By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gopher Wrestling coach J Robinson has built a legendary 28-day wrestling camp, where kids come across the country for a month straight of training.

But the training is not what you might think.

From the looks of it, J Robinson has been wowed by World Cup Fever. But at his camp, soccer is a form of cross-training.

“You can’t keep it up all month long, because it’s 28 days,” Robinson said. “So you got to give them a break now and then.”

He believes peak wrestling performance means understanding how to take breaks.

“There’s a time when you can push yourself muscular-wise so far, but then you need to take a break mentally,” he said. “You need to step back, regroup and get refreshed and come back at it again.”

That’s what he’s used to build his Gopher wrestling powerhouse. It’s all part of a philosophy that stems from his time as an Army Ranger.

“We’ve identified seven skills that we think are really important for kids to be successful,” Robinson said, listing them as: “Disciple, dedication, sacrifice, hard work, responsibility, accountability and service.”

Make no mistake, he wants kids to be challenged.

“For probably 98 percent of the kids, it’ll probably be the hardest thing they ever do in their lives for 28 days,” Robinson said. “It’s incredibly hard, it’s four times a day, every day.”

He wants them to leave not as better wrestlers, but as better able to navigate through life.

“We give them some things that kids their age don’t get,” he said. “Basically on the first day, I say that I have a definition of hard work and they have a definition of hard work, and our definitions are miles apart.”

Mike Max