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Ken Chertow's Olympian Wrestling ~ Training Tips
Ken Chertow's


Olympian Wrestling Online

In this section you can find valuable information on weight loss, supplements and other things you need to be a successful wrestler.

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MemoriesGet in ShapeTraining For the Future
VisualizeDrillingShadow WrestlingCoaching Youth Wrestling


Wrestling is one of the most difficult and challenging activities anyone will do during the course of their lives. As I am sure most AWN readers will agree, wrestling is extremely demanding both physically and mentally, especially if you set ambitious goals and work diligently for many years to achieve them. The sport of wrestling truly prepares you for the rest of your life, because our sport teaches you the “lessons of life”.
So what are these lessons of life that our great sport teaches you? I suppose they are infinite, but allow me to pinpoint a few: Intensity, Focus, Discipline, Goal Setting, Determination and Perseverance. To be successful on the mats, in school or in the work place you must have these characteristics, and wrestling teaches you these characteristics better than any other sport.
I conduct camps for kids throughout the year, and at every camp I make t-shirts with different slogans reinforcing some of these valuable lessons that wrestling teaches you. Over the years I have used an array of slogans, incorporating some of the attributes mentioned above, as well as many others. The slogan for my recently completed Winter Break Training Camp was “Wrestling - Training for the Rest of Your Life”.
I chose this slogan a few months ago when I was talking to a friend of mine, Jeff Levitetz. Jeff is founder and coach of Boca Raton Wrestling Club Inc. He told me he had painted this slogan on his wrestling room wall, and I thought it would be a perfect slogan for camp. Jeff is a great example of someone who used wrestling as the “training for the rest of his life”. He wrestled in high school and college and then started his own business, Purity Wholesale Grocers. Jeff has developed Purity into an ultra successful business, and is trying to pass his message on to his young wrestlers.
This slogan “WRESTLING - TRAINING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE” is one of my favorite camp slogans to date, because it covers all the lessons of life and it is what I am trying to accomplish as a coach. I am striving not only to develop champions on the mats, but to also help my students understand what it will take to excel in life when their wrestling career is behind them.
At my Olympian Camps I ask my clinicians to talk about much more than doubles and high crotches. I ask them to share their insight into what it takes to be successful in all aspects of life. Two great examples of this, Bruce Baumgartner and John Fritz, were both guests at my Winter BreakTraining Camp. As most of you may know, Bruce and John are retired from coaching and are now athletic directors. They apply the skills wrestling has taught them to their current jobs on a daily basis. These great men and my other Olympian Camp Instructors offered some valuable information to my campers.
Bruce talked about his constantly changing goals as he has gone through different stages of life. One of his critical messages was that it is important to change and adjust both your wrestling and career goals over time. The key thing is that you always have concrete, meaningful goals and stay focused on them over time. Bruce also showed some great combinations from the underhook series, a few crippling turns and a sweet cross wrist roll that my team is already using very effectively.
John Fritz spoke on an array of topics and entertained the kids with some anecdotal stories about my obsessive work habits as a college athlete. John was my college mentor and spent many early morning and late night hours with me in the gym helping me perfect my skills. John shared with the kids how much improvement I made during my college years because of my intense work ethic and determination to be successful. John has been an instructor at my camps many times over the years and his duck unders and set-up drills are always very well received.
There were numerous other guests at Winter Camp who had unique and valuable messages. Penn State Head Coach, Troy Sunderland, spoke to the campers about the importance of doing being a good person and conducting yourself in a positive fashion both on and off the mats. Harvard graduate and Olympic alternate, Paul Widerman, spoke to the kids about the importance of doing well in school and having a creative, open mind. Paul owns his own fitness company and recently invented and patented “smart bells”, a new and unique piece of strength training equipment that I believe has great value. Two clinicians you may not know by name, Donn Ernst and Dale Bonsall, are two of the annual favorites at my Olympian Camp. Donn and Dale are both teachers and coaches who share their messages with such unique presentations that they mesmerize the young wrestlers. Their enthusiasm and passion for our sport and helping kids rubs off on everyone, and there is no substitute for these important characteristics if you wish to excel on or off the mats.
In closing, my father had a huge impact on my life and he never taught me a single wrestling hold. Dad is a dedicated research scientist and physician who is devoted to his life’s work. Through my father I came to understand the intense work ethic necessary to be successful in life. Other than my dad, the men who have had the most influence on my life are the wrestling coaches who helped me over the years. I encourage my fellow coaches and fathers to teach more than just winning technique. Also take the time to share with the kids what is required to excel in all aspects of life and how the characteristics they are developing through our sport will help them forever. I place a great value on developing champion wrestlers, however, in the process I am also striving to help my athletes develop the character and work ethic necessary to excel in life.


