Youngsters are getting to grips with wrestling

Thomas Phillips from Wirksworth and Middleton Wrestling Club
Thomas Phillips from Wirksworth and Middleton Wrestling Club
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TALENTED members of Middleton and Wirksworth Freestyle Wrestling Club will be looking to build on a successful 2011 when they return to competitive action next month.

The club, with between 20-30 members, has been flying the flag for the area in competitive meetings up and down the country in recent times with more and more medals making their way back to the Dales, thanks to the performances of a talented crop of wrestlers.

The next competitive action is at the Nottingham Invitational on February 28 with plenty of hard work due to be put in before then, but Kev Lawley, a coach and welfare officer, believes the wrestlers are now gaining the rewards for their efforts in training and the sound advice from the club’s team of ace coaches is having a real impact.

Kev explained: “We’ll be putting 20 or so competitors in for that one, so we go there with high hopes. 2011 was a good year for us, not one of the absolute best, but there was some real progress made and it started to come good for quite a few of the youngsters.

“More of them are getting their act together and putting in good displays, and that’s been reflected in some of the performances across the year.”

He went on: “It’s about us instilling a desire to win, instilling a competitiveness in them, plus helping them to pick up, and then build on, the basic skills. Some have it naturally but most don’t so it can be slow going at first, but it’s worth it when it all comes together.”

The club splits its members into two separate categories, under 11s and over 11s, which can go right up to adult age. Members meet twice a week at Middleton Village Hall, on Mondays and Wednesdays, with under 11s training from 6.30pm-8pm and over 11s from 8pm to 9.30pm.

Kev Lawley continued: “I think the club is in a very healthy state at the moment. The level of competitiveness has gone up, confidence has risen and that’s backed up by the successes we are having.

“We have more coaches coming through too. Some of the older teenagers are now at the age where they can take coaching courses so it all helps.

“Kids often come here to gain confidence or to try their hand at somethning different. We get some really shy kids who aren’t keen on joining in or going out but it brings them out of themselves. When we go to competitions, the big ones look after the little ones and it’s like a big family, that’s the atmosphere we’re after here.

“It can be a rough sport at times but the injuries are few and far between and the skills they gain can be transferred to other sports. For example, the fitness levels they gain can help with football and other things like that.”

The highlight of the year for Kev was the last competition of 2011, the Aspull International held at Wigan, which saw members come home with six individual gold medals plus, for the third time, the team trophy.

Kev said: “For reasons that we couldn’t put our fingers on, the feeling was it was a bit in the doldrums in 2010 but it’s been a much better 12 months in 2011. A lot of hard work has gone into it from kids and coaches and you can see with a number of kids it’s all starting to click and the medals are coming as a result. The desire to win is getting stronger and that is helping the club and its reputation.”

Asked to choose standout performers for 2011, Kev nominated a pair of under 11s in Thomas Phillips and Lewis Brown.

“They have done well and it has really clicked for them. If they keep working hard, they have the makings of two really good wrestlers.”

The Nottingham Invitational is the first of nine competitions lined up this year for the club with members looking to match or even exceed last year’s medals haul.

Those interested in trying their hand at wrestling can turn up to the training sessions at Middleton Village Hall or they can ring the club’s Trevor Hoskins on 07961 516722 or Kev Lawley on 07977 789747.