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Five mistakes wrestlers and parents make when choosing a summer wrestling camp

When picking the best summer wrestling camp there are a few things to consider and a few things to avoid. The goal of a wrestling camp should be able to provide a new training opportunity that fits your budget, wrestler’s goals and needs. And it should be fun – but it should challenge and push the wrestler. That’s why parents are busy researching the best wrestling camps in the nation and pouring over web sites and brochures trying to find out what is the best wrestling camp to choose.

That’s where the idea for The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps was developed. As the former editor of an award-winning amateur wrestling web site, I heard it all the time from parents and wrestling fans. What is the best wrestling camp out there? What age should I start sending my kid to wrestling camp? What do you know about the J Robinson Intensive camps ? What do you know about Oklahoma State Wrestling Camps? How about Rob Koll’s Cornell Wrestling Camps? What have you heard about Ken Chertow Wrestling Camps? What do you think is better, sending your child to the same camp year after year, or mixing it up and going to a smaller local camp or traveling across country to a big, nationally known camp, such as say, Iowa wrestling camps, or Cael Sanderson’s Penn State Wrestling Camps?

Flip through any magazine or publication this time of year and it’s almost overwhelming. There are ads galore promoting wrestling camps. And you know what? They all look good! They all look like they could fit the opportunity you as a parent or wrestler are searching for. For many, the key to picking a wrestling camp is often location, cost and instructors. Those are good reasons no doubt, but let’s look at some factors to consider and some mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1 – picking a wrestling camp because your best friend or regular training partner wants to go to that camp

This makes sense, right? You want to go to camp and not feel out of place. So going somewhere where there is a comfort level – knowing you will have your workout partner or best friend there with you seems like a no-brainer, right? Not necessarily. When picking a wrestling camp, choose one that is going to challenge your wrestler. Call the camp and ask how many kids are registered at your son or daughters weight class, or around that weight class (taking into consideration weights fluctuate in the offseason). You don’t want to get stuck working out with your regular workout partner. You can do that at your school any day of the week. You want to find workout partners who can challenge you and provide you with a new experience. That’s what camp is about, getting a new experience. This is an extreme case, but let’s say your best friend is a lighter weight, where there are typically more wrestlers. And you are a heavyweight, maybe even a bit inexperienced and big for your age. If you go to a camp where there are only a few big men, mostly older and more physically mature, you will not be able to train/workout with many new or different partners. While the goal of a camp is to learn, learning and applying what you learn is important. If you are a young wrestler make sure you are not going to a camp with kids who are much more advanced than you. Sure, you want the challenge but you don’t want to lay on your back during all the workout sessions counting lights on the ceiling.

Mistake #2 – Picking a camp based on a big name clinician

Who wouldn’t want to go to a camp where Dan Gable is a speaker? Or perhaps Jordan Burroughs is a guest clinician one day. Or maybe it’s Cael Sanderson, Jake Varner, Kellen Russell, Sam Hazewinkel, Luke Becker, Jesse Krebs or any local or national standout. Who wouldn’t want to meet or get a chance to be in the room with the best of the best? However, if they are only going to be there for say, one afternoon out of 5 days, be sure the rest of the camp still fits your needs. Explore all options, understand the whole camp program to get a strong overall understanding of the camp. Don’t let one big name be the determining factor. Ask what role that one person will have in the overall camp experience.

Mistake # 3 – Dismissing the local camp/small camp

Not everyone can travel across country to go to a top Wisconsin wrestling camp. Sure, a kid from New Jersey might want to try Chris Bono’s Florida wrestling camps. Or someone from Nebraska may be intrigued about wrestling camps in California. But you don’t have to spend big money and travel long distances to find a camp to learn from great coaches and teachers. For example, in Minnesota Clay Nagel and Matt Nagel put on the Concordia Cobbers’ wrestling camps every summer. These attract kids from throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and other regions. Concordia is a smaller DIII wrestling school, but Nagel has excelled as a coach at the high school and college level. He knows how to teach youth. His son, Matt, was a Division I All-American at Minnesota. Both have connections to former standouts from North Dakota State University, the University of Minnesota and Augsburg, for example, that will be at the  camp, not to mention, the wrestlers Clay coaches at Concordia. The camp will draw up-and-coming wrestlers from a wide area. Bottom line, sure this may not be a camp at a DI powerhouse where Tom and Terry Brands are putting you through intense workouts that will make you cry uncle, but there are good teachers in every state. You don’t have to go to the big national camp to find a great training opportunity. For parents on a budget, wrestlers who don’t want to travel far, explore the local wrestling camp to meet your goals.

