At the Perry Wrestling Camp, students aren’t only taught to improve their technique but also debated the existential crisis of the freedom of choice.
That was more a closing statement from Monday, June 24’s guest clinician and former Perry head coach Trevor Kittleson, but it goes to show the varied and wholesome approach the camp provides for the more than 30 attending wrestlers.
Monday marked the first day of the 2019 Perry Wrestling Camp that will continue through Wednesday, bringing in a new guest instructor for all three days. Kittleson came in Monday to kick things into gear after he had a scheduling conflict last year.
As one of a half dozen camps he visits every summer as an assistant coach at Loras College, Kittleson said it was good to come back to Perry to teach for day after serving as head coach from 2011-16. It was just as hot in there as he remembered.
“This is the first time I’ve taught in the wrestling room where I taught wrestling for five years. So it was pretty cool coming back in here. I’ve always enjoyed [it] and felt it like home,” Kittleson said.
Current Perry head coach Mark Weber said it was good to have Kittleson in the room getting to work with the area’s young wrestlers, allowing Weber and his staff to also help instruct with the techniques Kittleson brought to the table from a new perspective.
With such a wide range of students from elementary to high school coming in from the greater Dallas County area, Kittleson added that it’s always good to slowly breakdown even the most basic concepts to provide new instruction for younger kids while helping older wrestlers find nuance.
“That’s actually really tough. It’s probably the hardest thing even as a high school coach,” Kittleson added. “This is a wide range of stuff and so I try to break it down. And even the older kids that are more experienced in wrestling can still benefit from breaking it down and taking it slow, focusing on details.”
Adapting with the times, Kittleson used a new example he called a “Fortnite move” to capture the younger students’ attention, capitalizing on the gaming phenomenon.
He also wanted to instill more than wrestling advice with the group before leaving. Before students left, he reminded them that to become better wrestlers or do better in school, they always have a choice. Go to practice every day or not. Go enjoy school every day or not. There’s always a right or wrong choice, but Kittleson reminded everyone to always choose the right one, completing their fill of philosophy for the summer.
The next two days, Willie Miklus, an assistant at Iowa State, and Pablo Ubasa, owner of Ubasa Wrestling Academy will be the featured coaches Tuesday and Wednesday. Classes run from 6-8 p.m. and cost $25 per night.