Tag Archives: Ken Chertow Wrestling Camps

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 Wrestling Legend Doug Blubaugh Influenced Ken Chertow’s Gold Medal Camp System

The stories are well documented for those who have attended one of Ken Chertow’s wrestling camps. It’s the story of about how Chertow is so involved, so eager to teach and excited to help young wrestlers improve and achieve their goals that he sweats through about two t-shirts a session at his wrestling camps. That’s because Chertow is out on the mat, getting involved with kids, showing them moves, teaching them new technique and right in the mix with the wrestlers. That’s why Ken Chertow’s Gold Medal Camp System has grown to be one of the most successful in the nation and one of the big reasons why Chertow was asked to write the foreword for the new book The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps.

“When it comes to wrestling camps, there aren’t many people who put in more work, time and effort to provide a successful, positive camp experience than Ken Chertow” says Matt Krumrie, author of The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps. “So it was a natural fit to ask Ken to write the foreword. His knowledge, expertise and passion on the subject is second to none. Think about this – there are lots of great camps, coaches and teachers out there, but Ken is one of a select few  – and maybe the only person – whose full-time occupation is coaching and teaching kids at wrestling camps and clinics. That’s pretty special, and having him be a part of the book was a special opportunity.”

Chertow’s segment in The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps talked about his involvement in camps as a young wrestler, when he attended camps by the legendary Doug Blubaugh. The training Chertow received and learned at Blubaugh’s camps helped shape his  philosophy as a competitor and coach and to this day Chertow still applies many of the values and principles learned at a young age at Blubaugh’s wrestling camps. Chertow talks about the importance of not just being a wrestler, but a scholar-athlete. He talks about the importance of succeeding on and off the mat and in the game of life.  He also shares stories about wrestling that any wrestling fan can enjoy.

“That’s what I liked about writing the book,” adds Krumrie. “While the focus of the book is to educate and inform parents and wrestlers on how to best choose a wrestling camp, club or other training options, it also features stories about wrestling from some of the  great people involved in the sport. If there is one thing wrestling fans love is stories about the sport of wrestling and this book features that.”

Here is a segment from Chertow’s foreword:

Ken Chertow has had tremendous success as an athlete, coach and camp director. He is a U.S. Olympian, 3-time NCAA All-American, 3-time Academic All-American, former head coach at Penn State and Ohio State and is now founder of Ken Chertow’s Gold Medal Training Camp System. Chertow’s experiences as a camper, counselor, coach and camp director have enabled him to develop one of the most successful and highly respected camp systems in the nation. Below are his thoughts on the importance of wrestling camps and how this book can be a valuable resource for wrestlers and parents.

Wrestling camps have been instrumental to my development as a wrestler and coach. My experiences as a camper from elementary school through high school, and now as a full-time wrestling coach and camp director have had a significant impact on my career and life.

Though camps are clearly beneficial, it is critical that you select camps that you will benefit from as much as possible. With many camps to choose from it is important that you do your homework when selecting the camps that are best for you and your team. Matt Krumrie has made your research easier by putting together this informative book. The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps is a valuable tool that will help you make the best decision possible for you or your wrestler(s).

Reflecting on my history at wrestling camps reminds me why Matt has asked me to share my thoughts with you. I have been involved with wrestling camps in every capacity. I’ve participated as a wrestler and camp director, teaching and training thousands of successful wrestlers in the process. Throughout my youth and high school wrestling career I attended multiple camps every summer. I would read camp brochures, talk to my coaches and other wrestlers who had been to camps, and then after narrowing down the choices, my parents and I would contact the camps to ask questions and discuss details. I would then choose the camps that I wanted to attend, see which ones fit into my calendar best, and travel to the camps that I thought would benefit me most. We went through this process annually. Though you now have web sites to conduct research and can send emails asking questions to various camps to make your research more efficient, it is still time consuming – but this book will help you save time and make the best decisions possible.

Though I attended a variety of camps, I chose to attend one specific camp consistently every year from seventh grade through high school and that was Doug Blubaugh’s Camp. I connected well with coach Blubaugh and chose to work with him every summer. As an NCAA and Olympic Champion he was clearly a dominant athlete, but he was also an outstanding teacher of wrestling and a no nonsense man. He had a clear understanding of what techniques he wanted the campers to focus on and we drilled them repetitively and intensely daily. He also gave us a camp notebook that was very helpful to retaining and developing the moves I learned at camp. To this day I have clear recollections of learning many different techniques at Coach Blubaugh’s Camp including: Front Headlock Lock Series, Near Wrist Series, 2 on 1 Series, and numerous leg attack finishes and counters. I successfully executed many of the moves that Coach Blubaugh taught me throughout my career at the highest levels of competition. I have also passed along these moves to my students.

For more stories and resources like this, order your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps today!