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Recapping the 2021 USA Wrestling and U.S. Marine Corps Silver Coaches Clinic

by Mike Clayton, USA Wrestling

Twice a year we gather coaches of all coaching levels together for three days to share and learn with two fundamental goals: improve how we recruit athletes into our sport and improve how we retain athletes in our sport.

This year’s Fall Silver College was hosted at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Mo. 39 coaches attended, including the most female coaches in college history. Geographically, coaches travelled from states as far as Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas, Colorado as well as strong representations from Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois.

Presenters on the mat included World Champion and Olympic silver medalist Sammie Henson, two-time All-American Dom Bradley, and USA Wrestling National Team Staff including Jessica Medina and Gary Mayabb.

Classroom sessions were hosted by the United States Marine Corps, the first corporate sponsor of the USA Wrestling Silver Coaches Colleges.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps,” National Coaches Education Program Manager Mike Clayton said. “Our clinics are about building culture through improved communication, organization and effort. What could be more fitting than to have U.S. Marines help us drive those efforts?”

Marines presented topics during all three days of the clinic, adding a unique perspective to coaches on how leadership scenarios can be navigated to build stronger team bonds. The USA Wrestling NCEP presented on six tenants of mindfulness and how to use them for better coach well-being.

Additional classroom sessions included:
Nutrition - Mike Hagerty (Gold Coach)
Program Building - Marty Hauck (Gold Coach)
Practice Planning - Jessica Medina (National Team Staff)

Three coaches presented to the group as a part of their Gold Level Coach Certification
Bryan Kenny (Texas) earned his Gold presenting on periodization. Eric Everard (Colorado) and Randall Balch (Texas) continued on their Gold journeys presenting on “Cry Wolf Journey” and “Challenge Block - To Throw or Not To Throw,” respectively.

All three presentations were impactful to the group and all met the approval from the Silver participants as a symbol of peer support for each coach’s efforts on this Gold task.

Missouri USA Wrestling and their NCEP Director Mike Tuck went out of their way to help ensure the clinic was well marketed in local areas as well as providing event support and participation throughout the college.

“I had previously completed the NCEP Silver Certification. Returning to the Silver college was an excellent opportunity to continue to develop as a coach and mentor. The coaching strategies and techniques that were taught at the Silver Certification College were both current and relevant to the direction folkstyle, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling are evolving domestically as well as internationally,” Tuck said. “The U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major's stories of core values in developing soldiers and leaders was both entertaining and informational as the Marine Corps’ core values parallel USA Wrestling's core values.”

Clayton mentioned that “…within 24 hours we’d heard from several coaches that the clinic had led them to feel immediately motivated to continue to expand their knowledge of leadership and athlete-centered program building. How can you beat that?”