Mistake #4 – Not getting out of your comfort zone

The goals of kids and parents attending summer wrestling camps vary greatly. Some just want more mat time. Some want to be with their friends. Heck, some just want to wrestle, no matter where and no matter with who. And while I recommend the smaller local camp, I firmly believe those who have the best success try a camp that gets them out of their comfort zone and trying something new. While I am a big advocate of the local camp, it might be best to reconsider going to a summer camp led by the same club coach you see every week, or the youth wrestling coach or high school wrestling coach you train or learn with every day. By all means don’t dismiss this if it’s the option that’s right for you, but if you choosing between options, why not try something new one year? Chances are, your coach may even encourage it!

Mistake #5 – Expecting the camp to make you a state champ

Every wrestler wants to be a state champion, a national champion, an Olympic champion. Goals are great. Everyone should set them. But spending a week at the best summer wrestling camp you ever went to isn’t going to make you the best wrestler in the country. However, by taking what you learn at wrestling camp and applying that to your everyday training – that’s what will set you apart and help you reach your goals. Learn, apply, try and repeat. Use it as a training tool, but not the only training tool.

As a parent you spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on your child’s wrestling camps and training over the course of their career. Want to avoid more mistakes like these? Want to save money and make the best decision for your budget and wrestler? Then order your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps today – and train to be a champion tomorrow!

How To Pick a Wrestling Camp: Last-Minute Tips to Find The Camp That’s Best For You

It’s late May and you still haven’t picked a wrestling camp. Don’t panic. There is still time to find the camp that‘s right for you. Here are some ways to find the camp that best fits your needs, schedule, goals and budget:

1. Identify a top five list of the camps you would like to attend. Create a camp wish list.

2. From that wish list, identify this:

A. The one that fits your most important goals (improving technique, live drilling, learning from a well known clinician or coach, workout partners, team camp, motivation/fitness and so on)

B. One that fits your schedule – which dates work best for you?

C. Cost – which is most affordable or within your budget for picking a camp?

D. Dream camp – is there one camp you’ve always dreamed about going to – which camp is it? List it.

E. Worst case scenario: If all things don’t work out, what camp is local to you or most affordable that fits your schedule and allows you a chance to get on the mat and train? Don’t undersell the local camp – it can be just as beneficial and more affordable.

3. Next, narrow it down to the three top camps. Eliminate those that don’t fit the above needs.

4. Call the three camps you wish to attend. Talk to the camp director or a staff member. Ask them these questions:

A. Is there still time to register for the camp you are interested in?

B. How many people are signed up at your weight class? Ask to see if there are enough wrestlers around your weight to find good training/workout partners. For example, if you are a big man and there aren’t many big men to train with, how will you benefit? Or, if you are a young wrestler and say, about 90 pounds, will you have kids to compete with or will you be going against older 120 pounders? This is not beneficial to you.

C. Ask who the scheduled clinicians/counselors are for that week. Counselors/clinicians might not make every camp if a camp has multiple sessions. Who will you be learning from that week you go?

5. Review the camp you feel will provide the best value for your budget and register.

If you can’t decide on a camp the best advice is to find one that will challenge you and break you out of your normal routine. There is no need to focus only on your strengths. Find a camp that helps you continue to perfect your strengths, but also helps you develop your weaknesses. If you keep doing the same thing over and over, but are not getting the results you want, try something new.

A new camp could be just what you need to succeed and reach your goals.

