Some months back, we put out a feature on Lucas Steldt and his Combat Wrestling Club in Wisconsin. In case you need a refresher, Steldt is as much of a Greco Roman devotee as you can manage to be in the US. He has become a sought-after coach on the national scene and understands where deficiencies are present. That’s perhaps why Steldt is continuously trying to push Greco for age-group wrestlers 12 months a year. Naturally, this would appear to be against convention. After all, folkstyle runs rampant from the late fall through the early spring, if not longer. Kids jump into the international styles in April, play around until late July (or thereabouts, depending on summer success), and that is pretty much a wrap.
The thing is, Steldt has spotted a need and as such, is doing his part to fill it. Younger athletes are not getting enough opportunities to train in Greco throughout the year and even less chances to actually compete. Regardless of where you stand on the whole folkstyle/international style debate, you cannot quibble with the fact that kids deserve choices. At the very least, they shouldn’t be forced to train and compete only in folkstyle. If Greco can be made available more often, that means more options. It also likely means the US has more athletes capable of performing versus international competition as they progress.
To address this hole in American Greco Roman wrestling, Steldt has put an aggressively comprehensive program in place that allows youth wrestlers to pursue Greco regularly throughout the year and receive some excellent training in the process. Dubbed “High Performance Greco Roman Technical Tactical Training” or HPGT3 for short, this program (which began on September 11th) involves monthly training sessions at Steldt’s Combat Wrestling Club in Blue River, Wisconsin as well as trips to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, the Olympic Training Site on the campus of Northern Michigan University, and competitions overseas. In a nutshell, this is the year-round developmental system many have been waiting for.
Details are the order of the day with the HPGT3. For instance, athletes are called upon to manage their diets with a clean eating plan and undergo various physical capability assessments. They also must keep a running journal of their progress (to be shared privately with a coach) and account for all new technical skills learned (which requires more testing). To top it all off, competing domestically and attending at least one overseas trip are mandatory. Clearly, this program, with its emphasis on individual development, is not for “casual” wrestlers. It is targeted directly at age-group athletes who are interested in learning and competing in Greco at an elite level, the same type of wrestlers who have always wanted more Greco Roman opportunities but couldn’t find them. Now they are here. This could be the beginning of a game-change in the United States.
A full breakdown of the program’s calendar looks like this:
Sundays at Combat Wrestling Club, Blue River, Wisconsin
10:00am-12:00pm & 2:00pm-4:00pm
(*denotes international training/competition)
*October Sweden Camp
*October Sweden Tour
*TBA – Austria Tour
April Junior WTT Camp (three days)
*April Spain Tour
May Cadet WTT Camp (three days)
June live-in training
August (off mat) unless World Team Member or attending OTC/OTS camp
As you can see, training is monthly in Wisconsin. It is important to note that you do not have to be a member of the Combat Wrestling Club or live in the area. The High Performance Greco Roman Technical Tactical Training program is open to wrestlers everywhere.
If this opportunity sounds like something you wish to learn more about, feel free to contact Steldt directly:
Lucas Steldt – Combat/HPGT3