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Benefits Of Wrestling Range From Exercise To Overcoming Adversity



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This is the second in a series of articles highlighting the Newtown Youth Wrestling Association; the first ran on July 30.

From getting a great workout to building confidence and having fun, wrestling provides numerous benefits to participants. Just ask coaches and officials involved with the Newtown Youth Wrestling Association (NYWA), which is about to kick off its fall season.

“Besides the obvious benefits of getting into great shape, making new friends, and learning new skills, wrestling also improves a young athlete’s mind, getting them to focus, pay attention longer, and working on memory. This helps many of our wrestlers while in school and with home chores,” said Curtis Urbina, head coach in the Newtown program.

I have also heard from many of our teachers and educators that since their students started wrestling, they have become better students and friends while attending school. Their confidence has been elevated and they have also become more protective of their friends from being bullied or teased,” Urbina said. “We are very proud of our student-athletes and hope to welcome many more new newcomers to our program.”

For NYWA President Nick Veneziano the things that stand out are mental and physical aspects — self confidence and strength and conditioning.

“Number one being self confidence,” Veneziano said. “While as athletes we strive for physical fitness without mental fitness, we know we cannot perform at our best. No matter the field of play.”

Veneziano said self confidence is especially important with the younger wrestlers, and he has seen growth in that area. “After only a few weeks or so you see kids that won’t look at you as they come and barely say hi now using eye contact and engaging in conversation,” Veneziano said.

According to a statement from the NYWA about the benefits of the program, “Wrestling uses every part of the athlete’s body during training and competition. Wrestlers build core strength and develop great cardio stamina. As an energy outlet, practices and matches are non-stop with no down time. Confidence is built through accomplishing hard things. Wrestling puts athletes in situations where they have to dig in and fight to reap the rewards. When a wrestler masters a skill, scores with a move they’ve been practicing or wins a match over a tough opponent, it’s because of the work they have put in.”

Participation is different in wrestling than in many other sports given the nature of grappling.

“Every wrestler has a chance to participate and compete. Unlike many team sports, there is no riding the bench, politics, or favorites,” according to the NYWA statement.

What’s more, wrestling gives athletes of all sizes a chance to compete. “Wrestlers are grouped by age and weight, so it doesn’t matter if you are small, short, tall or big,” according to the NYWA.

Handling adversity is something that wrestlers can take from their sport. While this may also be true in team sports, handling adversity is unique in individual competition, such as wrestling. “In every match, someone will win and someone will lose. Losing in a team sport is disappointing, but it’s different when it’s only one individual. In wrestling, kids learn how to lose gracefully and more importantly, how to quickly put it behind them and work hard to improve for the next match,” according to the NYWA statement.

Mental strength is another important part of wrestling. “Wrestlers have to mentally prepare for a match, learn how to stay calm under pressure, and deal with feelings of anxiousness and nervousness over and over again. This repetition makes it second nature and prepares them for life. Approaching a speech or an interview becomes easier because they’ve learned how to step up when it’s their time to perform,” according to the NYWA.

NYWA officials believe its athletes should play multiple sports, in part for the cross-training benefits which leads to improved flexibility, balance, and coordination.

“At NYWA, we’re a big on having our athletes being involved in multiple sports. So once spring rolls around after your first season of wrestling you notice the huge impact wrestling has, whether it’s being able to run a bit longer or do a proper push up,” Veneziano said.

And, of course, getting enjoyment out of participating in a sport is a good thing.

“It’s fun to win, it’s fun to compete, and it’s fun learning and executing new moves. While wrestling is an individual sport, there’s also a special bond that all wrestlers share,” according to the NYWA.

The fun begins prior to the mid September start of the fall slate. The NYWA will hold a free clinic for prospective wrestlers on Saturday, August 28, noon to 1 pm at Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street. There will also be clinics September 18, from 3 to 4 pm, and October 9, from noon to 1 pm (both also at Edmond Town Hall). Following the fall season, there will be winter and spring wrestling campaigns.

To learn more about NYWA and to register, visit newtownyouthwrestling.com.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Rising ninth-graders from the Newtown Youth Wrestling Association (NYWA) are, from left, Andrew Cory, Ian Karlin (Pomperaug High School, Southbury), Marc Maurath, Thomas Morgan, Kenna Gioffre, Brendan McAnaspie, and Charlie Dunn. Not pictured: Jakob Wenis. NYWA gets back on the mats for the fall season in September and offers clinics for prospective wrestlers, beginning on Saturday, August 28, from noon to 1 pm at Edmond Town Hall. The program is designed to provide an outlet for exercise while building confidence, mental strength, and more.
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