And remember, just because your friend or teammate is going to a camp, it doesn’t mean it’s always the best camp for you. This is a time for you to learn, work hard and improve, so do what’s best for you.

Get more tips and advice like this in The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps.

Order your copy today

Wrestling Camps 101: What camp is best for each individual wrestler?

What’s the best wrestling camp for today’s youth and high school wrestler – a team or individual camp and why? That topic was discussed in detail in a USA Wrestling article titled Individual or Team Camp: Which One is Best for You?

In that article, coaches from Oregon State, George Mason as well as a club team from Virginia commented on how to pick a wrestling camp. In addition, The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps was featured, providing 10 tips to consider when picking a wrestling camp.

Jon McGovern is the head coach at the University of Dubuque and a two-time NCAA champion. McGovern shared his thoughts on how to pick a wrestling camp and the differences and benefits between team and individual camps.

“The best fit for a wrestler wanting to get feedback and improvement in the mental, tactical and competitive aspect of wrestling or needing to unify the vision and goals of the programs with his teammates may want a team camp,” says McGovern.

Some team camps will give not only technical instruction, but match feedback from staff on tactical, mental and physical aspects, providing elite training opportunities and advice for the competitor looking to find ways to improve.

If the wrestler needs some time away from the team and his current coaching staff to go off and get a new perspective on the sport may be well fitted for an individual camp, says McGovern.

“The best fit for the youth wrestler depends a lot on the development phase, style and personality of the wrestler,” says McGovern.

Depending on where the wrestler is at in his personality phase, one wrestler may respond better to a Terry Brands type personality, where another may respond better to Ray Brinzer, says McGovern.

“Both are great coaches in the sense that they bring fundamentals to the forefront of excellence, but each teaches in a different style,” he adds.

It is always good to have your wrestlers in their later years in their career learn from many different personality type coaches says McGovern.

No team or individual camp is alike, just like no competitor is alike.

“I don’t believe there is ONE best CAMP, just like their isn’t one best method to winning,” says McGovern. “If you can come into your camp selection identifying what you want out of the camp first, you are much more likely to select the appropriate camp to help you reach your potential.  If you just go with credentials, marketing, or yes even testimonials – you might not be taking into account that what you as a wrestler need over the summer to improve may be different than someone else. So before you begin searching for a camp, search within.”

Narrow down the 1-3 things you think will make the most impact for your wrestling improvement and then start to target the camps that will help you the most in those areas – team, individual, or even intensive camps.

“All are great camps, the best camp is the one that matches your needs,” says McGovern.

How to pick a wrestling camp: Author Matt Krumrie featured in USA Wrestling articles

The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps is a complete and thorough resource for parents, wrestlers and those looking for more information on how to make the best decisions when picking a wrestling camp. There are numerous factors to consider: Location, cost, training opportunities, competition, speakers, clinicians, type of camp, coaches at the camp and much more.

Matt Krumrie, author of The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps, is also a featured writer for USA Wrestling. Krumrie talks to coaches at the Olympic, college, high school and youth levels on a regular basis and keeps up to speed on the latest news and information involved in all aspects of the sport of wrestling.

Krumrie wrote an article for USA Wrestling on how to best pick a wrestling camp and what factors to consider when picking a wrestling camp. The article was titled The Lowdown on Wrestling Camps and included information such as this:

“It’s important to understand where your child is at in the sport,” says Steve Glassey, founder of the C.O.C Elite Wrestling Camps (formerly Camp of Champions). “Is your child new to the sport and need to focus on the fundamentals? Is he or she more advanced and experienced and at the point where they need to take the next step in development to get to the next level? Would they benefit from the physical and mental training of an intensive camp? How do they need to be challenged?”

The book The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps features information like this and more. Wrestling camps are an investment, not only financially, but also, they are an investment in your child’s wrestling future. It’s not an easy decision, but can be made easier by reading The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps.

For only $10, you can learn tips that can save you money, learn how to train better and become the best wrestler you can through the various tips and advice from the expert sources featured in the book.

Make an investment in your child’s wrestling future today.

Order The Ultimate Guide To Wrestling Camps