Welcome to the Matt Gentry Wrestling website.  Learn about Matt's Olympic wrestling career from his travels, training, and competitions around the world.  Read up on Matt's background and accomplishments, find out what he believes made him successful in the coach's corner, or get in touch with him.  You can also read his latest blog entries. Order a Matt Gentry t-shirt to show your support.   BELIEVE! 

  

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Drug Testing Story

I had a somewhat humorous circumstance happen last week. As some of you know, The Stanford Athletic Department has a huge endowment, and there is a group of very successful people who manage that endowment through various financial means to grow the fund and kickoff revenue for the operating budget (millions of dollars per year). They had one of their semi-annual meetings recently, and asked me and another Olympian to come in at the end of the meeting so we could go through a quick Q and A session.

We had practice at 3:45 like usual, and I had to be there by 5 pm to go give my talk. I was planning on walking out of practice at around 4:30, giving me enough time to shower and get over there, but at 4:15, drug testers showed up. Of all the days, and I had to provide a sample and there was no way that I could do it in 15 minutes (the paperwork alone takes that long, and I had just gone to the bathroom). I called the coordinator of the event and asked her if she wanted me to be late or whatnot, but she said to bring them with me. At this point, I didn't have a choice, the rules are very clear, once you have been 'randomly selected' for a surprise testing, they can't leave until you do. I downed about a gallon of water, and hurried on over there to wait, and wait, and wait. The meeting went about 30 minutes late before I even went up there, and by this time 1- I could have got the test done with plenty of time to spare, and 2- I really had to pee. Meanwhile, the testers were very patient with the whole situation, and the MC of the night used it as an icebreaker to get everyone to laugh. It all ended up OK, i'm just surprised that I have been tested so many times since the Olympics (twice now). I figured they might have backed off afterward, but I guess not.

In case you didn't know, drug testing is a major part of international competing, as of course it has a huge influence on the Games and gets a lot of media attention. Canada is very strict about its policies, and so I am required to fill out a 'whereabouts' form for every day of the year. I am required to provide my schedule, addresses, times during the day I will be at different places, hotel information, and a one-hour time slot where I am guaranteed to be at a place of my choosing. I have to do this every three months. You can edit it all online, but still, I have no idea if I might plan a last minute trip out of town for the weekend or something (not that I ever had a chance before the Olympics). It is crazy, if the drug testers show up when you aren't there during your guaranteed 1-hour, then it is a strike, and 3 strikes is an automatic failed drug test and 2 year ban from competition. Pretty intense. Those are the rules, but they aren't followed quite that stringently, because that is too extreme. Last year, I forgot to update my whereabouts and the drug testers showed up at Stanford when I was actually in Iran. oops.

Anyway, it's a part of the lifestyle so it actually isn't that bad.
OK, hope all is well,
Matt

Condoleezza Rice

You are probably thinking, what does Condoleezza Rice have to do with Matt Gentry Wrestling? Nothing really, other than we worked out next to each other last week. Kind of worked out next to each other. As in she was doing her thing, our wrestling team was doing our thing and there was nobody else in the gym.

It basically went like this:

6:30 AM we have team lifts for the Stanford team. We told our team that there might be some distractions in the weight room this morning, and that Rice and security detail were in the gym, but focus on the job at hand and get good work in. The guys didn't believe us.

....as we started our lift...
athlete- wow, I think that actually is Rice.
coach- what, you didn't believe me?
athlete- yeah, but is that normal?
coach- It's Stanford, of course it's normal.

We thought about saying hi or giving her some Stanford Wrestling apparel to wear, but considering she was working out in a deserted gym at 6 AM, we took it to mean she didn't want to be bothered.

Anyway, other posts coming soon.

Matt

Peaking

I had somebody email to ask me what my thoughts are on peaking for the end of the year, so I thought that if I answered them, I might as well post it for everyone. Peaking is a tricky thing. Too little training and you have not achieved your physical capacity. Too much training leads to overtraining. I really believe the body is capable of doing amazing feats of endurance and strength, so I believe that overtraining isn't necessarily because your body did too much, but it is a result of under-resting. I kind of stole this philosophy from working with Kerry McCoy, and the result of these thoughts were that you have to organize your year/months/weeks/days so that you maximize both work and recovery. I hope that makes sense. I will skip all the periodization in training where you cycle in a long-term frame of time through high and low intensity workouts, until we get to the month before you want to peak.

By this time you should have a very solid conditioning base, and your body should be able to work hard and recover from the workouts. Even a tough workout shouldn't wreck your body for the rest of the week. It is important to be able to stack tough workouts together, especially when your competition schedule only allows you to get a couple days of hard training per week. At this point, we don't do a lot of teaching, but we do a lot of repetition drilling at a high intensity. You should know the techniques by now and be able to execute them quickly and hard, ESPECIALLY when you are tired. One of my favorite things to do is after live wrestling when they are exhausted, to have our guys do drilling (something my coaches in Vancouver did a lot of in prepping for the Olympics). You have to force yourself to stay sharp when you are tired, because often at the end of a match when you need to score is the most important time to have solid technique. A lot of the time, when kids get fatigued, their technique gets sloppy and training the body when it is tired is a way of helping.

