The participation of parents is vital to youth sports. To help our young athletes reach their full potential, we need parents and community members to get involved with wrestling. No wrestling experience is necessary to volunteer, just a willingness to help our kids develop a love for the sport, and to have fun.
If you are interested in coaching at the youth level please contact one of our Coaches or Club Administrators to find out how you may be able to help.
A great description of the benefits of having your child wrestle is provided by one of the sport's all-time greats, Cael Sanderson. The following is excerpted from his article "Why My Kids Will Wrestle".
1. Foundation Sport
Wrestling is the perfect foundation for all other sports. Wrestling is balance, agility, hand-eye coordination, flexibility, positioning, strength, speed, explosiveness, footwork, hustle, mental focus, mental toughness, core strength, concentration, competition, and endurance. Wrestling will make our youth better at all other sports.
Wrestling is a game. It is the most basic and instinctual game. Toddlers wrestle. The sport of wrestling is the ultimate competition where two individual take their individual strengths and match them up against each other. Wrestling is a battle of wits, technique, speed, agility, flexibility, and toughness. No two wrestlers are alike. Fun stuff!!
Wrestling is one the world’s most premier physical fitness sports. Wrestling develops strength and endurance. Poor health is a major issue in our society today and wrestling will help develop a love of exercise and physical fitness in our youth.
Very little is accomplished without self-confidence. Wrestling teaches self-confidence like nothing else I know outside of religion and knowing that you are a child of God. Insecure people have the most difficult time learning from others and make progress even more difficult than it already is. Wrestling teaches hard work, self-improvement, sense of accomplishment, camaraderie of team, 1 on 1 aspect, and self-defense to name a few. These promote self-worth, respect and confidence.
Although wrestling is not commonly considered a “martial art,” it is the #1 base discipline in the world of MMA. Wrestlers know how to defend themselves and neutralize threats quickly. Wrestling is controlling an opponent. If you want your kids to know how to defend themselves, put them in wrestling.
“After you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” — Dan Gable, Olympic Gold Medalist and Coach
Nothing teaches humility better than a 1-on-1 sport. Winning and losing in a 1-on-1 setting brings humility. There is nowhere to hide and no one to blame but yourself. All wrestlers will lose at some point and doing so in these conditions teaches humility. Hard work and discipline are two keys to success in wrestling and both teach humility.
The challenges of being a wrestler teach you to respect yourself. After you learn to respect yourself you will learn to respect others. You learn to respect your team mates as well as your opponents. You learn to listen to and respect your coach. After you learn to respect others you are able to learn from them, a life lesson.
Wrestling is discipline. Repetition of drills, hard work, weight management, and continually doing the best thing instead of the easiest thing is discipline. Wrestling requires postponing instant “wants” to gain something more valuable long term. It takes discipline and focus to reach goals.
9. Roadmap to success
Wrestling is the perfect example of what it takes to be successful in life. Goal setting, hard work, determination, focus, love of challenges, love of competition, confidence, being coachable, mental toughness, discipline, creativity, team work and accountability.
Wrestling is a physical, contact sport. You learn that sometimes you just get poked in the eye. Physical and mental toughness go hand in hand. You learn that a little pain or struggle is part of the process of doing great things.
In the next few months, many children will have the opportunity to participate in wrestling for the first time. Just like the kids, many parents will embrace the opportunity, while others will resist. Because of the timely life lessons wrestling teaches children, I urge everyone to seriously consider trying the sport, if only for one season.
Usually, those who resist wrestling are unfamiliar with the sport. Wrestling can be an intimidating sport, but it’s also one with great potential to develop young adults, both physically and mentally.
My own son resisted until seventh grade. “I don’t want to roll around with a bunch of sweaty guys,” he told me, echoing the popular mantra of basketball players everywhere. My wife, with her medical background, wasn’t very supportive either, citing the skin rashes she saw wrestlers bring to her clinic. I had wrestled in high school – I wasn’t very good, but I wrestled – and I knew what it could teach kids, so I persisted until both agreed to a one-year trial season.
