Coach shares his knowledge with campers

Published 9:35 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018


Daily News

He spoke with passion, conviction, and an unwavering belief that through wrestling, an individual can accomplish great things.

Thursday was the final day of LaGrange High’s wrestling camp, and the guest instructor was Adrian Anderson, who has a distinguished career as a coach that dates back three decades.

Anderson has been a fixture at the camp nearly every year, and while he’s there in a teaching capacity, he also likes to share his philosophy on life with the campers.

That philosophy, as he shared with the campers at the close of the morning session on Thursday, revolves around the lessons he feels can be learned from wrestling.

“You can’t tag out. It’s you, and one other person,” Anderson said, his booming voice echoing off the walls at Unity Elementary School where the camp was held. “You’ve got to step out there and you’ve got compete.

“And you’ve got to compete every day in your life. If you’re going to be successful, you’re going to compete.”

Anderson has been coaching the sport for 30 years, and he enjoyed his most success while serving as the head coach of the Northgate program.

While there, Anderson guided Northgate to tremendous heights, and he coached Tyler Askey to four consecutive individual state championships.

Anderson stepped down as head coach following the 2012-2013 season, although he still helps out as an assistant.

Anderson still gets on the mat to work with the wrestlers, but he leaves the rest of it to head coach Chris Wickstrom.

Anderson is also an assistant football coach at Northgate, so he stays busy during the summer helping with both sports.

No matter what Anderson has going on, though, he always makes time for LaGrange’s camp.

“The kids really soak in what he does,” said LaGrange head coach Scooter Weathers, who has known Anderson for more than 20 years. “They work hard, and they enjoy him being there, and they want to get better. And he enjoys being around them. He’s got a lot of character, morals and values.”

Anderson is a hands-on teacher.

He doesn’t just tell the wrestlers what to do, he gets down on the mat with them and shows it to them.

When one high-school wrestler was struggling with a move, Anderson showed him how it was done, remarking that if someone in his 50s can do it, then he can to.

It’s the only way Anderson knows how to coach, and it’s also why he’s physically spent after a few hours working with teenage wrestlers.

“It’s by far the hardest sport to coach,” Anderson said.

Anderson also shared his message with the wrestlers, and while it had a lot to do with the value of wrestling, he touched on the importance of making the right life choices as well.

“I love this sport more than anybody, and I hope everybody in here is a state champ, and a college wrestler, and an Olympian,” Anderson said. “But I look around, and there are too many of you for all of you to do that. Be self-reliant, work hard, and set high goals. And you’ll make it. Those are the guys that’ll make it, not the guy that follows.”

Anderson said it’s critical to “learn to be your own man.”

“Take the lessons you learn inside the circle and apply it to your life outside the circle,” he added. “It’s self-reliance. That’s rule number one. Learn to be self-reliant.”

Anderson was the last of four guest instructors who helped out during the camp.

Nick White, the coach at Carrollton, was the lead instructor on Monday and Wednesday, and Alexander coaches Sean Moistner and Daryk Cochran took the reins on Tuesday.

In all, the wrestlers who were there for the whole week received 24 hours of instruction.