As far as the live wrestling, I like mixing it up between longer and shorter goes, but lean more towards shorter goes that are high intensity. Stuff that is 30 seconds to 2 minutes in duration and makes them wrestle hard (make them down by a point and have to score, pushups if you don't, etc.). That will usually get them to scrap. I already did a post a couple months ago on conditioning, and we finish up practice with conditioning. One thing that makes them mentally tough is to throw in some overtimes, or multiple overtimes, or something that really makes you grit your teeth and go hard. It is mentally challenging when the first person that scores 2-4 takedowns wins, or first person to score 3 takedowns in a row wins, something that is an undefined amount of time. Hopefully you have guys that don't back down. I would have a couple really brutal days and then a lighter day in a week and most teams will have to do something a little light if they have a competition mid-week. You don't want to kill guys the day before a match, so those are good teaching days if you have to.

The week before competition is when I like to start my taper. The drilling becomes really important, because I like to maintain my conditioning with high intensity drilling because that gets your heart rate up if you do it properly, and then for live do a match simulations (a match with a partner). At that point, I don't do a lot of live wrestling, so my body doesn't wear down as much. The last few days would be maybe 40 minutes of drilling followed by one match to get that live feel, so it is only a little over an hour workout with warm-up and cool down. One thing is to not be afraid to go hard when you are supposed to. If you are cutting back on the volume, it is good to go hard in your practice because your body should be recovering a lot more because you aren't training as much.

It is hard to deal with specifics when it comes to peaking, but I hope these suggestions help. If you have any questions about a program in particular, let me know,

Matt

Guelph Open

Seriously? Has it been a month since I posted something here? Especially when I have such good material.

Like the fact that I competed last weekend in Guelph, Ontario at the Guelph Open? And that even without being 100% prepared training-wise, I was very relaxed and won the tournament?

Its kind of a long story, but Stanford had a dual meet in Colorado Springs 3 weeks ago. We had some free time and I knew the Canadian National Team was in town training at the Olympic training Center, so I popped over for a workout. Even with the elevation, I did pretty well and was really happy with my technique and conditioning. It also made me want to wrestle.

So the very next weekend, Stanford was off and it was a great opportunity for me to go to Guelph to compete. I really like the Guelph team and it was fun to see all the people from the Olympics that I haven't seen in a while. At the competition, I had 3 matches (although i should have had 4 as my first opponent didn't show up- I was left standing in the middle of the mat and eventually they just raised my hand) Anyway, my second match, I wrestled a guy from Montreal, and won 2-0, 7-0, I did some good stuff. In the semis, I wrestled another guy from Montreal, and won 3-0, 1-0. The second period went to clinch and he won the flip, but I avoided the takedown.

The clinch is a 30 second tiebreaker if the match is still 0-0 after 2 minutes. They flip a coin, whoever wins gets to start with the leg. If he scores he wins, if he fails to score or gets scored on, then the other guy wins. If you win the flip it is about a 90-95% success rate, so I was happy to win defensively since it doesn't happen often.

In the finals, I wrestled my third opponent from Montreal. I'm pretty sure their coach was getting tired of wrestling me, but I won 1-0, 1-0. I could have done more, I was a little lazy, but he didn't score and it was the same opponent that I had to beat to make the Olympic team, so it was a good match.

Anyway, the trip overall was great, although it was -16 Celsius. Do you know how cold that is? I was invited to the banquet held for the Guelph team that night, I showed up and was the only non-Guelph teammember there at a formal affair with speeches and a fancy dinner. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt with running shoes, while everyone else was in a suit, but it was still fun.

Hope all is well. Look soon for an article in peaking...
Best,
Matt

Merry Christmas!

Hello all,

Merry Christmas (albeit a bit late). I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable time. I know traveling was crazy, my sister had a heck of a time getting back to my parents' house in Oregon. She made it, luckily. My brother unfortunately, did not make it home from the Philippines. He is working there and could not get enough time off to make up for the long and expensive flight, which was a bummer. I am now back at Stanford coaching the team, and we are getting ready for our next competition on January 3rd in Texas. We dual Harvard, Army, and Oklahoma so it should be a good test.

Best,
Matt

Apology/Conditioning

I just wanted to let everyone know that I made a big mistake. I said Phil went to Palo Alto HS, and I meant Gunn HS. I know he goes to Gunn, I'm not sure what I was thinking. Those schools are rivals, probably not a good idea to be getting them mixed up. It's like saying Berkeley when you mean Stanford or North Valley when you mean Hidden Valley or Japan when you mean China. I'm pretty sure war has been started for less.

