Train with the Best
Alber Athletics is founded and ran by Josh Alber, undefeated (184-0) 4-time IHSA state champion for Dakota High School. While at Dakota High School, he was also a part of the state championship teams as a junior and senior. Josh went on to wrestle Division I for the University of Northern Iowa. While at UNI, he was a 4-time NCAA qualifier, 2-time Midlands finalist and the 2018 141 lbs Midlands champion. He was also a Junior US Open All-American.
During his athletic career he had the opportunity to be coached by some of the best in the sport. As a kid he attended Overtime School of Wrestling in Naperville, IL. At that time it was the premier club in the United States and ran by Sean Bormet, current coach of the Michigan Wolverines. At UNI he was under the tutelage of Doug Schwab, NCAA Division I Champion and 2008 Olympian.
After his collegiate career, he returned to Dakota High School as an assistant coach. He was a member of the coaching staff for the 2020 state championship team.
Since opening it's doors in the summer of 2020, Alber Athletics has produced multiple state champions and a national champion. Training at Alber Athletics allows you to succeed on and off the mat. The coaches strive to allow you to achieve your goals and hold you accountable in all aspects of your life.
The cream rises to the top. As parents and coaches it can be easy to look at our athletes' bracket and start to become worried. However, if your athlete has been prepared the right way you should be confident that they will rise to the occasion. Wrestlers may be able to get away with cutting corners throughout the season, but the state tournament seems to have a way of exposing everybody's effort. Bad calls, minor injuries, and deficits can all be overcome by an athlete that has been putting in the work and is well prepared.
The way you talk to your athlete and the way your athlete talks to him/herself matters. The athletes that felt like they needed to protect their seed or who thought they were expected to win often wrestled too tight. Those who looked at each match as life and death, usually found death. The athletes that competed with gratitude and enthusiasm had much more success. The attitude that says, "I am just grateful for the opportunity to be here showing off my skills." or "How lucky am I that I get to wrestle in front of thousands of fans, friend or foe." The wrestler that can keep this perspective almost always wrestles with freedom and confidence. They shoot faster, scramble harder, and perform better than the guy who thinks the world will end if they lose a wrestling match.
After any big tournament, I always have athletes and parents who fell short ask me the same question. "When are practices again?" It is easy to feel motivated when the sting of defeat is still fresh, but can you stay persistent and dedicated 6 months from now when this year's state tournament is distant in the rearview mirror? Coach Schwab used to tell us that national titles weren't won those three days in March, but in the middle of July. When your opponents are at the swimming pool and you are in a stuffy room drilling finishes to your sweep single, that's when your state title is being won. If you aren't willing to sacrifice free time and train 10-11 months a year, then your promise to do whatever it takes is lip service.
Most youth/hs wrestlers are lacking in tactical intelligence. We drill them to death and train them to be able to wrestle for days, but we neglect to train them tactically. Does your athlete know how to wrestle with a lead? Do they know how to get a fresh start on the edge? Do they have awareness of where they are on the mat at all times? It is frustrating to see a kid who has done all the work to earn a lead, lose in the last 30 seconds because of an errant shot or because they break position. As a coach it is easy to feel anxious when a match is close. So we coax our athletes into trying to "ice" the match in order for us to feel more comfortable. Of course there is a time to do this, but many times this can be a bad strategy. You and your wrestler need to be able to read the situation and the opponent. If your opponent has been defensive the entire match and it is clear their goal is to keep it close in order to catch you at the end, then you can assume they think you're better than them. Don't play into their game by taking a bad shot or getting yourself into a scramble at the end. Sometimes it's ok to say, "I've done all the work to earn the lead. I'm going to stand right here in the center, hold head/hand position, and make YOU take some risks. Come score on me, I don't think you have it in you."
The beautiful thing about wrestling is there are 1000 ways to win. Some coaches, parents, and athletes might see things differently than I do. I can only speak from experience. I have been the guy that has wrestled to protect and I have been the guy who competed with gratitude and excitement. I have lost close matches and I have held onto razor thin leads. I have been lazy and I have been disciplined for years at a time. I share my thoughts because I know there are hard working kids and families out there that have the will to win, but don’t know how. These are the kids that I look forward to coaching.