Does Summer Training Really Make Winners in the Winter?

www.bulldogwrestle.comI took a much different approach to wrestling in high school then most high school kids. Since I hadn’t really started wrestling until end of my 8th grade year I knew I had a lot of catch up work to do. My way of playing catch up was to wrestle year round.

Now many people may be surprised that in my first 4 years of wrestling I became a 3 x high school Florida state finalist, a 2 x Florida State champion, a 2 x Florida Outstanding wrestler, as well as become a runner-up in Freestyle Nationals my senior year but I owe my success to Summer wrestling.

You see everyone who wants to become a successful wrestler, wrestles the grueling season and gets between 30-50 matches on average but you could double those amount of matches by wrestling Greco and Freestyle as well as getting matches in many of the major summer and spring national competitions.

It isn’t hard to make progress getting 8 years of wrestling in just 4 years plus mixing things up between folk style and freestyle/greco also helps kids overcome burnout because it is almost like having a new sport to train for every six months.

However, their are 2 very important additions to just wrestling year round. First, a solid year round lifting schedule and regular conditioning is very important to becoming a successful wrestler.  You can change this up every six months just like switching from folkstyle to freesyle/greco. During the summer months lift for strength and size and take nice long runs to stay lean. During the season lift for endurance and core strength and condition fast and short to get your lungs ready for those hard fought overtime battles.

Lastly and most importantly, always keep improving yourself on the mats. If you drill the same moves every day you may get better but if you want to improve fast and steady you must attend camps and clinics. I made all of my progress every season by learning the new techniques and improving my old ones.

Now you can pick up a lot of great wrestling during the season but you need a productive summer to incorporate your new techniques that you learn from summer camps and clincis so that you can use it at the highest level by the end of each season. So summer training does make winners in the winter but it is what you do over those summer months that separate the goods from the greats!

As a division I college coach for the past 11 season at The Citadel I know I always look for year round wrestlers in my future recruits because I know they will make the best college wrestlers some day. I wasn’t the greatest wrestler to ever walk into the Oklahoma State Wrestling room my freshman year but when I graduated in 2000 with over 100 wins as an All-American, Big XII Champion, Freestyle National Champion,  and FILA World Team Member I was proud to call my self a Cowboy and I owe it all to my year round wrestling regiment.

Since graduating in 2000 and becoming a Division I college coach at The Citadel I have tried to help thousands of wrestlers become champions through my many camps and clinics that I put on around the country and my many summer camps at The Citadel every July.

If you would like to attend a great camp this summer check out our camp dates at we still have some openings at our 7 different great camps.

Best of luck with your summer training and hope it all pays off for you next season.


Coach Ragan


2 comments on “Does Summer Training Really Make Winners in the Winter?”

  1. Bruce Yarbrough

    This summer I am having my two small sons on the mat practicing at least two days a week for about an hour to an hour-and-a half. I am also incorporating four days a week of light to moderate weight training and cardio training. Should I start a little heavy/heavier weight training too? My oldest is nine and my youngest is 7… just don’t know if heavier is better at this young age.



    • Anthony Flatt

      Bruce – I would not worry about increasing the weight. I would rather include Crosstraining / Body weight excersises. Doctors say not to have young kids lift weight above their heads until around 11yrs old. But everything I have read and been told supports body weight excersise at any age.

      The Russians use to have their wrestlers focus on gymnastic and tumbling until they were 12yrs old and then started them on wrestling. I do not think that is a bad plan.

      I would suggest:
      Add some tumbling, gymnastics, other marticial arts (learn more about level change, angles, foward momentum)
      Add CrossFit type Cross Training (They do cool stuff with ropes, chains, tires, pull ups, push ups, etc)
      Add some swimming, hiking or other endurance stuff

      Keep it fun but wear them out.

      Hope this helps.

      Take care, Anthony.

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