Former Waldron wrestler takes Owls reins


For The Tribune

When Todd Weaver was a junior at Waldron High School, he wrestled in the Seymour Semistate in 1987.

Weaver said he enjoyed wrestling in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium, but at the time didn’t dream he would one day be head coach of the Seymour Owls wrestling team.

“I won sectionals and regionals many times, I was a semistate runner up in this gym, “Weaver said. “I still remember wrestling in this gym. It was pretty awesome. I was pretty excited,” he said. “I qualified for state a couple of times. I was OK. I was a decent wrestler.”

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The past five years, Weaver has headed the Owls’ wrestling program.

After graduating from Waldron in 1988, Weaver attended University of Indianapolis.

“I got married, had children and went back to work for my father, in construction,” Weaver said. “I did that for 12 years, and coached the whole time I was doing that. I started to coach at Waldron, and then I went to Columbus East and Columbus North. At one time I was going to school part-time, working construction and coaching, and I was married and had kids. That’s not the traditional way to do things.”

After earning his teacher’s degree, he was offered a teaching job at Greensburg.

“When I got to Greensburg there were eight guys on the team,” Weaver said. “I was there five or six years, and within three years we had kids at state. We had six or seven state qualifiers, and we had five Indiana State All-Stars.

“Then I went to Southport. I was assistant coach there one year, then became head coach (for five years). They didn’t have a youth program going, so I stated the youth program there. I coached the high school practice, and then the first practice of elementary, then a second elementary practice, then I had to drive home (to Seymour), and I wasn’t getting home until 9:30 or 10 o’clock, and eventually it just took its toll, and I couldn’t keep up with that. I was living in Seymour at the time. My wife teaches here.”

He got a teaching job in Seymour, and coached middle school wrestling one year when Curt Schleibaum was head coach.

Schleibaum resigned, and Weaver became head wrestling coach.

“One of the first things I did when I got here, I walked into the gym just to remember,” Weaver said. “I was familiar with this school. I had been in the wrestling room many times. I love the facilities. You can’t beat the facilities.”

Weaver said he coaches differently now than he did when he first started.

“I think a lot of people like to think wrestling has changed a lot, but really it hasn’t,” Weaver said. “Obviously, people are doing new things, but really those new things come from a lot of what we call scrambling.

“It’s basics, basics, basics. You want to under teach and over drill is our philosophy, so whatever it is that we know, we’re going to be great at it. If you have good basics you’ll eliminate a lot of that scrambling that other kids want to do.”

Weaver said he tells his wrestlers to concentrate on their strengths.

“It’s really different for all our wrestlers,” Weaver said. “Some are really good on their feet, some are really good on top. I wouldn’t say we necessarily struggle on the bottom, but I would think if we have work to do it’s mostly on the bottom.

“At the moment I don’t think we have a certain style, unfortunately. There are a lot of teams that think that we’re a little mean and a little physical, and I’m OK with that. So I guess that’s our style, that we’re pretty dang physical.”

Weaver said he lets his wrestlers use moves they feel comfortable with.

“Styles make the match,” Weaver said. “Sometimes you’ve got a move that people can’t stop. If that’s a cradle, then do it; if it’s riding legs and turning guys over for a cross face or whatever, or if it’s hammer locking and putting guys’ arms behind their back do that.

“I don’t really preach that you have to do this because every kids a little different. Maybe one thing that is our style is we really aren’t predictable because you don’t know what the kids going to do because we all wrestle just a little bit different than the other guy.

Over the years the number of weight classes have increased from 12 to 13 to now 14.

The lightest weight is now 106 pounds, and at one time it was 89.

“They’ve taken away those lighter weights because some schools were having trouble filling them,” Weaver said.

“Numbers across the state are actually declining a little bit. One answer the state thought was a good answer was to make a weight class, what used to be 189, then heavyweight, a new weight class. First it started at 215 and now it is 220 so they could draw more football kids out, which sounds like a great idea.”

The heavier classes go from 182 to 195 to 220.

“You have to have overall strength,” Weaver said. “You’ve got to be a strong athlete. You can’t just be strong, you just can’t be athletic, you have to be a strong athlete.

“We always talk about when you’re wrestling a match, you should always learn your opponent. We talk about the same thing with the official. Figure out what this ref does. Sometimes refs have a certain kind of repetition when they get kids ready, so if he gets people ready, and its 1000-1, and he blows the whistle, then try to time that. You try to get every advantage that you can.

Weaver said he has changed the way his kids practice.

“We used to drill a lot more moves every day, now we probably drill a little bit less moves, but we get more repetition,” Weaver said. “I’ve kind of gone back-and-forth which was drill a lot of things a little bit every day, all the way to the other end where we drill a few things a lot. You’re just trying to find that happy medium of what group of kids you’ve got.

“In the beginning of the season it’s a lot of teaching, a lot of drilling. The live wrestling isn’t as much, and we won’t be teaching anything at the end of the season. It will just be drilling certain things and working on conditioning, working on mat strategy and that type of stuff.”

He said having a youth wrestling club is key to success.

“The ISWA is our state membership with USA Wrestling,” Weaver said. “We start them as peewees, which is 4, 5-years-old, and there is plenty of places for them to go wrestle, so we offer it at that age.

“I think the perfect age for kids to start wrestling is probably the second grade. When we do our beginners, kindergarten and first grade, we go once a week, and it’s pretty much based on we’re going to teach some wrestling but it’s going to be all game based. As soon as you learn something, the way we reinforce it is through some wrestling game.

“When you start getting to second and third grade, it’s not that it gets a lot more serious, but well start drilling a little bit more, the practices are a little bit longer and we go a couple days a week, and just keep progressing as out get to fourth and fifth grade. In sixth grade you’re at our Level III so know quite a few moves, be able to perform quite a few moves and be ready for middle school.”

One of Weaver’s favorite facets of coaching is seeing kids develop.

“The part I probably look forward to the most is when you watch a kid get better,” Weaver said. “Some of it, too, is when you see a kid not get better. How you going to figure out how to get that kid to have some sort of breakthrough and get better. That’s kind of the challenge, too.

“It’s nice to sit back and see a kid get better, but it’s also nice to have a challenge where ‘this kid is not having success, what can I do to help him?”

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