I have been working with young wrestlers throughout my competitive and coaching career. During high school I would stay after practice to work with our kids program. I encourage youth coaches to invite the varsity wrestlers to work with your local kids program. When training young wrestlers, the more feedback they receive the better off they will be. The varsity wrestlers can serve as role models for the younger wrestlers and will also benefit from helping the kids. Also, encourage the youth wrestlers to attend varsity matches and vice-versa. Perhaps evendevelop a big brother program.
Every summer during college I ran my own day camps, worked at PennState Camps and took a team to Junior Nationals. I worked with kids in all different age groups, and these summers proved to be very beneficial and rewarding experiences for me. I enjoyed my work with the kids tremendously and saw how much the wrestlers benefited from their time on the mats. Summer is an excellent time for skill development. The kids are not busy with school and preparing for competition. The emphasis is on skill development, learning new technique and having fun.
I encourage you to organize open mats and day camps in your community during the summer. Send your serious wrestlers to away summer camps. Summer training camps were instrumental to my development and have played an integral role in the development of my top students. Upon graduation from Penn State, I expanded my local day camp into overnight camps. I spent my entire summer organizing workouts for kids. This was much different than being a counselor. As a counselor you only have to supervise the kids and do some instruction. There is no planning involved. As the coach/camp director, you have to plan the workouts and technique curriculum so that it is both well organized and interesting. This is a very important facet of coaching young people. I realized there is much more to coaching than just teaching moves. You must organize your instruction in a progressive fashion, not only during the course of a workout, but throughout the season. If you do not have a systematic game plan, kids will get lost. Incorporating periods of review into your practices and repetitively drilling what you have taught is of paramount importance.
During my 5 years coaching collegiate wrestlers at Ohio State and Penn State, I also conducted USA Wrestling Kids Clubs. I would work with my college age wrestlers throughout the day and my youth wrestlers in the evenings. Working with both age groups on a daily basis helped me learn the differences in the ways you should train and motivate wrestlers of varying ages. To run a successful “Kids” (14 and under) program, you must treat the wrestlers differently than you would when running a college program or even a high school program. High school wrestlers fall somewhere in between depending on the program and the individuals. The following are some basic suggestions for how to get the most out of your kids program.

1. Emphasize skill development. Do not rush to teach them more techniques than they need or can remember. Drill the “Basic Skills” as outlined by USA Wrestling on a daily basis. Not only the stance, motion, etc., but also the Greco skills as outlined by Mike Houck in USA Wrestling’s Greco Coaches Syllabus and some folkstyle bottom drills like hip heists and building your base. Often use games to incorporate the basic skills into your practice.

2. Shadow drill frequently. Kids need to learn to control their own bodies before they can control someone else. Plus, everyone in the room is drilling intensely, simultaneously, rather than half of the guys being partners. Shadow drilling is fun for kids and good conditioning. Kids use their imagination well. This can help you lead into teaching visualization skills. Kids are never to young to dream about becoming a champion.

3. Be enthusiastic and give positive feedback frequently. Kids need your leadership and guidance and thrive on positive feedback when they do something well. Also, give parents positive feedback if their child is doing well. They need to stay motivated as well and hearing their child is doing well gives them a big boost.

4. Encourage parents to get involved. I welcome and encourage parents to watch my practices. I also welcome them to get on the mats and help. The more personal attention your students receive, the quicker they will improve. At tournaments I invite the parents to sit in the corner with me. This is a positive experience and sometimes I have many kids competing at one time, so the parents need to be prepared to be an asset in the corner rather than a detriment.

