The Noble and Greenough School was the first high school in the country to add PlaySight technology for its varsity wrestling program before this season started. We recently caught up with head coach Charles Danhof to discuss the year and how PlaySight impact his team and their overall performance on the mats.
Charles, how long have you been working with the Nobles wrestling program?
This is my 2nd year. In 2015-2016, Steve Toubman and I were co-head coaches. He still assists the program, and I am the head coach now. We also have two other assistants, Kevin Gerhart and Steve Jordan, and a middle school coach, Eric Nguyen.
Tell us a bit about the school and the program and hits history.
Wrestling has been a sport at Nobles since 1947. Since then, there has been a storied history with various New England place winners and some prep national place winners. Since 1981, Steve Toubman has coached the team and brought with him great stability to the program, creating a rich set of loyal alums who have all been made better by their involvement in Nobles Wrestling.
How did you first hear about PlaySight?
Our Athletic Director first hear about PlaySight because of its use by the Golden State Warriors. As a basketball coach, he was intrigued by the program.
What went into the decision to add a SmartCourt to your facility?
The AD met with a donor who wanted to contribute, and from there, the idea came to me and the other wrestling coaches. We thought this technology had such potential for a wrestling team that we wanted to give it a try.
What role does real-time video play in wrestling? How about video and film review in general?
Video review is so helpful in wrestling. Wrestling is arguably the most nuanced sport there is in terms of the amount of moves you can hit on your opponent and the amount of moves that you might have to prepare to defend. Being able to see body positioning is helpful in order to understand how to execute your offensive and defensive moves. Some wrestlers work really well by feel; others work better after seeing. During practice, we do not slow things down much, but we do on occasion for the wrestler that will learn best from seeing himself execute a technique. After practice is where much of the learning comes in because any of the wrestlers can go back and review any moment in practice, to see himself or to watch a teammate execute a technique well.
Do you see technology having an impact on engagement on the mats and after practices/training sessions?
Yes, in fact, some of the wrestlers started to watch clips from practice quite often. They could watch the techniques that were shown on days they missed, and they could also go over concepts that they did not feel as confident about in practice.
Do you think by having film review, your wrestlers have an edge over the competition?
Yes, they have one more tool that helps them to more quickly pick up technique. One of the new wrestlers to the team this year started talking to me about a move that I had taught, but then I realized that I taught the move during a practice when he was not in attendance. Once I caught the discrepancy, he told me that he had watched PlaySight. I was pretty fired up that a first-year wrestler was back home watching practice on his own when he could have been doing many other things.