SHAWNEE, Okla. --
When a wrestler steps on the mat and faces his or her opponent, there is no one else who can help at that point. It’s just the two of them. The long and hard practices, the countless hours of watching film of the opponent and prepping for the match are all a thing of the past at this point. Now is the time for the wrestler to put all the preparation to the test and defeat the rival.
This sounds all too familiar for Marines, who train, train and train, whether war or peace time, to remain ready at any given point.
This was communicated to high school wrestling coaches when Marines with 9th Marine Corps District attended a National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Leadership Conference, Oct. 19, at Shawnee High School.
They spoke directly to Oklahoma high school coaches concerning characteristics like endurance, bearing, decisiveness and courage which Marines and wrestlers share.
These shared values help both the Marine Corps and NWCA build relationships where Marines and coaches teach wrestlers about physical training, mental strength and moral courage.
“No one does leadership better than the United States Marine Corps and we’re trying to help our coaches sharpen those leadership skills so they can be instilled in the young men and women in our wrestling program,” said Mike Moyer, the executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Much like Marine Corps leaders have on their Marines, the impact coaches have toward their wrestlers stays with them for a lifetime.
The direct correlation between leadership and effective teamwork Marines demonstrate influences the wrestling community through mentorship and periods of instruction that touch on their shared values.
Colonel David Fallon, the 9th Marine Corps District commanding officer and former collegiate wrestler, explained Marines can expand on their different experiences in the Marine Corps and apply it to the way wrestlers train through events like the Marine Corps’ combat fitness tests. These events are designed to challenge participants and connect the way training directly reflects on field performance.
“The Marine Corps believes wrestlers possess certain characteristics and qualities that make them better suited for life as a Marine,” Fallon said. “My experience as a wrestler prepared me physically and mentally for the challenges that awaited me as a Marine Corps infantry officer.”
The partnership between the USMC and NWCA began last year in efforts to create a stronger link with the youth of our nation.