5. Run a tight ship, but let the kids have fun. Take your instructional phase of practice seriously but not too serious. Good teachers and coaches make their instruction interesting for the kids,so they pay attention and have fun. Incorporate stories and interesting analogies into your instruction. Carefully structure the practice so the kids benefit as much as possible, and also make time for a couple of “games” every practice. I have made up a variety of fun games that incorporate wrestling skills and conditioning into them. If the kids get through a segment of practice and do really well, we often play a game for a couple minutes as a reward before moving on to next segment.

6. Incorporate live wrestling throughout your practice. In a traditional practice most the live wrestling is done at the end of practice, and some kids programs I am familiar with do not let the kids do much live wrestling at all. Kids like to scrap and can only absorb so much instruction at once, so break up your practice with segments of live wrestling. I often let my students wrestle a live match after warming up and doing some basic skill drills. It seems to settle them down and tire them out a little, and the result is that they pay better attention when I teach. Give it a try. Live situations are also an essential training tool. They allow you to teach important technique points between starts and the kids enjoy them because they get to wrestle.

7. Utilize videotape for instruction and motivation. Beginners need to see what it looks like when a move is executed correctly in competition, and edited highlight tapes can prove to be very motivational.

8. Teach more than just technique. Emphasize to your wrestlers the value of sportsmanship, poise, goal setting, discipline, work ethic and the other important “lessons of life”. My wrestling coaches had a greater impact on my character and life than my school teachers. Instill the lessons of life in your students because they will undoubtedly help them in everything they do throughout their lives. Kids look up to you more than you will ever realize.
I left full time college coaching in 1994 to devote more of my time to working with young wrestlers. I expanded my Olympian Summer Camps and local Olympian School so I could coach kids full time. I still work with wrestlers of all ages regularly, but I probably enjoy working with young wrestlers the most. I believe a big reason that I have been successful working with the little guys is that I truly enjoy being around them. I enjoy the challenge of getting kids to learn the game and develop a passion for our sport. Undoubtedly, the kids who excel when they grow up are the ones who love doing it. All work and no play at a young age, is not always a good formula for success later on. Don’t get me wrong, my students and I value winning. However, skill development and fun take on equal importance. The trick is to plan and conduct structured, reasonably intense practices, so that your students get good while still enjoying the training. Then they start to win and really enjoy the sport. Let’s face it, no matter what the activity or age group, winning is more fun than losing. Our Olympian School Youth Program motto is “ Work Hard and Have Fun on your way to #1!" Good Luck on you quest for success!!
If you would like to learn more about Coach Chertow’s Olympian Camps, instructional videos or motivational book, “Wrestling: A Commitment to Excellence”, contact Ken at (814) 466-3466 or

