USA Wrestling 20 Questions for Ter...

20 Questions for Terry Steiner

By John Fuller | May 06, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)

1. After nine months as the National Women's Coach, how do you feel things have progressed? Steiner: I think we have definitely grown during our first nine months - I have tried to challenge them technically, physically and mentally. They are starting to understand what it takes to win at a high level. The girls have responded very well. 2. What has been the hardest part of acclimating to your new position? Steiner: Acclimating really hasn't been a hard thing for me. These girls are athletes just like anyone else - and coaching is coaching. I think the hardest part has been trying to get this point across to the nay sayers of women's wrestling , but if they just opened their minds, they would also see what I have. 3. In your opinion, is a difference between coaching men and women? Steiner: We deal with different issues off of the mat but on the mat really there is no difference. The girls are more open and definitely let you know when something is wrong but this is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I like that open communication. 4. How much do you feel the women have improved since you came on board? Steiner: I do feel we have made strides, but I can't take all the credit. I think the girls being in the same room together and having great competition for each other every day has been a huge for the women. Also, having a great, positive environment, like the OTC, with all of the resources available at all times is also key in developing these young women. 5. How much more do they have to improve to get the U.S. back to the top of the world in women's wrestling? Steiner: We can always improve. We just have to keep getting better day by day, practice by practice. If we can do this, we will achieve our goals both as individuals and as a program. We just have to stay focused. 6. Which wrestler has made the most strides since you took over the coaching position? Steiner: It is really hard to pinpoint one individual when they all have grown so much, but Tela O'Donnell, Marcie Van Dusen, and Sally Roberts have really shown me a lot of positives. 7. Is there a young wrestler that the nation has not seen much of yet that you feel could have a major impact in 2004? Steiner: I think their are a couple. Ali Bernard and Samantha Lang have shown competitiveness, consistency, and poise for their age. Time will tell what their impact will be in 2004. 8. Being in such a different role than you were before, has there been anyone that you have turned to for guidance? Steiner: I really try to learn from every one. I think, just as an athlete, you cannot stop learning as a coach. Steve Fraser has been very helpful for me in this new position. We think a lot alike and he has been a great asset to me. Also, a guy like Art Martori, with such a great business sense, has been very helpful. 9. Based on the efforts you have seen, how much has the Women's Resident Program at the Olympic Training Center helped the U.S. women to become better on the mat? Steiner: The resident program at the OTC is an essential part of our success for women's wrestling. We couldn't do it if we didn't have a place like the USOTC to come together and compete. 10. I have noticed a lot of foreign teams bringing their women to train with ours. How does this help our women to improve on the World and Olympic level? Steiner: I want to expose the women to as many different styles and training programs as I can. If we can be around a different team every couple of months, this is very benefical in our development. Plus, it keeps us sharp and we begin to realize that we can and should be on the top in this sport. 11. Countries are known for different things in international wrestling. What would you say the U.S. women are best at and worst at? Steiner: I think, just like the men, we are known for our conditioning and grinding style of wrestling. We probably have had trouble in the past in following a good match strategy and carrying out a plan for each opponent. 12. Can you start to tell in how some of the women are training that their first Olympic opportunity is right around the corner? How? Steiner: I definitely feel a sense of urgency with the girls. They want to be on this first history making team. Mostly, what I see is them focusing day to day on the process of achieving the goal. They are pretty focused individuals. 13. Are you excited for the World Championships to be held in New York City this year? Steiner: It should be a great event. I think the girls are excited to show our country and the world that women's wrestling is a credible sport and to change peoples minds toward it. It is also an Olympic qualifier. We must be top five in the worlds to qualify the weight, so it won't hurt to have a home crowd advantage. We would just as soon qualify all of our weights in September in New York than have to do it later. 14. What are your expecations for this year's squad at the World Championships? Steiner: I expect us to be very competitive and bring home a lot of hardware. 15. How do you feel about the rule that allows women who placed second or third at the Trials in the Olympic weights to move up or down and challenge the non-Olympic weight winner? Steiner: I feel that to grow our program, we must field the best team we can. I know some of the athletes may not like it, but I also realize that they are still in a sport were you can prove yourself and earn the spot. It wouldn't be an issue if we had seven Olympic weights but how it stands with only four, a lot of girls are flocking to the Olympic weights. I think it is very important to have the option to have the second trial. 16. There has been talk about the possible re-addition of a weight class following the 2004 Olympics. Do you expect a weight class to be added to the women as well? Steiner: I would hope that is the thinking; it is hard to build numbers with so little opportunity. We must create the opportunity first to have the numbers we need. 17. If so, how do you think something of that magnitude could affect women's wrestling in the USA? Steiner: Again, just like in anything else, if you create the opportunity the numbers will follow. It gives that many more young women to have something to strive for. 18. Both you and your twin brother, Troy, were tough international competitors. Do you miss competing at all? If so, what do you miss about it? Steiner: I think you always miss the competition itself and the fullfillment you get from it. But I can honestly say that it is for more fullfilling knowing that you have helped other people achieve life long dreams. It is so rewarding knowing that you have made a positive difference in young peoples lives. I think this is why so many former competitors never completely walk away from the sport, entirely. 19. Do you miss coaching the college level or even some of the high school kids in the summer? Steiner: Like I said before, coaching is coaching, teaching is teaching and parenting is parenting. I'm in coaching right now for one reason. I enjoy and get a great feeling knowing I have made a differnce in someone's life. I don't think it matters where that is at. 20. If a college head coaching position ever opened up and the school contacted you, would you consider taking or interviewing for the job? Steiner: I will always leave that door open for myself, but for me to leave my current position, it would have to be the job and location I really wanted to be at for the duration of my coaching career.