Winter is yet to officially declare itself but the United States Greco-Roman program is not waiting until the calendar flips to get started on what has become an annual tradition.
Most within the nation’s Greco community are familiar with “January Camp”. In 2022, those holding such interest are receiving an early bonus in the form of “December Camp”, and it begins tomorrow (December 2) at the US Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
As outlined (though not described) in the recently-released Senior Greco schedule, a collection of American Seniors are set to participate in camp practices all the way up until December 16. They will then enjoy a two-week break for Christmas ahead of coalescing once again in time for the January gathering that kicks off on the 3rd.
Why is there a formal, National Team-level camp at this time of year instead of just one in January? According to Assistant National Team coach Herb House, the idea stemmed from identifying perceived problem areas in the wake of the ’22 Worlds and deciding that additional time is required in order to address them properly.
“After the World Championships, we needed a reset and now it’s time to bring the athletes back together and training as one,” House said on Tuesday. “We need the guys training together, and so we need to have more opportunities for the guys to train. Also, we need to work on the areas that have been giving us problems and try to fix them. We’re going to be working; and, we are trying to create a program that will allow us to focus on areas in need of improvement.”
A main key in that regard is to zero in on the athletes themselves. Fans and observers far and wide see the word “camp” and likely imagine a couple of dozen bodies occupying swaths of mat space whilst performing countless repetitions of various drills. To be sure, unified drilling is often part of the agenda, and a regular staple in wrestling rooms around the country. But with “December Camp”, House is indicating that a dose of personalization on the wrestlers’ side will serve as a featured component. “The biggest thing is to bring the focus to the athletes individually and work on what it is we’ve all been struggling with,” he said. “We have to correct it. And if we can’t correct it, then we will be in the same situation as before. This is a time where for the athletes it is going to be, Hey, there are going to be things we are doing that we’re not going to like, but we have to suck it up and move forward. They need to know that they can trust their coaches, and that we are going to create a plan for them that will be beneficial to their goals.”
Heavy involvement from prominent Senior coaches is on the table, as well. In an ever-changing USA Greco landscape, where continuity is all of the sudden an issue with which to tangle, it is more vital than ever in the eyes of invested parties that there exists a shared vision. What that vision entails might hold malleable attributes, but that is not a hindrance so long as all eyes remain fixed on the principle objective of World and Olympic success. To that end, several coaches of high repute are expected to patrol the mats this week and next. Each name in the fold will certainly have their own customized ideas when it comes to technique and strategy. What they will also have are two main assignments once practices commence: stay on-book, and pay attention to what they are witnessing in the room.
“We just got off of a Zoom call with all of the coaches who will be attending and came up with a plan for what we’re going to work on,” informed House. “For the coaches who cannot make it to this camp, we are still going to send them the plan so that everyone is on the same page for January Camp. At this one, we’re going to have Ike Anderson, Joe Warren, Spenser Mango, Dremiel Byers… We have a lot of coaches who are going to be there to make sure that the items we implement are being effective. We are also going to really be focusing on the athletes to ensure that they are executing their moves and progressing.”
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