Chertow: Using summer habits leads to winter titles

Updated: September 26, 2014

By Ken Chertow

I hope you had a productive summer and are now motivated to make this a great new school year. I have a variety of thoughts to share with you that will help make this season successful. I just finished a successful summer of wrestling camp working to help dedicated wrestlers across the country learn our sport and perfect their techniques as they strive to excel.

Though there are some variations in technique and style across the country, it is clear that all wrestlers and coaches need to spend more quality time working on hand fighting, intense chain drilling, finishing leg attacks, and second moves from bottom.

The final four weeks of my camp each summer are in Pennsylvania, and it is clear that PA kids spend more time on chain wrestling from top and bottom wrestling.  Everyone knows you have to spend the majority of your training on takedowns as there is so much to learn and that is often the key to winning, but do not neglect your mat wrestling on both top and bottom.

I will be focusing on these areas and more at our upcoming camps and am now working to finalize fall and winter camp and clinic schedules. Our core camps in State College are preseason Weekend Warrior Camps and a Winter Break Training Camp in the heart of the season.  Contact me if you ever want to consider attending or hosting an event with me or as one of my camp coaches in your community.

As you get into a routine this school year make sure you are consistently drinking plenty of water and eating small portions of nutritious foods. Do not skip breakfast, eat a small lunch and then gorge yourself at dinner and late at night. This is a recipe for gaining weight, and a pattern too many wrestlers and coaches follow.  Stay away from the 7 Cs: cookies, cakes, colas, chips, candy, chocolate and complaining!

Energy drinks, protein powder, and weight-loss products are now more popular than ever because they work. Nutrition science has evolved and supplements are here to stay. They are not a substitute to a healthy diet but can definitely be an effective supplement to your diet as you work to maximize your performance.

If you are going to use supplements I recommend Advocare products. I use them personally along with my family and students.  Advocare offers a complete line of Elite Performance Products to maximize strength, energy and intensity.

Advocare is not only great nutrition for wrestlers but also has very effective weight-loss products for coaches and parents. The Advocare 24-day challenge will help you gain energy and lose weight. You can learn more about Advocare products and becoming a wholesale customer or distributor at

Let’s all work harder this year to promote our sport. Hit the football and soccer fields and invite more athletes to try our sport this winter. Reach out to the media to get more coverage for your team. It is great to see more college wrestling on TV thanks to the Big Ten Network, PAC-12 Network and FCS.  Here in Pennsylvania, our WHVL-MyTV Network has broadcast a weekly high school dual meet for the past three seasons.

To stay up to speed on when wrestling will be on TV, join the National Registry for Wrestling at This is a free mailing list and our goal is to get major networks to put more wrestling on TV consistently. Please use source code ChertowWIN when you sign up for this registry.

Lastly, I encourage coaches to take advantage of coaching clinics in your area. Never think you know it all. On the contrary, always work to improve and evolve. Last year, I attended and taught at both the Wisconsin and PA coaches clinics. Not only did I present, but also I was able to watch outstanding high school coaches Mike Hagerty and Mike Powell in Wisconsin along with Kyle Dake and Cael and Cody Sanderson in Pennsylvania.

These dedicated coaches shared not only an array of techniques, but also many important drills. Coaching is more than just teaching moves. You need to have creative and dynamic drills that enable you to maximize the focus and intensity of your wrestlers’ training.

(Ken Chertow has a passion for coaching. His columns are great teaching tools for parents, coaches and wrestlers at the youth and high school level. For more information about his Winter Break Training Camp, summer camps, instructional DVDs and books, visit www.Ken or call 814-466-3466.)