Bad Dogs learn hard work on, off the mat in Moffat County | CraigDailyPress.com

Bad Dogs learn hard work on, off the mat in Moffat County

Joshua Gordon

The Bad Dogs Youth Wrestling program teaches young wrestlers the basics of one of the toughest sports around, head coach Billy Bingham said.

More importantly, he said, the program teaches discipline and how to balance the sport with a good education.

“We don’t want our wrestlers starting seventh grade as a great wrestler and be surprised when they can’t participate because of bad grades,” he said. “We really stress the importance of working hard in the sport and in school.”

Bingham, who has been with the program since its’ beginning, is coaching about 50 wrestlers, ages 4 to 14. The season started in October and will continue into May.

This season, Bingham said, he has noticed his wrestlers having more fun and working even harder.

“All of the kids seem to learn a lot,” he said. “They are eager and want to be at tournaments as well as practices.”

Heading into the Who’s Bad Tournament in Pueblo on Friday and Saturday, Bingham said he is trying to keep the wrestlers healthy and in shape.

“There has been an illness going around that has kept some kids out,” he said. “We have also had two kids break their arm, so a big goal moving forward is to stay physically and mentally healthy.”

About 10 volunteers help Bingham coach, joining the team whenever they are available.

“It takes a group effort from myself, the other coaches and the parents,” Bingham said. “(The team) travels a lot, so we all stick together and help out and have fun.”

With one of the biggest youth wrestling programs in the state, Bingham said he also enjoys help from some of the older wrestlers in the program.

“Leadership has really helped our team grow this year,” he said. “Wrestlers like Deven Mosman and Ashley Griffiths really help by showing the younger kids what to do right.”

Bingham said the best way Mosman, who won three Rocky Mountain National tournaments last year to earn a Triple Crown, Griffiths and other older wrestlers are able to help the younger wrestlers is by example.

“The little kids look up to the more experienced ones, and so they watch what they do and copy,” he said. “It works out well for them and they learn a lot that way.”

While the wrestlers still need to work on takedowns and footwork, Bingham said starting at a young age will give the kids an advantage as they progress in their wrestling career.

“When wrestlers start young, they have a step up later on,” he said. “Late bloomers can still succeed, but it will take more effort and hard work.”

Whether the wrestlers win or lose, Bingham said he has three main goals for all of them.

“Learn a lot, work hard and get good grades in school,” the coach recited.