Shadow Drilling - A key to becoming a Champion

Shadow Drilling is a great way to develop your skills, speed and conditioning. I was a boxing fan during elementary school, watching legends Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali on television. I learned that shadow boxing plays an integral role in the training regimen of every boxer. When I started wrestling in middle school, I quickly incorporated shadow drilling into my training program. I was slow and chubby so my shadow drilling was not very fluent, but I steadily improved every day. I would stay after practice and rehearse the moves that I knew until I felt like I could do them reasonably well. I had a mat in my house so I would also shadow drill my moves in the evenings after doing my homework and strength training. Shadow Drilling teaches you to control your body. Let's face it, until you have self control, how can you execute a move on a partner, especially if he is fighting back.
Shadow drilling is not just for beginners. It remained a significant part of my training regimen throughout my high school, college and international career. It can play an important role in the success of wrestlers of any skill level. If my memory serves me correctly, I remember reading an article in AWN a few years ago by John Smith and more recently an article by Dan Gable in USA Wrestler on the benefits of shadow drilling. However, I cannot recollect ever seeing an article outlining specific methods of shadow drilling. These aforementioned articles discuss the importance of shadow drilling but not actually how to go about it. Thus I will tackle this topic in the following paragraphs. Forgive me if this is elementary to some of my coaching peers. However, if you pick up a couple little things it will be worth the five minutes it takes to read.
Shadow drilling is an integral part of my Olympian Wrestling School Training Program. In a two hour practice, shadow drilling will typically encompass 5 - 12 minutes of the structured workout. Early in the season we do it at the beginning of practice for skill development and later in the year we do it at the end of practice to develop speed and conditioning. At my summer camps, I make my students shadow drill before and after sessions to review the techniques that have been taught. Shadow drilling not only helps your physical skills and conditioning, but it also enhances your retention of technique and gives you more confidence in your techniques. You can shadow drill just about any move, but the following is a list of the Top 10 Team Shadow Drills that I believe are the most practical and effective. Five of these drills are for takedowns and five are for bottom work. It is difficult to shadow drill pinning combinations, but you can use visualization and imagery skills to rehearse top techniques. It is amazing how much riding time you can accumulate if you put your "mind" to it.
1) Inside Step Attack Drill - Instruct your students to all face one direction and do body fakes and level changes from a low staggered stance. When you yell attack and/or reach your arms up, they should quickly shoot a double or high crotch to a double and drive across such that they rotate 180 degrees and are facing the opposite wall in a low stance after each shot. If their right leg is in front of them they should rotate to the right (as if driving "away from their head") and vice versa. This will teach kids to change dircections quickly and to get an angle on their shots.
2) Knee Spin Sweep Attack Drill - Tell students to stay low and move laterally as if trying to make opponent step forward so they can hit a head inside sweep single. When they attack they must spin on their lead knee and swing their back foot around to get an angle. Make them finish quickly on their imaginary opponent, ideally by quickly picking up the leg or reaching behind and catching far leg while still on their knees. Wrestlers should immediately get back in low stance and resume lateral motion after every shot.
3) Back Arch/Back Step/Sag Drill - Once students understand the skills call this "Throw Drill". Have wrestlers pretend they are in an upper body over - under or other tie up situtions and call off moves such as lateral drops, hip toss, headlock and other techniques that require the back arch, back step or sag throw skills. Make sure they are all facing the same direction before each throw, particularly on the back arches.
4) Sprawl Drill, Sprawl and Spin (on hands) Drill and Sprawl Re-shot Drill - Insist that students immediately return to good stance and create motion between each repetition. Combine these sprawl with attack drills listed above.
5) Random Attack Drill - Combine the four drills detailed above with an array of other techniques. You yell out what attack you want wrestlers to do and they quickly react. Start off with simple techniques but once they get a hang of it over time be creative. After each shot make them all circle in a good stance, so they are all facing the same direction before you call off the next attack. This drill teaches kids to chain wrestle on their feet going from one move to another and is a great conditioner.