Anyway, thanks to Mr. Doe (Patrick?) for the suggestion to keep my coaching postings going. I have started to have some convictions in my coaching philosophies as I start to put them into practice, so I guess it won't hurt to write about them also. I'm sure they will grow and change over time, but these are the things going through my head right now.

Today I ran our team conditioning. Jason, Ray, Vic, and I usually run all parts of practice, whether it is warm-up, technique, drilling, live, conditioning, or cool-down and today I finished up the day by putting the team through about 15 minutes of conditioning.

Sometimes it is tough to run conditioning. If you have the right type of athlete and are confident in them, you know that whatever task you give them they will do as hard as they possibly can. But a LOT of people will coast or not go as hard as possible, or even the best will have an off day where it is hard to mentally push themselves to their physical limits and beyond. That is why I am there. I get to push, coax, demand whatever that you go harder than you think you can, and get you to push past your comfort zones and the limits you put on yourself. But that is difficult, because I can't make an athlete do the work. Ultimately they still have to do it. There are some things I can do, like tell them to get 2 sprints down and back in 22 seconds, that has a set goal and very clear meauring stick. Either you hit your time or you didn't and need to get back on the wall (we call them Sprints in the Hole and run them with 2 groups, 22 seconds for the work, 20 seconds for the next group to get on the wall. What happens is you get about 1 minute of rest for every 22 seconds of work, but when you work, you REALLY have to go hard to get your time, and the team starts hitting failure after 4-6 of them depending on how hard their practice was.). But coming up with a lot of different exercises where you can judge the whole team is tough. You can do pushups for example, but you might not catch everyone if they have their butt in the air or don't go all the way down. Like I said before, if you have the right people that are going to do it right, this isn't an issue. You can't really be successful by taking the easy way out, but apparently it is human nature.

Anyway, today I had to trust the guys were going to push themselves and I was VERY happy with how they did. We started off just jogging in a circle around the room, and I talked them through a wrestling match as I called out 'sprint' or 'recover'. What I mean is I had them jog like they were getting ready for a match, then when I yell sprint it is like the first period and they have to go out hard and set the tone and be offensive and go get a takedown. I picked a few individuals and once they had passed somebody or when I thought the group was working hard enough they jogged and get ready for the second period and so on. Then we did a 6 minute tobata. Tobatas are pretty tough, but again you really have to push yourself. It is a structured, 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, where you alternate between 2 exercises. I chose mountain climbers and jumping knee tucks (which suck by the way). Every time somebody did a double jump when they landed on the knee tuck we added a set. It was pretty tough, Then we finished up with pushups, but it took a while for the whole group to do them right. I don't care if they do 15 or 50, but they had better do them right. It took about 2 minutes (I'm not kidding here) for our group to get into perfect pushup position and do 17 pushups. After that they did about 2 minutes of burnout pushups that really got their shoulders going. Once they hit failure they went to their knees and kept going and it was a competition to see who could go longest.

Total Time 15 minutes. Conditioning usually doesn't have to be too long, but it needs to be mentally challenging. Wrestling is mentally tough, and you need to train your mind to keep going even when you are tired, and that is the purpose of conditioning. The side benefit is you get in great shape, but the TRUE benefit is a 'grit-your-teeth and keep going' attitude about working hard when you are physically tired. That way in a match, you don't mentally break or give up EVER. It is all in your mind. Your body could keep going forever, I'm convinced of that, and there are literally thousands of stories about amazing feats of human endurance, strength, stamina, etc. It is just getting these kids to believe it and not listen to what their mind is saying. It is simple and all it takes is enough practice going past their comfort zones, because that is going to keep pushing their physical limits until eventually they never hit that limit in a wrestling match.

I love conditioning. It is one of the best parts of our sport. It is such an equalizer, because anybody can be in great shape, but only the toughest actually get there. One of my favorite t-shirts is pretty ratty that says "WRESTLING: Character Building, Character Revealing". How true is that? It was from the Grants Pass Middle School District tournament or something and I traded it from a 7th grader for a Stanford Wrestling Shirt the year I graduated college. Pretty good deal if you ask me. It really simply illustrates why most wrestlers are attracted to the mentality of the sport and only a wrestler will understand that, I don't need to explain. Now I just wish I could find it.

Anyway, this rant started as a quick post and now it is so long nobody will even read the whole thing. Let me know what you think.

Keep working- keep pushing past your limits, on the wrestling mat and off it-
Matt

______________________
Matt Gentry
Stanford University
Assistant Wrestling Coach
650-723-9486 (office)
650-725-8642 (fax)
GO CARDINAL!

