Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

On Sunday, November 12, 45 BTSNY wrestlers trekked to Poly Prep in Brooklyn for clinic sessions with Valentin Kalika and Royce Alger. This day presented youth wrestlers with two amazing opportunities to work with elite coaches, each of whom have their own distinctive wrestling mindsets and styles. The first session was run by Coach Valentin Kalika, a coach at the New York City Regional Training Center (NYC RTC) and a personal coach for Helen Maroulis, Olympic gold medalist and World Champion.  The second session was run by Royce Alger, a 3x NCAA All-American, 3x Big Ten champion, and 2x NCAA National Champion.  Alger spent seven years as an assistant wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. 

Coach Kalika's session, which ran from 11 AM-1 PM, was jam-packed. Kalika began by covering gymnastics basics, such as forward and backward rolls and flips, headstands, and strength enhancing stretches. In terms of more traditional wrestling technique, Kalika went over clearing wrist ties, the different kinds of penetration steps, and head position. Kalika also demonstrated how takedowns and throws can be accomplished when the basics are perfected.  

Kalika emphasized progression, which is achieved by continually making tasks more difficult. Kalika views wrestling as a progression (ex. a backward roll leads to a back flip, which teaches impact and back awareness for wrestling). He believes athletes will get better at wrestling once they perfect each move, drill, and stretch. If these tasks are completed lazily or improperly, the final product will not be successful.  
Royce Alger led the second clinic, which ran from 1 PM- 3PM. While Kalika’s style is strongly influenced by flexibility and his Eastern European roots, Alger’s is influenced by his upbringing in the Iowa wrestling rooms. The Iowa style is heavily based in extremely conditioned wrestlers focusing on control and strength. Alger showed the BTSNY kids a handfigthing series that stems from finding the inside tie, getting to an underhook, leg attacks, front headlocks and Turks.  
Alger also spoke about his experiences from growing up on a farm, the meaning of talent versus hard work, and his BTS chapter in Des Moines. 

“It was pretty unique that the kids got to experience two totally different wrestling styles and mindsets about wrestling--both extremely successful, both as different as their cultures,” said Jacque Davis, BTSNY Girls Development Director. 

Jahongir Davronov, a senior at Midwood High School, felt he learned a lot from both coaches. From KalikaDavronov learned several ways to score once mastery of the basics is achieved. From Alger, Davronov learned a few specific techniques heavily influenced by Dan Gable.  “After leaving the wrestling room, I definitely became a better wrestler than before,” said Davronov. 

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