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The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps

Mark Palmer

3/12/2010
Mark Palmer, InterMat Senior Writer
mark@intermatwrestle.com, Twitter: @MatWriter

Want to ensure your wrestler is a happy camper? Choose his or her wrestling camp with care.

These days, more and more youth and high school coaches are recommending wrestling camps to further develop the skills of their wrestlers. However, there's an overwhelming array of options: Technique camps. Training camps. Team camps. Intensive camps. MMA-oriented camps. Camps for women. Camps for little kids. Camps for big guys. Camps for fathers and sons. There are camps that last just one day ... and camps that go on for nearly a month. Camps run by local coaches ... and camps conducted by Olympic superstars.

How do you find a camp that's right for your wrestler? It's not like Consumer Reports tests wrestling camps the way they do automobiles and appliances. US News & World Report doesn't put out a "100 Top Wrestling Camps" issue.

To find a camp that'll make your wrestler happy, turn to The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps. This brand-new, 120-page book written by wrestling journalist Matt Krumrie has the independent, unbiased information you and your wrestler needs to make smart choices.

This Matt knows the mat ... and wrestling camps

A sports writer for nearly two decades, Matt Krumrie has served as editor for TheWrestlingMall.com, and has written for wrestling publications such as WIN (Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine) and websites such as InterMat and TheGuillotine.com. For the past few years, he has written the preview article for the official NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships program distributed to fans at the national collegiate championships.

As a seasoned wrestling writer, Krumrie is bombarded with questions from wrestlers and their parents about wrestling camps.

Matt Krumrie
"I saw that people -- even those who are heavily involved in the sport of wrestling -- want to know more about wrestling camps," said the Twin Cities-based writer.

Krumrie also sensed a hunger for straightforward, factual information. "Sure, there are all the ads for wrestling camps at websites and in magazines, and all those slick brochures," said Krumrie. "But they're trying to sell you something. How do you separate hype from reality?"

"There needs to be a resource, to help folks decipher all this information."

"Parents spend so much money for their wrestlers for things like wrestling camps," Krumrie continued. "Camps can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars each. When a family sends multiple kids to camp, or multiple camps over the course of a summer, it really adds up."

For parents who are new to wrestling, it all can be as daunting as stepping onto the mat to grapple with an NCAA heavyweight champ.

Matt Krumrie shared an example from his personal experience of just how challenging it can be to make the right decisions. "I have a friend from college who never wrestled, but has three young sons who do. He was asking me, 'Do I send all of them to the same camp? Or do I want them to join a year 'round wrestling club?'"

Turning an initial idea to a completed book

From all these questions and observations sprang the idea for The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps. However, it took a while to go from idea to published book.

"As a sportswriter, I've always wanted to write a traditional book," disclosed Krumrie, who produced an eBook titled How To Be A Sportswriter in 2000.

About five years ago, the idea of a book about wrestling camps started to take shape in Matt Krumrie's mind.

"I started asking coaches about the idea for the book. I seemed to be waiting for approval. At one point I finally decided I didn't need anyone's approval. I started writing in 2006."

"Every moment I had free time, I would think about the book, trying to work on it."

It was a real time-management issue for Krumrie, who, in addition to his wrestling writing, is responsible for the day-to-day management of the website and other digital media for a major accounting firm ... along with writing employment advice columns for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Examiner.com, and providing a resume-writing service for business professionals.

The wrestling camp book shifted into high gear about a year or more ago, when Krumrie contacted other writers to assist with information-gathering and writing for the book, including Kip Carlson, sports information director for wrestling at Oregon State University, and Andrew Hipps, senior writer at InterMat. (This writer also contributed to the book.)

Last fall, the book shifted into overdrive.

"In November, I went to a book publishing seminar, and learned more about how to make it happen. I am self-financing the project, but I believe in the book and the product. I believe it is a valuable resource. It really can help wrestlers and parents."

"As a father, I want to look out for young people," the author continued. "Parents put out so much time and money for their kids' sports. They travel all over the place to provide their kids opportunities for training and competition. As a parent, you and your kids could go to a wrestling event every weekend… You want to make sure you're doing the best you can for your kids, making the right choices. Wrestling camp is no different."

What Krumrie is most proud about is the resources who have helped out with the book. Ken Chertow wrote the foreword. Bruce Baumgartner provided information. Rob Koll of Cornell provided comments. Steve Garland of Virginia was another. Frank Popolizio of Journeymen Wrestling talked. There is an article talking about how J Robinson started his camps, as well as training tips and advice from J Robinson Camps. There is a chapter featuring camp tips from Dan Gable. Some of the top high school coaches in the country from California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Iowa and more, have commented. Over 40 Olympians, NCAA champions, college coaches, high school coaches, parents and more have provided their insight and personal expertise and opinion.