6) Stand Up Drill - Use a whistle and give kids time to get set between repetitions. Make them explode backwards, cut away and face opposite wall in their stance after each repetition, analogous to Inside Step Attack Drill.
7) 1 & 2 Drill - Stand up and cut off for 1 point escape and then immediately attack legs for 2 point takedown. If done correctly student will rotate approximately 180 degrees on stand up and again on leg attack such that they will be facing the same wall before every repetition.
8) Hip Heist Drill - This great drill not only helps student improve their switch, sit out and wrist roll, but also enhances their ability to scramble (agility) and is an intense anaerobic conditioning exercise when done quickly for 5 -15 repetitions or seconds. Make a race out of it if you really want to see some hips and feet flying. Tell kids it is break dance training and they may actually think they are having fun.
9) Granbys - Develop an array of Granby skills on your own by executing shoulder rolls, flips, reverse granbys, shrugs, head spins and standing granbys. Make sure kids have plenty of space and all go simultaneosly in same direction.
10) Combination Bottom Drilling - One of keys to getting off bottom is putting your moves together and combination shadow drilling is a great way to learn how to "Chain Wrestle" off bottom. Have your students execute whatever techniques you tell them to do immediately when you yell the move. Start with simple combinations of two moves and then build up to doing 3,4 and more moves in a row. They should not go back to referrees position between each individual move. Wrestlers should keep moving quickly until you yell "escape"and they finish their chain of techniques with a score.
Remember, these are just examples. You can create your own sequences based on you or your teams favorite techniques. For example, if you like carries, ducks and drags incorporate them into your shadow drilling routines. If you work the head often, incorporate snap downs, slide bys, shrugs, ankle picks and headlocks. The sky is the limit. However, keep it simple at first until your students get a hang of it and then make it interesting. Variety is important if you wish to keep your students intense and motivated.
I know I am getting long winded, but I will see if John and Ron (AWN publisher and editor) have some more space for me to tell one more story. I shadow drilled often in 7th and 8th grades but got away from it a little my first two years of high school. I suppose I was so crumby in middle school the only person I could whip was my shadow. Anyway, my junior year I finally learned to bang across on my high crotches which was good and bad. Good because I was scoring a lot of high crotch takedowns, but bad because I got a huge cauliflower ear that would refill every time it was drained. After a couple months of frustration and increasing pain, I finally listened to the doctor and agreed to take 2 weeks off the mat and so the cast on my ear would work. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The first day that I had my cast on it practice, I did all the running and exercises with the team and then watched while they drilled and wrestled. I was bored to death sitting out. It was at this time that I rediscovered shadow drilling. During the ensuing 2 weeks I shadow drilled endlessly while my teammates drilled and wrestled. Not only did it help me stay sharp and in shape, but it also helped me develop my mental skills. Shadow drilling enhanced my confidence. In addition to thinking about the moves I was hitting, I was also imagining myself beating the tar out of every opponent that stood between me and a State Championship.
At the end of this 2 week "layoff" our team had a major 32 team tournament that I had to enter without any contact practice. I was not sure how I would perform being "off the mats" so long, but things went great! I had one of the most focused performances of my career, dominating everyone and winning my first ever outstanding wrestler award. In the finals I beat the #4 ranked wrestler in the state by technical fall scoring seven takedowns. It was like he was not even there. It was just like wrestling my shadow at practice. Everything I hit worked perfectly. I had beaten this same opponent by a 7-4 score only 5 weeks earlier. Although I am sure there were many factors involved in this unique performance, from that time on I have been totally sold on the benefits of shadow drilling. It was instrumental to my success as an athlete and it has played an integral role in the development of the many students I have coached. I encourage you to make shadow drilling a regular and intense part of your training schedule as you strive to have a peak performance in your most important competitions.
For information on Ken Chertow's summer camps, instructional videos or motivational book, call 814-466-3466.

