|Hall of Fame coach joins Mat Club
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
The Mat Club is part of the David Douglas youth program and is intended for kids aged 8 to 12. The club gives an early introduction to wrestling and allows kids to compete with other local youth programs. Mat Club Director and former coach Tim Anderson said that having a coach of Sprague's caliber working with his kids is a tremendous asset to the club, as well as the higher level wrestling programs that will reap the benefits later on.
Anderson said he has seen the results Sprague gets from his kids, and it is remarkable. He expects this addition to the team will bring a lot of attention to the club and help it grow.
We have really high hopes of taking this program to the next level. With Marc's help, we hope to create a real wrestling powerhouse east of the river.
Anderson's respect for Sprague's techniques was formed by working with him. Anderson introduced his own son Matthew to Sprague and the Cobra System when he was in the fourth grade. For six years Sprague worked with the younger Anderson, who went on to claim fifth place in state championships during his senior year.
In addition to the David Douglas Mat Club, Sprague works with athletes at several high schools including David Douglas, Gresham, Clackamas and Sandy. Sprague likes to work with younger students because he knows an early introduction to wrestling lets kids get comfortable with the fundamentals so they can excel in high school and college. This is a large motivation behind his involvement in the David Douglas Mat Club. Through early, quality coaching he believes he can help make the area known for its wrestlers.
David Douglas High School Varsity Wrestling Coach Ron Holyoak agrees. Holyoak is eager to see these new David Douglas Mat Club members come into his program and believes that Sprague's training will produce quality wrestlers for his high school.
The exciting thing is that he's teaching the little kids exceptional skills and technique. Most coaches for kids that age really only have some high school wrestling experience. To have them come to me with those advanced skills already in place is going to make my job a lot easier.
Many students of Sprague's Cobra Wrestling System have gone on to enjoy national and international success. His wrestling techniques have helped produce six Olympians (including a silver medalist), a Russian Games Champion, two U.S. World Champions, seven Junior National Outstanding Wrestlers, and numerous state and national champions.
The Cobra System gives wrestlers an advantage by strengthening skills, technique and balance. There is a strong emphasis on drills that helps develop a keen muscle memory that makes a huge difference in competition.
We rely very strongly on teaching through drills, Sprague said. We don't do as much live wrestling as most other programs. We believe in making sure they understand the techniques that will help them win.
The techniques and drills Sprague teaches were accumulated over 40 years of coaching experience. In that time he has worked with many talented coaches and athletes who have provided opportunities to learn as well as teach.
Despite all his success as a coach, Sprague was never a competitive wrestler himself. His introduction to wrestling came when his son took up the sport forty years ago. Since then, he estimates that he has logged over 50,000 hours of coaching experience and has worked with three generations of wrestlers.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Okla., has recognized Sprague's success in creating elite wrestlers with the Cobra System. In May of 2008 the organization awarded him the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award.
Although the season has already officially started, the David Douglas Mat Club will take new members at any time in the season.
Practices run from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Sprague works with the kids for the first hour with volunteer coaches and parents filling in for the last half hour. The season continues through February. Practices are held in the David Douglas High School Wrestling Room in the gymnasium next to the football field. Contact Tim Anderson at 503-515-7103 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Coaching sessions with Sprague are also available year-round outside of the Mat Club. For more information about Sprague and the Cobra Wrestling System, visit www.cobrawrestlingsystems.com.
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