The Seymour Wrestling Club featured a seasoned veteran in Isaac Knable, who was their guest speaker Tuesday at Seymour Middle School.
Knable earned four state championships as an individual wrestler at St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky. He then wrestled at Indiana University, where he was a national championship qualifier — one of the top 32 in the nation — and helped his team to an eighth-place finish.
Knable gave Seymour’s younger members some advice while working on drills and skills.
“Focus on basic fundamentals at every level,” he said. “It’s all who has the best fundamentals, regardless of age or wrestling level. It always goes back to the basics.”
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Since Knable became the wrestling coach at St. Xavier in 2006, he said he has realized that focusing on fundamental moves and a lot of repetitions is extremely important.
“When kids are struggling, it’s usually the basic fundamentals where they are getting beat,” he said. “Unfortunately, I never understood that until I started coaching. It’s about who understands the basics the best. We focus on positions and skill sets.”
Knable said if a kid can focus on one move, they can master that skill.
“At this age (elementary), they’ve got to have fun,” he said. “You can sneak skills in there with these guys without them knowing it. We’re not focusing on winning or losing. We’re just having fun, so hopefully, when they get older and make the commitment (to wrestle), it’ll be fun for them.”
The young students in attendance said they enjoyed learning from Knable.
“I think it’s great to be with a coach like that,” Gabe Baker, 11, said. “He was very helpful regardless of age, and he showed us moves and other things to help us. He’s a great coach, and I’m sure his wrestlers do well.”
Asher Ratliff, 8, said he enjoyed the games and working on new moves at the clinic.
“Good games and lots of fun,” he said.
Sam Castetter, 11, said it was fun, and he learned a lot. He has been with the club since it started six years ago.
Knable is now coaching state champions and even All-Americans at St. Xavier, and he also hosts clinics at his wrestling club, Indiana Kentucky Wrestling Center, in New Albany. Most of his club’s wrestling classes are done during the offseason, which starts in March.
Knable said he loves building a relationship with kids, especially his three young daughters at home.
“It’s about God, family, work and wrestling,” he said.
Justin Ratliff, youth coordinator with the Seymour Wrestling Club, said they decided to have guest speakers come in on Tuesdays to work with the club.
Former local wrestlers who have had success also have spoken to the club.
“These guys have a wealth of knowledge that they’re able to pass on to the kids,” Ratliff said.
The Seymour coaches also noticed that the kids were very attentive and willing to learn from Knable.
“I think hearing someone else go over things that we preach will help,” said Bill Castetter, who helps coach the Seymour club. “He’s obviously good with the kids, and they are enjoying this. Having someone else teach helps reinforce what we’re trying to teach them.”
Castetter said he has seen growth in numbers and the kids’ skill sets each year, and he feels that the speakers are helping the program.
To learn more about Isaac Knable’s wrestling club and clinics, visit IKWrestling.com or email IKWRESTLING@gmail.com.