This was written for Amatuer Wrestling News, one of the oldest and most highly recognized wrestling magazines in the world. Ken is the feature writer for training and technique articles. If you are interested in a subscription, call 800-275-8551, tell them you learned about them from this page.

Drilling - an essential building block of Champions

If you wish to perfect your techniques so that they work at the highest levels of competition, you must stay focused when you are drilling. Too many wrestlers go through the motions when they drill just putting in time. If you do this, you will not reach your fullest potential. Intense drilling is essential if you are going to develop your skills to their fullest.
It is essential that you understand the importance of drilling and use all the drill time your coach gives you efficiently. Never stand around. Make the most of every second. Find a reliable drill partner who is willing to work with you intensely throughout the course of practice. If your coach tells you to drill a move five times each and you do it twice as fast as your teammates, make sure you keep drilling until your coach tells you to drill a different move. Never do a certain number and then stop and wait for everyone else to finish. Then you will only be as good as them. Execute as many quality repetitions as you can in the allotted time.
There was a huge bulletin board in my high school wrestling room that said "Through repetition you can learn a move so well that no one can stop it. If you want it  bad enough, it is only a matter of time." Read this quotation again and think about it. It truly sums up what it takes to learn and perfect a technique, so that you have the confidence to hit it instinctively in the heat of battle. I took this quote to heart throughout my competitive career and make the youngsters I coach today drill endlessly. If you are going to truly believe that no one can stop you, you must have drilled your techniques quickly and crisply thousands of times. Repetition Drilling is essential if you wish to make your techniques instinctive. I will now share some stories with you to illustrate how much value I place on drilling and how essential drilling was to the development of my skills.
When I was in high school, many of my teammates did not drill with the intensity necessary to excel. I did not waste my time with the kids who were just going through the motions. I had a few favorite drill partners that I spent most of my time working with. One teammate in particular, Bobby Taylor, was able to drill with the same intensity that I did. We spent at least 80% of our drill time working together during high school practices. We became very comfortable drilling together and were able to help each other excel. Not only would we drill intensely during practice but also prior to matches. Our drills prior to big matches were short(10 minutes) and crisp, but our drills before dual meets and between rounds of tournaments were quite extensive. We figured that if we sat around between sessions we would be wasting valuable training time. During tournaments we would drill for 20-30 minutes between every session and then warm up together again immediately before our matches. By our senior year there would often be crowds of kids just sitting around the mats between sessions of tournaments watching us drill. Our peers thought we were crazy but we were simply focused on achieving our highest goals. We did not do it for show. We figured that in the long run the more repetitions we did the better we would get. We were right. Bobby and I both won State Championships our Junior and Senior year. Bobby earned a scholarship to and graduated from Clemson. He is now coaching in Chapin, South Carolina where his team has won three State Championships. Coach Taylor has undoubtedly taught his students the importance of intense drilling.
My Olympian Summer Camp students and parents often complain to me about their lack of good coaching or off season workout partners and facilities. My feeling is that if there is a will (to create a good training situation), there is a way. When I was a kid growing up in West Virginia, there were no spring freestyle clubs. Once the regular season ended, it was hard to get mat time and a workout partner let alone find a club. Few wrestlers or coaches even thought about wrestling once the season ended. Even my best friend and training partner, Bobby Taylor, had other interests in the spring. Fortunately, I was able to get Tony Dickens, a wrestler from a school 30 miles away, to workout with me regularly. He proved to an intense and reliable drill partner. I learned freestyle and Greco-Roman by watching videotapes and attending camps, and we did all the drilling on our own with no coaching. Our school principals would not let us on the mats without supervision and the State Athletic Association would not let our coaches work with us in the off season. We had to beg the custodians to let us into our high schools at night or meet at my house where I had a 12x12 in my basement. My home mat was great for drilling but the furniture, pillars and concrete floor made intense live wrestling a dangerous war. Thus, 80% of our workout in my basement consisted of hard drilling. Despite our far from ideal training situation,  I was able to win Junior Nationals in both Greco and freestyle. Tony was All-State three times and wrestled for the Naval Academy. Upon graduation he joined the Navy and became an All American in Greco Roman. We both credit much of our success to the many, many hours we spent drilling together.
While in college at Penn State, my training situation obviously improved. I had many partners for live wrestling, but there were three special people who I spent most my time drilling with,  Jim Martin, Tim Flynn and Coach John Fritz. They understood the importance of intense drilling and these were the men who I drilled with most frequently. Jim Martin became a 4x All American while Tim Flynn and I earned All American Honors 3 times. Our many years of hard work and intense drilling paid off.
Coach Fritz gave me endless hours of his time and energy training me and drilling with me throughout my collegiate career. He was the most influential coach on my wrestling career. I lost 14 matches during my freshman year of college, more than I had lost throughout my  high school career. It was a huge step from West Virginia high school wrestling to big time collegiate wrestling. Fortunately, John Fritz was there every step of the way. He taught me a lot of great techniques and pushed me through many hard times. I was very fortunate that he took me under his wing and helped me reach my fullest potential. He would meet me regularly between classes to watch me drill, polish my technique and more often than not, drill intensely right along with me. I know that the extra time we spent in the wrestling room drilling is what allowed me to excel during college and make the Olympic Team.
I owe much of my success as an athlete to my training partners who I have mentioned throughout this article. Thank You! You do not need many workout partners to be successful, but you must have at least one who understands the importance of intense repetition drilling. If you do not have one, find one or develop one today. There are few exceptions to the phrase "Champions come in pairs"
In a future issue of A.W.N. I will outline a variety of different ways to drill,  so that your time is used most effectively and that your training does not get monotonous. Remember, drilling is only effective if you are focused and concentrating on the task at hand. Do not be guilty of "going through the motions" if you wish to excel and reach you highest goals.


