Hawkeye wrestling camp begins in Iowa City

BY NICK STEFFEN | JUNE 23, 2014 5:00 AM

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Wrestling is a lifestyle in Iowa, and to the young men who attend the Iowa Wrestling Camps, it is something they often work at every day. Wrestlers from around the state are starting their workouts for the upcoming season.

Although it seems far away, practice now can really make a difference when wrestling season rolls around. Camps have sprung up in cities all over the state, and in Iowa City, many young men have joined the Hawkeyes at camp as well.  

After a quick opening speech from Iowa head coach Tom Brands, Hawkeye wrestlers took charge of the camp, running the high-schoolers through setup and takedown drills. Each drill was run in slow motion so that every wrestler could see how the moves worked.

Hawkeye wrestlers, including Phillip Laux, Logan Thomsen, and Patrick Rhoads, roamed the mat and watched the wrestlers drill, interrupting every so often to demonstrate a move or give some advice. Hawkeye Iowa wrestlers enjoy coaching the younger guys and running through the moves helps them sharpen their own skills on the mat.  

“When breaking down the moves, it’s good to show the wrestlers, but it’s also good to help myself as a wrestler so I can see what all goes into each part of the body to make the move work,” Laux said.

“It’s a good experience; it’s great to interact with the kids. I mean, they really look up to Iowa wrestling, and it’s just great to get back to the sport. I like it a lot.”

The camp takes place over three days in the Carver-Hawkeye Arena wrestling room as well as around the Iowa City area. The campers are exposed to different moves and training from the team that took fourth at the NCAA championships last season, as well as learn about good-life habits outside the wrestling room that can help them achieve their goals off the mat.

The Hawkeye wrestlers said they enjoy taking a coaching position with the campers and showing them how to be the best wrestlers they can be on and off the mat. They stress being smart in daily life and making the right decisions about what goes into their body.

At the end of the practice, a Hawkeye wrestler led the high-schoolers through pushups before a quick run through of all the moves the guys learned and drilled in the practice.

“It helps revamp and re-establish stuff I’ve already learned, and I improve my own wrestling as well as help them,” Rhoads said after practice. “It’s good to see the development of the kids over the whole time period of the camp, where they are after the camp and where they are the next year.”

The Hawkeye wrestlers want to help motivate these young men to achieve new goals.

“It’s fun and a good coaching experience giving back to younger kids and hopefully motivating them to get new heights in their wrestling,” Thomsen said. “I get a sense of satisfaction knowing that I helped kids along with their journey whatever that is, maybe crack varsity lineup in their high school or win a state championship.”

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