Update

Hello Folks,

It has been quite a while since I posted something. I guess I thought my blog was more about my training, competitions, and travel experiences, but people have been asking me about my blog (here's a shout out to Phil Park from Gunn HS).

A quick update. I am still coaching full time, we are in the middle of our season, if you would like to be on our email list, send me an email and I will make sure you are on there. It is going OK, we are very young and inexperienced, but the guys have a lot of heart, so that is a good thing, because you can't teach heart. Now we still need to get better technically and a little tougher, but it iwll happen.

I still workout pretty much everyday, but i'm not training. There is a big difference. Today I wrestled over 30 minutes of live wrestling, which is a pretty big day, but it wasn't hard. Normally, I would be exhausted because of how hard I would push myself for 30 minutes, but today I beat up some of our guys and coasted where I could. I don't want anyone to tell the guys that if they pushed the pace, I would probably get tired. Maybe they will figure it out sometime.

Anyway, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I would love to hear from you.

Best,
Matt

Port Alberni Pics/YMCA

I just received some pictures from my trip to Port Alberni this summer in late July to train before we left for the Olympics. In Port Alberni we wrestled a couple exhibition matches in front of a live crowd and did a few days of training. Travis Cross, our Olympian at 84 kg. is a firefighter there, so his fire hall hosted us for a breakfast and let us play with the hoses, which are super intense. It was pretty fun. We also relaxed at the lake on our afternoon off, so all in all, it was a pretty great trip. It is a gorgeous and a very friendly town, and it was a pretty great place to be. Hope you enjoy the pics.

Also, tomorrow, November 6th, I'll be attending (or speaking I think as well?) a YMCA celebration of Olympians. I'm not exactly sure what the exact purpose of the event is, but I think it has something to do with inspiring youth. We'll find out.

Introductions at the exhibition:
Intro

Signing autographs for the town, I felt like a celebrity!

Signing autographs

That is me at the top, I can't believe I did that.
climbing ladder

the small hose:
the small hose

The big hose that took 2 people to handle. It was tiring!
the big hose

Nicholas, Travis' 22 month old son gets his own scaled down hose:
little hose

The dock and lake. This is the life!
dock

The crew at the lake. Good guys.
crew at the lake

I also wanted to mention my girlfriend Emily, who is a crazy Notre Dame football fan!

Life without training

I am enjoying being a coach right now and taking a 'mental break' from wrestling. I don't feel a sense of urgency when I am in the wrestling room to maximize my time and push myself to the limits. Instead I'm really enjoying teaching and trying to get the most out of our guys. I still wrestle quite a bit of course, but the focus is totally different and I'm enjoying the more relaxed state of mind.

My life off the mat has also been pretty good. I went elk hunting with my dad and got my first elk. Bowhunting has been a passion of mine and after 12 years of working hard, it finally paid off. I was also able to go back to South Bend, Indiana for the Notre Dame vs. Stanford football game. Emily graduated from Notre Dame so it was great to see that part of her life. It is a beautiful campus, almost as pretty as Stanford's. That's quite a compliment. I was the only one wearing Stanford red in my section at the football game and when Stanford was making a run in the 4th quarter to tie the game, I thought I was going to get kicked out. Those Notre Dame fans are not very friendly where football is concerned, Emily included.

It really struck me that I'm not in training mode at the supermarket this last weekend. Since I've been trying to gain weight the last 2.5 years, I've been drinking whole milk, and loving it. For the first time in a long time, I switched to 2&37; milk this week, but I don't know if I'll stick with it....

This isn't to say that I won't compete, I'm just taking this time to enjoy myself, and I'm staying up late watching movies or playing HALO 3 on xbox with my uncle or reading instead of worrying about having to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night.

Also, Stanford did an honoring of its 47 Olympians for homecoming last weekend, and about 15 Olympians were in attendance. It was pretty neat, there was a moderator and we were asked a couple questions in front of a crowd. I was actually asked only one question, and I was disappointed, so I had to go ahead and ask myself a second question about what I brought back from the Olympics. A sweet russian fur cap from the silk market.

Anyway, here is a picture from the event, we were told to wear our Opening Ceremonies gear, but I couldn't bring myself to wear them, so I modified it a bit. It was very windy that day and since our gear was made for hot, humid weather, I was freezing! You can check out a picture here.

Anyway, hope all is well, let me know if there is anything I can do.

Matt

Olmpic NBC Program

Hi all,

I wanted to share a video with you. It is from the NBC Channel 5 that is produced out of Medford, Oregon, about 30 miles from my house. The producer, Craig Smullen, put in a lot of effort and did a great job and a lot of research into the clip, and I wanted to thank him.

Please click here to visit it:
YouTube video from NBC Channel 5

Thanks to my buddy Mike for converting it from a DVD and uploading it to youtube.

Also, I have some sweet pics that I am going to upload soon and have some updates on the happenings in the my life....