Get in shape

This article from Amateur Wrestling News written by Ken Chertow

Get In Shape For The Upcoming Season

The season will be here soon, so it is time to get focused on your goals for the upcoming season and get busy preparing to reach them. Decide what you want to acheive and make a commitment to do everything necessary to reach your goals.
Do not wait until the season to start training regularly. If you are not already on a pre-season training plan, design one now and get after it. It does not need to be complex. Your pre-season program should consist of at least 3 days/week in the weight room and 3 days/week of cardiovascular exercise(conditioning). You may spread this over six days of the week or you may combine strength training and conditioning into one workout. For example, a 2 mile run followed by lifting weights would kill two birds with one stone.
Do not just put in the weight room. Have a plan when you walk in the door and get busy! Your cardiovascular training may consist of any combination of running, biking, swimming and wrestling. It should combine both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. For example, some days go for a 2-4 mile run or wrestle for 10-20 minutes straight (aerobic training), other days do an interval/sprint workout or wrestle short matches (anaerobic training). I encourage you to get on the mats whenever possible. Find a way to get some mat time. If there is a will there is a way. If your are going to participate in a physically demanding sport like wrestling, you must be fully prepared for battle. Do not let another day slip by with out getting ready.


This is an article by Ken Chertow taken from Wrestling USA.

Seeing Your Way To The Top

To excel at the highest level of competition, you must be prepared every time you step on the mat. Just because you practice regularly does not mean you will automaticlly preform well when the whistle blows.
To have peak preformance in your most important matches, you should focus on what you want to do to win. You should "see" or visualize yourself successfully scoring, "belive" you will win and do everything possible to prevail.
Visualization is the ability to imagine yourself preforming in certain situations. If done constantly and properly, it will enhance your confidence and mental toughness. This will in turn enhance your most important goal and then "See it, believe it, do it".
With the season quickly approaching, it should be easy to identify and focus on your most challenging goals. No matter how high your goals are, you must "see" yourself acheive them daily.
When I was in 8th grade, I went to watch the high school state finals. The arena was packed and there was a spotlight shining down on the finalists as they paraded around the mat. I still remember that evening vividly, because the adrenaline rushed through me like nothing I had ever felt to date.
I went home that night and went for a run. While running, I imagined that I was in the state finals competing against that night's champion...and winning.
After running, I began to shadow drillmy favorite takedowns. I pictured myself hitting them successfully in the same finals and I could hear the crowd roaring in the stands. When I was finished training, I saw myself atop of the awards stand. I had acieved my goal; I had become a State my head at least.
In order to fully prepare for any anxiety and pressure that may exist before and during intense matches, you should rehearse the possible scenarios over and over in your mind beforehand. If possible, actually picture yourself in a specific arena scoring against a paticular opponent. Imagine yourself warming up in front of the crowd and then stepping on the mat to do battle. Visualize yourself successfully attacking and counterattacking from every position. Always picture yourself coming out on top after every flurry or scramble. Never think negatively. Always think positively.
If you will picture yourself prevailing in your biggest competions, it will help reduce any competitive stress that may exist when you have to actually compete. Visualization can also be used to reveiw new techniques in your mind.
When I became a state champion my junior year, I had already rehearsed the match in my head hundreds of times. When I won, it was the most intensely satisfying experience I have ever felt.
Rember to "think big, work hard, and have a dream" as you pursue your loftiest goals in wrestling, and the rest of your life.


