20 Questions – Lexington Coach Derek Strobel

Strobel, Lexington High School

questions w/ South Carolina Wrestling State Championship Coaches

First off, can you list the years and schools that you have
coached at in your career and all of your coaching accomplishments?
(Club, Middle School, JV, Varsity, College etc…) I have been the head
coach at Lexington High School for 18 years. 

This was my first job out of college.  We have made it to the
state dual finals 4 times and won it in 2013.  We also won the
traditional state tournament in 2012 and 2013.

How did you get started in wrestling? (competing as a kid,
wrestling in MS/HS, or your kids got you involved etc…)

I started wrestling in 7th grade because my brothers wrestled the year

What were your accomplishments in high school, college, etc…?

I was a state champion in high school and went on to wrestle at Clemson
University.  I started for Clemson my redshirt freshmen
year.  When Clemson dropped the program I transferred to
Appalachian State.  I was a 2x Southern Conference Champion
and 2x NCAA Div. 1 qualifier.

What is your favorite memory in wrestling so far?

Winning a team state title because we were so close before
and didn’t.

What are your expectations for your teams this year?

Our expectations for the most part don’t change from year to
year.  Our goal is to compete at a high level against all of
our competition and to get better on a daily basis to put ourselves in
a position to compete for a state championship.

Can you highlight some of your wrestlers on this year’s team
and your thoughts on them?

Jacob Brasseur is a returning state champion that has put in the time
and effort to possibly break the all times win record at
Lexington.  Nick Kalmanowicz is a senior that has been in our
line up off and on for the past 2 years.  He has beaten
multiple state placers and we look forward to having him in as a
permanent starter.  Ryan Kerr was also a starter last year
that got injured so we lost him halfway through the season.
He is back and ready to go.

How big is your high school team? (MS, JV, Varsity or just
high school kids etc…)

We have MS through Varsity

Do you have any recruiting tips for helping young coaches out
there who are starting teams or coaching for the first time to recruit
wrestlers for their team?

A good coach doesn’t always have to have the best athletes.
You are there to COACH.  Wrestling isn’t for
everyone.  Some people are scared, some make excuses, but the
ones that stick it out….work with them. That’s the kind of kid you want.

What does your preseason look like in preparation for the
upcoming season? 

We either lift or wrestle 4 days a week.

Now what about your in-season, any specific training you do
different from others or things you focus on more?

Nothing really different from anyone else.  The big thing is
knowing your athletes and when you can push them or give them a break.

What does your off season look like in the spring/summer?

We go to off season tournaments, camps, duals, etc… along with lifting
and practice 3 days a week.

Do you have specific diets for your wrestlers during season?

And what about after they make weight, what do you have your athletes
put in their bodies after weigh-ins? Carbs and water.

How do you feel about the new rules regarding the two piece
uniform? Are you in favor of it? Is your team going to wear them? Do
you think it will impact recruitment?

I am totally in favor of it.  I think that if a kid doesn’t
want to wear a singlet he won’t come out.  Now that excuse is
gone.  Once they get involved with wrestling the singlet won’t
be an issue.

What do you think of the new rules for getting near-fall and
pins out of bounds? What strategies will you go through with your
athletes about the team techniques & situations in this area?

The less we stop the match the better.  I think it will make
kids wrestle on the edge more and it will make kids more aggressive on
the edge.

Give us your thoughts on dual sport athletes or do you think
kids should specialize in sports? 

I think that if you are young and you are only doing one
sport you are doing yourself a disservice. Studies have shown that kids
that play multiple sports do better than kids that
specialize.  Once you get up in to high school (10th-11th
grade) if you know this is what you want to do or you are way better at
a certain sport than fine.  You need to work in breaks from
the sport though.

Has wrestling improved in the state of South Carolina over
the years? Why do think this?

Yes it has.  I think coaching has gotten better as far as more
coaches that have actually wrestled and not just some football coach
getting a paycheck to do it.  I also think the amount of youth
wrestlers getting national competition has helped our state.

What is the most difficult thing you face as a South Carolina
high school wrestling coach?
Lack of support from student body.  Because of
that, many kids could care less about coming out to wrestle.
The other thing is kids quitting.  Its to easy for kids to
just quit now and its ok.  It’s not ok.  Once you
quit, it becomes easier and easier which is not a great habit to have.

Should there be a limit on the number of matches that
wrestlers can have during the season? Or should it be the number of
dates a team can compete? Explain. 

I like the date thing.  We never use all of our dates for the
varsity team. You can get plenty of matches the way tournaments are
structured now a days without having to use 16 dates.  Plus
that is a lot of weigh ins for your kids.

Who is going to be the top teams in the state this season?
Top individuals?

Well on paper the teams that have a lot of returns and
state qualifiers are the ones that are given the nod in the
rankings.  Eastside, FT. D, West Oak, BHP.  But you
never know what happens throughout the season. What teams jump levels,
who gets hurt, etc….

20.    What
is one question you would like to ask other successful coaches like
yourself in our state?

What do you do to make sure your kids get to a college that they want
to go to and wrestle? How often do you email or text those
coaches?  When do you start that?

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