We have three practice groups or "teams": Clinic, Level 2, and Level 1. Wrestlers are assigned to each practice group based on their experience, skill-level, age, and, at times, other factors. Coaches of each practice group discuss the most appropriate practice team for each wrestler, and during the season, wrestlers may move to different practice teams as we seek the best learning environment for each one.
Many of our first year wrestlers start on our Clinic practice team, where a very slow pace, basic wrestling instruction, and, frankly, sometimes chaos, characterizes the one-hour practice. An effort is made to introduce boys to the sport in as enjoyable a manner as possible at this level. All of the wrestlers on this practice team are 3rd grade or younger, and the majority are 2nd grade or younger.
Some of our first-year, older wrestlers (for example, a first-year 4th grader or athletic first year 3rd grader) may be assigned to the Level 2 practice team if coaches feel that, socially, that will be the most enjoyable place for them, assuming they are athletically and emotionally comfortable with the skill level of that team. The Level 2 practice tone is more serious, longer, and includes more advanced instruction at a faster pace. Wrestlers are expected to exhibit a reasonable degree of maturity, respect for the Level 2 coaching staff, and, most importantly, a developed attention span. Despite those expectations, the atmosphere at Level 2 is still designed to make the experience fun for the boys. Many of the wrestlers on the Level 2 practice team have 2 or more years of experience in the Long Valley Wrestling Program.
There are some first-year wrestlers that, because of their age, begin their careers with the Level 1 practice team. First year 7th or 8th graders, for example, are likely to be most appropriately placed with the Level 1 team. The Level 1 practice environment is fast-paced, often intense, designed for our wrestlers that will compete at the highest levels of competition throughout the season, and modeled after our high school team's practices. The vast majority of our Level 1 practice wrestlers have multiple years of experience, and many are highly-polished and accomplished youth wrestlers.
The Long Valley Wrestling program is unique in that our wrestlers' practice teams are not the same as their competition teams. That is, our 3 practice teams don't necessarily match identically with our competition teams (the Clinic practice team is the closest to the traditional model, as most Clinic wrestlers do compete with the Clinic team).
We compete in the following leagues:
- Tri-County (Kindergarten thru 8th Grade)
- Grade School League (5th Grade thru 8th Grade)
- NorthWest (Kindergarten thru 6th Grade)
- New Jersey Future Stars Wrestling League (2nd Grade to 8th Grade)
Wrestlers on these teams commit to those teams and prioritize their schedules accordingly. A commitment to compete in matches and attend all practices is expected from wrestlers on our competitive teams.
Note, however, that more than half of our wrestlers (our total enrollment is between 100 and 115 wrestlers typically), will NOT wrestle on any of these competitive leagues, as they're not competitively ready to do so. Although it happens, it is rare for 1st-year wrestlers to earn a starting spot on any of our competition teams. For most wrestlers, several years are necessary before they're prepared to compete in actual matches.
On the other hand, we participate in a host of other leagues/organizations that are designed for wrestlers in the early stages of their careers, and afford inexperienced or intermediate wrestlers many opportunities to gain mat experience in more informal wrestling environments:
- Hunterdon-Warren-Morris Novice League
- NorthWest JV
- Morris County King of the Mat (KOM) League
These novice/JV "competition teams" are where most, if not all, of our first-year wrestlers will compete. The commitment by the wrestler and parent is much less arduous, and participation in these events is optional. We do, nevertheless, encourage our young wrestlers to compete in as many events as possible, as wrestlers doing so undoubtedly improve much faster than those who forgo competitive opportunities.
After registration and the first few weeks of practice, we will assign wrestlers to each of these teams; many wrestlers will be assigned to several teams, providing many wrestling opportunities throughout the season. One of the more interesting and ironic realities of our wrestling program is that many of our "starting" wrestlers have fewer matches each season than our non-starters.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) First Practice : The Clinic team will hold its first practice on November 1st, and practice that day will be preceded by a short Parent meeting to answer questions and discuss some basic issues. The Level 1 and 2 practices teams will begin practice the week of November 5th.
2)Practice Location : All practices will be held at West Morris Central High School wrestling room (enter via Four Bridges Road entrance; the wrestling room is in the Field house). On rare occasions, we may schedule practices at alternate locations for individual teams.