"What I did was take the advice, comments and experiences of those who are involved with camps, clubs and training and coaching wrestlers and turned it into resources and stories that can benefit wrestlers and their parents," says Krumrie.

Anticipating -- and answering -- questions about camps

As a wrestler -- or the parent of a wrestler -- the idea of going to a wrestling camp may sound like a winner. But it can be an intimidating decision. There are usually a ton of questions, such as ...

• What camp should I send my wrestler to?
• What off-season training program are you participating in?
• Do you think a club would help my child become successful?
• What do I need to do to become a state champion?
• How do I know what the best camp is for the money?
• When is the right age to go to camp?
• How do I really know what each camp offers?

The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps is designed to provide answers to the questions wrestlers and their parents have about choosing a wrestling camp ... or, even if attending a wrestling camp is a good idea for that particular individual in the first place.

Krumrie's book provides sound information to help wrestlers and their parents choose the right camp for their specific situation. It assumes no prior experience with wrestling or wrestling camps. The first chapter starts with the items that are most important to consider when selecting a camp. The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps even incorporates an entire chapter titled "Wrestling Camp 101" that provides clear explanations of basic terms used in the wrestling camp industry, such as technique camp ... intensive camp ... training camp ... outdoor challenge camp ... and team camp. The book also has a chapter on nutrition, and a handy "What to bring to camp" checklist.

Among the other topics The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps covers:

Camps or clubs -- or both: Some wrestling coaches are advising their wrestlers to join a wrestling club, either in conjunction with attending wrestling camps, or instead of a camp. "Clubs are growing fast," according to Matt Krumrie. "Clubs give wrestlers more training opportunities not traditionally available in youth or high school programs. It's a supplemental thing that has been used in other sports, and becoming more popular in wrestling. But ... does it replace attending camps? And, how do you know which club is right for you?"

MMA (mixed martial arts) and wrestling: There's a natural tie-in between the type of wrestling that takes place in school gyms, and what goes on the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships) and other alphabet-letter promotions in mixed martial arts. Especially since a large number of MMA stars come from amateur wrestling backgrounds, such as current UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar.

"MMA is exploding in popularity," said Krumrie. "Youth and teen wrestlers are huge fans. However, it raises questions and concerns from parents when their wrestlers show an interest in MMA, with parents asking things like, 'Why would I want my kid to train in MMA?' and 'Will it hurt my kid's wrestling career?' Many wrestlers use MMA to learn different combat styles, to broaden their training ritual, and enhance their conditioning, without any intention of ever competing in the Octagon. In fact, adding different disciplines and skill sets from other martial arts can actually help an athlete with wrestling."

The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps covers the MMA/wrestling connection thoroughly, with a primer on MMA ... what MMA instructors advise if you have a wrestler who wants to learn other martial arts techniques ... and what to look for in a camp or training facility to ensure the physical and mental well-being of the wrestler.

Women's wrestling: The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps has an entire chapter devoted to wrestling camps especially designed for girls and women ... along with a case study of girl wrestler Joey Miller and her dad Jerry, where they share their experiences in the sport of wrestling and from participating in various wrestling camps.

Perspective from multiple, varied points-of-view: The book delivers a true "insider perspective" on wrestling camps, bringing together interviews, comments, quotes and information from over 40 of the most informed and educated people involved in the sport of wrestling -- high school and college coaches, all-time great wrestlers, and individuals who run camps, as well as youth and high school wrestlers and their parents. In other words, people who have experienced wrestling camps from just about every angle possible.

For example, The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps incorporates the opinions of a number of high school wrestling coaches from some of the most successful programs throughout the country, because, as Matt Krumrie put it, "These are the individuals who are the most influential to young wrestlers."

There's also whole chapter that has college coaches from various types of programs -- from small, private schools to the largest state universities -- answering fundamental questions in a roundtable format, so readers can easily compare answers.

"In writing the book, I wanted to benefit wrestlers of all skill levels who might be interested in wrestling camp," said Krumrie. "Those who wrestle just for fun, or to be in a sport, or those who want to earn a place in the starting lineup on the team, not just those who expect to win state and national titles and get a college scholarship to wrestle."

For more information about The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps -- or to purchase a copy -- visit the Web site www.wrestlingcampguide.com

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