That was four seasons ago – two in junior high, one on the junior varsity team and last year’s varsity season. In that time, he’s experienced extreme highs and extreme lows. There were times that he enjoyed wrestling almost as much as football, and there were times that he talked about quitting. There were dominating wins and puzzling losses, weeks when nothing could go wrong and weeks when everything went wrong. More important than all of that are the lessons that have helped him develop into the young man he is today.
Even if your child never wins a match, he’ll learn a lot about himself and how he fits into the world. While it’s true the other sports can teach most of these lessons, the intensity of a wrestling season is hard to match. When you sign your child up for a wrestling season, you give them a competitive edge that will help them succeed in life. Don’t miss that opportunity.
Zion Shaver left the wrestling mat to a rousing ovation last month. The 88-pound high school senior, born without legs, didn't win a state wrestling title in Ohio. But he won over a crowd that didn't know all that he has overcome.
The art of life resembles more that of the wrestler, than the dancer; since the wrestler must ever be ready on his guard, and stand firm against the sudden unforeseen events of his adversary." Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"
When Zion Shaver's high school wrestling career ended last month, he hugged his coach as the crowd rose to its feet. It's a moment that could very well be the final scene in a movie someday -- that's how miraculous Shaver's life has been to this point.
Shaver was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1997 -- without legs. He had caudal regression syndrome, a condition that affects the development of the lower half of the body. He was given up for adoption as a baby, moving from foster home to foster home, from school to school, and he doesn't like to say much more about his childhood than that.
What brings an enormous smile to his face, though, is what's been the steadying force in his life: wrestling. Shaver had begun wrestling as a 2-year-old and kept at it, even as he ping-ponged from one temporary living situation to another.
Fast-forward to what was a whirlwind senior season at Massillon Washington High School in northeast Ohio. As he put together a triumphant 33-15 final year at Massillon, his adoption paperwork finally went through with his mom, Kimberly Hawkins. Hawkins, a longtime foster care provider in Ohio, met Shaver about two years ago and felt compelled to give him a home. In February, the adoption became official, just as Shaver prepared for a postseason push in the sport he loves.
"Wrestling has changed my life to the point where when I come to an obstacle in my life," Shaver said, "I instantly figure out a way to get past it and move on."
West Perry High School wrestler Deven Jackson has never heard of adversity. At least, he doesn’t act like it. The junior, coming off a fourth-place finish at the PIAA state wrestling championships in 2020, is a double-amputee. He had both of his legs amputated after battling bacterial meningitis at just eight years old.
After giving up football, the game he loved, he turned his full attention to wrestling. “That’s one sport I can do, and no one else can take it away from me,” he said. Deven isn’t letting anybody take anything from him on the mats. Since the start of his sophomore year, he’s compiled an impressive 45-8 record. He’s a perfect 7-0 so far this year and on pace to make a run for West Perry’s all-time wins record of 113.
Coming into high school, his personal goal was to reach the 100-win mark. “Right when I came into high school, I was like, I gotta get at least 30 or 25 wins every year,” he said. Each one of those wins is more impressive, given what you think would be a natural disadvantage. “It’s one of those things where it’s a goal and he knows he has to put in twice as much time as anybody else to get to achieve what he wants to,” said West Perry head wrestling coach Crai May. But May also knows twice as much time won’t be twice as difficult for his star grappler. “You can’t put boundaries on Deven,” he said. “He doesn’t have a boundary in his mind and, as long as he has that attitude and as long as he’s willing to put in the time and the effort he does, you can’t put boundaries [on him].”
It’s hard to find Deven away from the sport. If he’s not at a match, he’s practicing with his team. When he’s not practicing with his team, he’s at a local club getting as much work in as possible to perfect his craft. Although he wants to be a state championship-winning wrestler and a college star, he also wants to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for anybody who witnesses his work. “You can do anything in life — nobody can say no to you,” he said. “If you want to go out there and try out for football, go out and try out for football, or go out there and try out for wrestling.”
Deven had that same vision himself and, through hard work, is watching his successes play out in real time. “Give it 100 percent and never give up,” he said. “That’s basically my motto — keep going.”
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