That’s exactly what’s going on at the Grindhouse Wrestling School in Calhoun as co-owner and coach Matthew Pitts is running several camps throughout the summer.
This is the first summer since Grindhouse opened last November and so far the school has hosted three summer camps with the most recent starting on Monday and wrapping up today. So far, Pitts and other guest instructors have held a Southeast Regional Training Camp in May, a Youth Beginner Camp last week and this week a Takedown Grind Camp.
The most recent of the three focuses on takedowns and what to do on your feet and has been instructed by Pitts and special guest instructor Witt Durden, a former four-time state champion at Dublin and collegiate wrestler at Oklahoma.
“Specifically, we’re working on takedowns and wrestling from neutral for this camp,” said Pitts, a former UTC wrestler and two-time state champ at Gordon Central. “Every match starts on the feet so it’s good to be proficient and know what to do from there. Wrestling from neutral is a tough thing to learn, but you can win a lot of matches by being good at it.”
The camp, which has wrestlers from age 7 all the way to age 18, wraps up today. There will be another Takedown Grind Camp July 23-25 and will wrap up Grindhouse’s summer camp schedule after Youth Intensive Camp June 25-27 and Grindhouse Technique Camp July 9-12.
“All the camps this summer have been great so far,” said Pitts. “We’ve had good participation. We’ve had a lot of kids, but not too many we can’t still move around in here and drill.”
For this week’s camp specifically which went from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and today, Pitts said the effort and attention was good at the beginning of camp.
“The first day went well,” said Pitts. “Toward the end of the day, we knew there was going to be a little focus lost but that’s just from the fatigue and monotonous up and down on the mat. But that helps the guys to be mentally able to stay in there when they’re tired.
“And with such a wide age range, it’s important for these little guys to see how the older guys do things.”
Pitts said that getting young wrestlers into these kind of camps is good for several reasons, but mainly to get a head start on learning things the right way.
“Right now, it’s huge for the little guys to come in here and create good habits at a young age,” said Pitts.
“That way this stuff will be second nature to them when they get older. We’re trying to help them establish a good fundamental base to make them a more dynamic wrestler.”
Pitts will have a large cast of special instructors over the summer at the various camps, including Sonoraville High head coach Steve Hamilton and Calhoun High head coach Dale Hales. Pitts said that these camps aren’t only important for the younger kids to learn, but they also serve as extra seasoning for middle and high school wrestlers.
“Doing the drills all day helps with conditioning, and it’s also important mentally for the older guys to be able to drill the whole day,” said Pitts. “With them being older, this helps to kind of critique their skills and build on what they already know. For them, it’s about knowing that the little things make a difference, and that really helps them to get better.”
For more information about Grindhouse or to learn how to sign up for camps, visit their website at www.grindhousewrestling.com.