If you want to make significant progress in your fighting skills extremely quickly, going to an intensive boot camp is one of the best ways. During the season, everyone (including the competition) trains as much as possible and improves at the same time. If you can find a way to train harder and harder than your competition, you will soon surpass their skills and beat them. Camps that take place in the off-season offer an excellent opportunity for additional training when most other athletes aren’t even thinking about wrestling. Wrestlers who play other sports or take time off from wrestling in the off-season are easy to beat as their skills continue to progress thanks to the additional training provided by summer camps. Go to all the camps you can afford in the off-season so you can surprise the bums who stopped their training by showing how much you’ve improved.
During the season, there is no question how difficult and exhausting wrestling practices can be. Most teams practice 1½ to 2 hours straight, often 5 to 6 days a week. While the 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 training all day with only a few breaks for eating and refueling. If you think you’re going to wrestling camp for a relaxing week of fun and nonsense with your friends, you may have a bad awakening. Go to wrestling camp expecting to work harder than at the peak of your season! To get the most out of your camping experience, it’s smart to prepare ahead of time by training for your workout. Top athletes prepare for wrestling camp by increasing their training before they go so they are fit and ready to go. This means getting back into wrestling practice several times a week, plus building your cardio so you can train all day, every day, no matter how many days your camp lasts.
Besides tournaments, most of the hands-on practice you get in wrestling is when you practice with your local team. Unless you come from a really big school or club, this means that most of the time you are practicing with the same training partners. With both partners coming from the same field, you learn and practice the same movements with each other, which ultimately limits your repertoire of experiences. Very soon you are like an old couple who can finish each other’s sentences; You can almost predict the next move of your regular training partner. It’s well known in wrestling – you generally have to travel to constantly find new sparring partners to keep improving. Wrestling camps are great for providing new and different athletes to train with. You never know who will show up to camp, but you can bet on learning from different bodies than you’re used to. This is a huge advantage in wrestling to prepare for tournaments where you never know who you will be facing.
The same goes for their coaches. Most of your training at home is done by the same coaches throughout the season. While they may have certain specialties, techniques, and systems that they teach, it never hurts to have a different perspective from a different coach from time to time. Wrestling camps are a great way to expose yourself to different maneuvers and styles from different instructors. Once learned, you can bring the new material back to your local camp and the new methods can even be adopted into your local coach’s system. At the very least, the new moves you learn in camp will expand your repertoire of techniques and make you a more well-rounded fighter. Wrestling camps are one of the best ways to meet and study with coaches you would never otherwise be exposed to. Many high-level NCAA varsity coaches, hall of famers, and world-renowned coaches offer camps for additional income or simply as a way to give back to the sport. Whenever possible, take the opportunity to learn from 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, such as different ways of escaping, getting up from the bottom position, takedowns, etc. Most general technique camps are ideal for beginners, while more advanced fighters 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 fighters, so none is a waste of time and money well spent. If you are 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 suits your needs.
When you go to the fighting field, try to get the most out of it by showing up in good condition and with all the equipment you will need. Find out ahead of time what supplies you’ll need to bring and start preparing early in case you have to order by mail. Most sleeping camps provide food and lodging, however passenger camps may require you to bring lunch, snacks, and / or water. You will train all day at most camps, so be sure to bring several new shirts to change between sessions. A good pair of compression shorts is almost essential to prevent inner thigh heat rash and will keep you cooler and more comfortable for a full day of sweating. Bring a helmet and several pairs of wrestling shoes in case you have a blowout. Also, bring a good pair of running shoes to wear to the gym (other than your wrestling shoes) and wear them in case your coach wants you to go for a run; many do. Don’t forget to bring plenty of antibacterial hygiene products like soap / shower gel and antibacterial wipes to use after each training session for the prevention of contagious skin disorders such as ringworm.