Past Camp Memories

Memorable Moments from Past Camps

I just wrapped up my Winter Break Gold Medal Training Camp at the Days Inn Penn State and everything went great! The kids worked extremely hard and I know they returned home improved and highly motivated. I have been conducting wrestling camps for over a decade and teach a group almost every session. On the rare occasions that I am not teaching, I watch my coaching staff closely, so I can learn as much as possible and give the campers quality feedback while they are drilling.
I have never missed a session of my camps until this recent camp. My excuse... I am proud to announce the birth of my 2nd child and 1st son, Alexander Chertow. My wife, Laurie, could not hold off until the end of camp. Or maybe it was Alex who wanted to "escape" so he could attend his first camp. His timing was good, as our guest clinician on his birthday was Kurt Angle. Kurt tells me that his first weigh-in was the same as my son's, 8 pounds and 9 ounces. Perhaps I will have a heavyweight on my hands.
All went well with my wife's delivery and I was there for the entire labor and birth. It was awesome. My boy came out with all parts intact looking like a stud. A couple hours after Alex's arrival my wife encouraged me go back to camp, so I could help the kids and pick Kurt's brain. After all, she wants Alex to have perfect duck under and low single technique like Kurt. All sarcasm aside, my wife and son are home, healthy and doing great and I am a proud daddy. This camp will certainly be a memorable one. Now on to the other topic of this article... memorable moves that I learned over the years at camps.

I was a regular on the summer camp circuit growing up. I would shovel driveways all winter and cut lawns all spring to save up for as many camps as possible. My parents would match whatever amount I saved up, and I would spend my summer on the camp circuit. Camps were essential to my development as an athlete and coach. I learned many of my techniques and philosophies from some of the legends of our sport. The following are just a few of the many examples.
I was coached by Olympic Gold Medalists, Doug Blubaugh and Shelby Wilson, at the first camp I ever attended. Coach Blubaugh taught me his Front Headlock Series and Coach Wilson taught me his Whizzer Series. As I developed into a successful wrestler I called on these techniques time and time again to defend myself. I saw these fundamental techniques taught repeatedly over the years by other coaches, but never with the precise attention to detail like Doug and Shelby.
Former Oklahoma State great and coaching legend, Myron Roderick, taught me his Firemans Carry Series when I was 14 years old. I drilled this series frequently throughout high school but only used it occasionally. Nevertheless, in the State Finals my junior year of high school, I pinned my opponent with an Outside Firemans Carry to win my 1st State Championship. Often you must drill a move thousands of time before you can hit it instinctively in the heat of battle. This was a perfect example.
When I was in 10th grade I learned the Inside Step Opposite Leg Single from Barry Davis. I used it often throughout high school including in the State Finals my senior year. Barry Davis became one of my role models during both high school and college. In 1984 when I was a high school senior and Barry was a college senior, I won a State Championship at 126 pounds and Barry won the Olympic Silver Medal at 125.5 pounds. My goal became to make the 1988 Olympic Team while I was still in college. Barry did it... I knew Barry from camp...he was an ordinary why couldn't I do it? My logic paid off as four years later I made the 1988 Olympic Team. Ironically, I used the Inside Step Opposite Leg Single often throughout the Olympic Trials, and so did Barry as he made the team at the weight above me.
Summer Camps are not only a great way to learn moves, but they are also a great way to develop and meet role models. "Great thing are not achieved by extraordinary people, they are achieved by ordinary people (like you, me and Barry) who are willing to work extraordinarily hard to achieve their goals". Sometimes we do not realize our role models are ordinary people because we only read about them or watch them on television. Barry was one of the many, many great wrestlers and coaches who I got to meet personally at summer camps over the years. Not only did I learn an array of effective techniques at camps, but I also met the men who helped me better understand the intensity and commitment that are required to excel in our sport and life.
I am grateful to the many men who have had an impact on my life by helping me at camps over the years. As a director of my own camp system today, I strive to have a similar impact on the many young people I work with. I surround myself with great people, hiring men who are not only expert coaches, but who are also enthusiastic and motivated instructors who are committed to helping my students excel.
I have made a commitment to coordinating the most outstanding camp system in the nation. In developing my camp over the past decade, I have often found myself calling on my past experiences as a youngster at camps. Fortunately, my past camp experiences not only helped me during my competitive career, but they continue to help me as a coach and camp director to this day.
The last article I wrote for AWN discussed the importance of drilling. If you are going to perfect any moves you learn at a camp or elsewhere, you must spend endless hours drilling to develop and perfect your technique. In my next AWN article I will discuss a variety of different methods of drilling that will help you perfect your moves so you can hit them instinctively in the heat of battle.

Webmaster's Note: If you would like Ken to cover a specific topic in a future article or would like information about his summer camps, instructional videos or motivational book, call (814) 466-3466 or send an e-mail to me.