As a wrestling coach, you have a multitude of duties to attend to even in the off-season. From making sure your athletes continue to work out and perform conditioning drills to ordering new wrestling gear for the team, there’s plenty to keep you busy throughout the spring and summer.

One of your most important tasks during the off-season is to schedule your team’s meets and tournaments for the upcoming year. If your school belongs to the state athletic association, then you’ll likely have a series of regular tilts against the other squads in your conference, but you’ll also have a lot of open dates where you can enter events of your choosing.

Creating an effective wrestling schedule isn’t as easy as it sounds, though, so here are some tips to keep in mind:

Begin planning as early as possible

The most popular tournaments in the area tend to fill up quickly, so you’ll have to begin planning in the spring if you want your team to score a coveted invite. Instead of looking through wrestling gear websites all day, use your time wisely by scouring the Internet for information on the events you want to join or calling other coaches and athletic directors to secure a place for your team.

Be aware of the rules

Many high school athletic associations or other governing bodies limit the number of wrestling tournaments a team can compete in during the season. To ensure that you don’t inadvertently run afoul of the higher-ups and disqualify your athletes from the state tournament, it’s incumbent upon you to read all competition guidelines and be fully aware of the rules as you create your schedule.

Consider the logistics and expense of traveling

While going to that two-day tournament downstate would give your athletes a memorable experience, can you reasonably work out the logistics? Most teams have to operate within very tight budget constraints, so unless you want to be stuck with old wrestling gear for the next several seasons, you should enter more local events.

Start early in the season and avoid excessive downtime

Don’t waste several weeks of the season thinking your athletes need extra time to get in shape or break in their wrestling gear. Instead, schedule your first meet for immediately after the required number of practice days (typically 10-14) has been fulfilled. You should also avoid excessive downtime between events so your athletes can remain in top competitive form.

Peak at the right time

For most teams, the goal is to qualify for and perform well at the state wrestling tournament, so take that into consideration as you make your schedule. Most coaches want January to be the team’s busiest month, which allows the athletes to reach their peak right as February’s qualifying events come up.

You might have to take a slightly different approach to scheduling based on variables such as the number of wrestlers on your team or their individual skill levels. But generally speaking, the above tips should apply to most situations and can help you create a highly effective schedule for your wrestling season.