Getting a hold on young talent

The coaches are new and so are many of the participants, but don’t think anything else about the South Kitsap High School summer wrestling camp would change.

Chad Nass and Dave Dyess know better than to mess with a good thing.

“It’s pretty much the same,” Nass said as last week’s camp wrapped up in the South Kitsap mat room. “We’re just trying to get them some fundamentals that they can learn in the camp and also use next year. We’re not here to show them a bunch of camp moves that they can just use here and then never use them again.”

The camp, the first since Nass and Dyess became co-head coaches of the SK program, ran for five days last week for boys in junior high grades. About 20 future Wolves signed up and took part in the five-day workout.

Ron Coppinger, recently hired as an assistant coach, was also there teaching the fundamentals of the sport.

“We want to try to provide them them with the opportunity to show them some basic positioning and technique and then give them ample time to drill, so that they can remember it for next year,” Nass said.

And although the coaching staff is new in titles, not much else has changed.

“We’re just kind of going at it as business as usual,” Nass said. “Just kind of plugging away that way.”

The camp was open to boys entering grades seven through 10 only. None of the Wolves’ current varsity wrestlers were associated with the camp.

“We viewed that as a weakness a couple of years ago,” Nass said. “We were losing talent because kids were getting to the high school and they weren’t connected with us.

“By not knowing us, when wrestling season rolled around in the middle of winter, we had kind of lost track of them and they had lost track of us,” Nass said. “We try to do this camp so we can build a relationship with these kids so when they get to the high school, they know who we are and then they’re more apt to turn out when they get here.”

It’s also a chance to show the younger kids what it will take to be a part of one of the state’s premier wrestling programs.

“This is an intimidating place,” Nass said. “There are some tough kids in this room and they may have been varsity all through junior high but when they think about going to high school, maybe their first year, they may not be varsity. It takes some adjusting but they know if they hang in there, they’re going to make it and be just fine.”

Nass said that although the camp is designed to teach the basics and get kids involved with the program, future stars will get noticed.

“They stick out,” Nass said. “We’ve got some pretty good talent in here. And just by being here, it shows the desire to want to get better. And once the kids have the desire, it makes everything else pretty easy.”

Nass said it can be difficult sometimes to not overteach some of the kids and keep the camp simple yet fulfilling.

“I think your natural tendency is to go flock (to some kids) but you have to spread it out so every kid knows you’re interested in them,” Nass said.

While Dyess, Coppinger and Nass are the only coaches involved, Nass said he can see the work of other coaches in the kids.

“We’ve had really good coaches in our junior highs,” Nass said. “They do a very good job of teaching fundamentals so we’re kind of spoiled that way.

“Maybe tweak them a little bit and maybe show them a different take on something,” Nass said. “And really try to teach them some of the moves that we are going to really teach them at the high school level so that they are familiar with them now. But our junior high schools have always done a really nice job.”

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