If I was to come across an athlete who is bullying, disrespecting, or degrading others on social media I will not recruit them.

Social media is also a great marketing tool for my program. I will use pictures, videos, and posts to allow people to follow our journey through the season and off season. This helps build a passionate fan base and can create a connection between future recruits and our program.

What are the differences between competing on the mat at the high school or club level and the college level? What do incoming freshmen need to be prepared for? 

Lyon WrestlingThere is a lot that is different. College wrestlers work at a different level than most high school wrestlers. The intensity is something that a lot of incoming freshman need to adjust to. I think the intensity level changes because in high school a lot of athletes succeed with pure, raw talent but you can’t succeed off of talent in college. Hard work and sacrifice will be your best friends in college if you want success.

What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process? 

I think parents are there to guide their children to make good decisions but not make the choice for them. I shouldn’t be asking mom and dad to send me their child’s transcripts or to tell their kids to fill out applications. I feel parents should try to be as hands off as possible and allow the recruit to be responsible for their future.

Can you share a creed, quote or philosophy you try to instill into your athletes?

Our goal as a program is to bring out the best versions of our student athletes in the classroom, community, and on the mat. We look to do this through our program’s values; Hard Work, Responsibility, Respect, Honesty, and Team Work

We are not only looking for wrestlers who will demonstrate these values on the mat but in the community, classroom, and their life as a whole. We believe that when our student-athletes dedicate themselves to our value system they will reach success and become the best versions of themselves.

  • A wrestler that is not afraid of Hard Work is willing to do more than what is expected of them.
  • A wrestler who demonstrates Responsibility will get the things they need done.
  • A wrestler who Respects themselves and the people around them will treat everyone with dignity and not degrade themselves or others.
  • A wrestler who is Honest is able to be trusted and is a person of integrity.
  • A wrestler who demonstrates Team Work has the ability to grow the community around them whether it’s on the mat, in the classroom or the community.

A wrestler who exhibits our values in unison will find themselves in a position where they can succeed in the community, classroom, and on the mat.

Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or wrestlers in particular as they navigate the recruiting process? 

 A lot of wrestlers feel like they may not be able compete at the collegiate level, which is not actually true. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been wrestling a year or your whole life, there are opportunities for you to enjoy the sport you love. If you have a passion for the sport, and are willing to work hard in the classroom and on the mat I believe you can wrestle in college.

I also want future recruits to know that 4 years will fly by. Don’t be scared to move away from home for a little while. You may at times feel homesick but being able to get your degree and wrestle while you do it is well worth it.

Profile:

Kevin CorbettKevin Corbett is new to Lyon College, but he is not new to wrestling. He has been learning how to both wrestle and coach from his father since he was 13 years old. Previous to Lyon college, Corbett was involved in the Doane University wrestling program.

Corbett becomes the first full-time women’s head coach at Lyon, part of a trend of women’s wrestling growing at the collegiate college.

For a Full Bio go to Lyon College Women’s Wrestling.


Next, check out: The Helicopter Parent Goes to College.

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Thanks,

Bryan

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