WILMINGTON, Ohio - Wilmington College Head Wrestling Coach Justin Kihn had a problem in his hands with the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. How might his wrestlers practice during the 2020 fall semester while maintaining social distancing? Enter the Shot Sled.
"Shot Sled is a newer company having started less than two years ago with the goal of creating a device that individuals could work on technique without a partner," said Kihn. "When Terry Rupert [Vice President of Athletic Administration & Director of Athletics] came to me about how our program could train during the pandemic, the Shot Sled was the first thing I thought of."
After that conversation, Kihn purchased one immediately, marking Wilmington the first NCAA Division III school to purchase one. The device itself is similar to an old blocking sled in football, but the finish on the bottom is smooth to avoid the wrestling mats tearing.
"I first saw the Shot Sled at the coach's convention in Florida in 2019," Kihn recalled. "The folks at Shot Sled said the device was created and manufactured before COVID-19, but the pandemic has certainly upped their sales."
The V-shaped frame allows for individuals to practice their technique such as penetration steps without needing another individual present. Thus far, it's provided great results in training.
"Our guys have loved training with it," Kihn said. "The majority of our team has seen and heard of it, but hadn't actually used it. It's opened a lot of their eyes on a different way to train, learning new practices and being self-critical."
The Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), which postponed all intercollegiate athletic competition through the rest of the calendar year, has not yet released its wrestling schedule for the academic year. Despite that, the Shot Sled has helped preparation for the upcoming season, whenever it is.
"Even though this COVID stuff is hitting everybody, we are doing our best to prepare for this year," Kihn said. "We are excited and will be ready to compete, and part of that is thanks to the Shot Sled."