If you want to make significant progress in your wrestling skills extremely fast, going to an intensive training camp is one of the best ways. During the season, everyone (including your competition) is training as much as possible and improving at the same time. If you can figure out a way to train longer and harder than your competition, you will soon surpass their skills and beat them. Camps held in the off season offer a terrific opportunity to get in extra training when most other athletes are not even thinking about wrestling. Wrestlers who play other sports or take time off from wrestling in the off season are easy to beat as your skills continue to progress from the extra training provided by summer camps. Go to as many camps as you can afford in the off season so you can surprise the slackers who stopped their training by showing how much better you’ve gotten.
During the season, there’s no doubt how difficult and grueling wrestling practices can be. Most teams practice for 1½ to 2 hours at a time often 5-6 days/week. While intensity is high because you’re always training for an upcoming tournament, wrestling camps offer a different level of focused intensity. Most wrestling camps have a fairly demanding schedule consisting of all day training with just a few breaks in between to eat and refuel. If you think you’re going to wrestling camp for a relaxing week of fun and goofing off with your friends, you may have a rude awakening. Go to wrestling camp expecting to work harder than you do at the peak of your season! To get the most out of your camp experience, it’s smart to prepare yourself ahead of time by training for your training. The best athletes prepare for wrestling camp by ramping up their training before going so they show up in shape and ready to go. This means getting back into wrestling practice several times/week plus building your cardio so you’re able to train all day, every day for however many days your camp is.
Besides tournaments, most of the hands on practice you get in wrestling is when you practice with your home team. Unless you come from a school or club that’s really big, this means most of the time, you’re practicing with the same training partners. With both partners coming from the same camp, you learn and practice the same moves on each other, ultimately limiting your repertoire of experience. Pretty soon you’re like an old married couple who can finish each other’s sentences; you can almost predict your regular training partner’s next move. It’s well known in wrestling – you generally have to travel to constantly find new training partners to keep improving. Wrestling camps are great for providing new and different athletes to train with. You never know who’s going to show up for camp but you can bet on learning from different bodies than what you’re used to. This is a giant advantage in wrestling for preparing for tournaments where you never know who you’ll be facing.
The same holds true for your coaches. Most of your training at home is run by the same coaches during the season. While they may have certain specialties, techniques and systems they teach, it never hurts to get a different perspective from a different coach once in a while. Wrestling camps are a great way to get exposed to different maneuvers and styles from different instructors. Once learned, you can bring the new material back to your home camp and the new methods may even get adopted into your home coach’s system. At the very minimum, the new moves you learn from camp will expand your repertoire of techniques making you a more well rounded wrestler. Wrestling camps are one of the best ways to meet and study with coaches you would otherwise never have exposure to. Many top level NCAA college team coaches, hall of famers and world renown coaches offer camps for extra income or just as a way of giving back to the sport. Whenever possible, take advantage of an opportunity to learn with a living legend!
Wrestling camps are also a great way to tailor your training to strengthen any weaknesses in your game. Some wrestling camps are very specific with what they offer. Some focus on specific techniques or aspects of wrestling, like different ways to escape, getting up from the bottom position, takedowns, etc. Most general technique camps are great for beginners, while more advanced wrestlers may want to focus on various aspects of their game. Some camps focus more on physical conditioning to help wrestlers get in better shape, while others are scheduled to precede a big tournament meant to help you prepare for the event. Overall, all camps will help improve the conditioning and skills of all wrestlers, so none are a waste of time and money well spent. If you’re looking for a wrestling camp to help improve a weakness in your game, ask your coach where he thinks you need more work and try to find a camp that will cater to your needs.
When you go to wrestling camp, try to get the most out of it by showing up in good condition and with all the equipment you will need. Find out early what supplies will be required to bring and start preparing early in case you have to mail order something. Most sleep over camps provide meals and lodging, however commuter camps may require you to bring lunch, snacks and/or water. You will train all day long at most camps so make sure to bring several fresh t-shirts to change into between sessions. A good pair of compression shorts are nearly essential to keep from getting heat rashes on your inner thigh and will keep you cooler and more comfortable for a full day of sweating. Bring headgear and several pair of wrestling shoes in case you have a blow out. Also, bring a good pair of running shoes to wear something to the gym (other than your wrestling shoes) and to use them in case your coach wants you to go on a run; many do. Don’t forget to bring plenty of anti-bacterial hygiene products like shower gel/soap and anti-bacterial wipes to use after each training session for prevention of contagious skin disorders like ringworm.