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A tale of a wrestling tournament that didn’t go as expected and the growth experienced from it.
Much like most of you high school kids in grade 9 in Toronto coming from a Caribbean background I wanted so much to be on the basketball team and be a good basketball player. I was 5 foot nothing and very skilled in the sport of basketball among many other sports. But I was lucky enough to be given a choice, my wrestling coach told me that I could be six man coming off the bench in basketball or I could be a superstar Wrestler where I have a lot more success. Choice for me was very obvious at that point my ego wouldn’t let me come off the bench. The choice may not be that easy for some of you, some of you may be taller than I was, or you may not have a high school wrestling coach that was as good of a person as mine was to sit me down and give me that option and break it down to me, but I just want you to know that there’s another choice.
A lot of you have dreams but I beg you to do the research and see how many people or what percentage of the players actually are successful at their hoop dreams. I want to know that this is not a jab at the sport basketball, I love it, it’s a great sport I play it even now recreationally, but in terms of using the sport to help land you in a successful position after high school or university I beg you to weigh your options because there are a lot of other options. They’re only 12 people selected for a basketball team usually, a team of wrestlers can be comprised of up to 30 to 40 on a given high school team. There is no barrier to entry in other words the sport does not favour the tall, because we have weight classes that separate you from your teammates.
You compete against people your size which makes the playground a lot more fair in terms of natural abilities. The sport of wrestling offers you an opportunity to practice Life skills make, making tough decisions, growing through resistance or overcoming hurdles, it teaches you grit and perseverance. In my humble opinion there is no better teacher for game of life than the sport of wrestling but I do have a slight bias. I wanna encourage you to open your mind to other options, there are many other sports out there that can lead you to that university scholarship, that opportunity to get a job doing the thing you love, the knowledge and skills to become a successful person.
Today I’m happy to do what I love and it started with that one decision back when I was 13 years old. And if you ask me would I make that same decision again, the answer is resoundingly yes. The sport of wrestling is taught me a lot about what it means to be successful, what it means to give back to your community, what it means to be prosperous and what is most important in life. I wish for you the very same, open your eyes to the other options.
Beat the Streets Toronto
The short answer is Yes. The long answer below, a piece written by National and Olympic Track & Field Coach, George Van Zyel:
Drs. Holly Benjamin and Kimberley Glow wrote an article Strength Training for Children and Adolescents: What can physicians recommend? published in The Physician and Sports Medicine Vol.31-No.9 September 2003. It provides an honest appraisal of the value of strength training for young athletes and the risks associated with various forms of strength training.
Their conclusion was that the "current published literature demonstrates that the benefits of strength training far outweigh the potential risks." Interestingly, they found that the safest type of strength training involved Olympic Lifting because of the heavy emphasis on proper technique.
As long as the strength training programme is supervised, the answer is a resounding "YES IT IS SAFE" from the following organizations:
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Sports Medicine
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
British Association of Sports & Exercise Science
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
National Strength and Conditioning Association
United Kingdom Strength & Conditioning Association
This is a view of the safety of weight training and particularly weightlifting that is supported by empirical evidence. Brian Hamill conducted a survey involving a number of British schools and published the results in the article Relative Safety of weightlifting and weight training that appeared in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 1994;8(1);53-57. The results appear below:
You can read the full article here.
Strength is the Foundation,
This summer, we are holding a one-off Wrestle the North event at Nathan Philips Square on 12 July at 6pm. Our goal is to unite our wrestling family and friends from across the country and showcase some of the best wrestling in North America for the United World Wrestling Cadet Age Group.
Come join us for fun & interactive games, free SWAG and giveaways courtesy of our generous partners and sponsors and of course, to see some great wrestling skills!
Wrestle the North is held in partnership with our BTST Intensive Wrestling Camp, 10-14 July at 1 Danforth Ave., where our special guests will include the Team Ontario Canada Games Team and the Cuban National Team!
Contact us for more information and don't forget to watch this space for more details!
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