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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.