3) Practice Times : The November practice schedule is now available at www.mykidscalendar.com. If you are registered, you can click "Add Team Schedule" and add the Level 1, Level 2, or Clinic schedules to your Personal Calendar. If you are not currently registered on MyKidsCalendar, click "Parents Join for Free" on the www.mykidscalendar.com home page. Registration is free for Parents, and takes about 1 minute. Toward the end of October, we will register all the Parents in our program and assure everyone has the correct Team schedules in their MKC Personal Calendar.
4) Practice Attire/Policies : Old t-shirts and shorts/sweatpants are the best clothing options for practice. Please make sure the wrestlers bring no jewelry to practice; glasses are also a good item to avoid if possible (if not, we can obviously work around it). Practices are rarely strenuous at the Clinic level, but more so for the Level 1 and Level 2 wrestlers. Clinic practices are short, so there's no need for water bottles, etc. (but bringing them is certainly not forbidden). Most wrestlers use the school water fountains during Level 2 and Level 1 practice breaks. Also, especially at the Clinic level, please make sure the wrestlers know never to leave the wrestling room without a parent, or a wrestling-affiliated adult, before, during, or after practice.
5) Weather : We'll attempt to notify parents (via email/text message) when practices/matches are canceled due to weather. Unfortunately, those notifications are typically sent in mid-afternoon of the same day of the cancellation. We thus encourage you to check your email before leaving for practice on inclement weather days. Another good rule to note is that if West Morris Central HS is closed or an early dismissal initiated (because of the weather), our practice will be canceled that day.
6) Clinic Practice Format : We try to teach/practice for about 45 minutes of our one-hour practices, and spend the last 15 minutes behaving like children (not just the coaches). Although we do progress very slowly at the Clinic level, and missing practices is by no means a mortal sin, wrestlers that attend practices at a high rate do progress more quickly, and those missing practices consistently do find themselves at a disadvantage as the year progresses.
7) Match Location and Times : Match times and locations vary depending on the competition team. Some of our competitors are nearby (Hackettstown, Mendham), while some are not (Phillipsburg, Delaware Valley). More schedule details will be provided as the season progresses, and our "final" schedule should be established by mid to late November.
8) Headgear : Before our first match - which will most like be in early December - wrestlers will need to obtain a headgear. The cost is approximately $25, and they can be purchased on-line, or at local sporting goods stores like R&S Sports on Route 46 in Budd Lake (973) 347-1944. If a color choice is available, we recommend dark or light blue to match our uniforms. We do have some headgear donated to the program from wrestlers no longer using them, so please check with the coaches before purchasing one. Clinic team wrestlers will not need headgear until early December, and we recommend holding off any purchase until you're certain your wrestler is enjoying the sport and will be continuing through the season.
9) Wrestling Shoes : Wrestling shoes are completely optional, and definitely not required. We strongly recommend not purchasing wrestling shoes until you're certain your child enjoys the sport. We will have an abundance of wrestling shoes available to use free of charge, as past wrestlers who've grown out of their wrestling shoes often donate them back to the program (which we strongly encourage). Although optional, they are definitely nice to have. The investment, however, can run between $25 and $75, and they rarely last more than one season for growing wrestlers.
10) Uniform : All wrestlers will be given a lycra wrestling "singlet" to be used for the season; we ask (more accurately, insist) that it be returned at the season's conclusion. Each wrestler will also receive a team t-shirt and shorts (or sweatpants) to use during the season; the t-shirt and shorts are yours to keep. We encourage the boys to wear their t-shirt and shorts around town (when weather permits) to promote the program. Level 2/older team members may receive sweatshirts in lieu of t-shirts (as well as shorts), also to keep, budget permitting.
11) High School Matches : We strongly encourage all our young wrestlers to attend as many high school matches as possible throughout the year. First, many - if not all - of the West Morris Central high school wrestlers are former Long Valley WolfPack team members, and secondly, it gives young wrestlers an idea of how exciting the sport can be as they get older, encouraging them to continue. The West Morris Central home match schedule is posted on MyKidsCalendar.