Why go to camp?

With the number of wrestling camps of all stripes available every summer, one might think that there is no reason to defend wrestling camps.  However, more than one camp director has told me that the last two years have seen decreasing enrollment.  I cannot say whether there are fewer students going to camp or if the big camps at the bigger schools are just attracting more students, but the anecdotal evidence suggests that fewer wrestlers are going camping, and more are getting involved in shorter weekend clinics.

Depending on the situation, a wrestler can get a lot of value out of a shorter clinic, but I think that depends somewhat on the coaching.  If a high schools hosts a clinic attended primarily by high school and junior high wrestlers from that school, then the wrestlers don’t get a variety of training experiences and coaching.  Summer camp is the best way to be exposed to a large number of coaching styles, and camp affords wrestlers a great chance to learn something in a new way.  At the Turner Wrestling Training camp this past week, each wrestler had the opportunity to learn from, at the absolute minimum, seven different top notch coaches.  To me, this is the greatest value of a summer camp.  The camp does nothing for the physical condition of the wrestlers; it’s just too short.  However, the mental and technical aspects of wrestling can improve greatly in that short time, provided the athlete pays attention and has the desire to improve.

Even wrestlers with great high school coaches can benefit from this variety of experience, and I would encourage all wrestlers to find a way to spend a week at camp, even if only as a commuter.  College wrestlers should also try to spend time working at camps in order to hone their own skills.  Many college wrestlers plan to coach one day, and camp gives them an opportunity to get a jumpstart on their coaching education.