Beat the Streets spends much of its time working to improve New York City’s youth wrestlers, but the organization has also made a strong investment of time and resources into developing the full potential of the city’s wrestling coaches as well.
From grants to programming to other professional development opportunities, BTS has made supporting the leaders of the city’s programs as much of a priority as its efforts to enhance the abilities of the wrestlers those leaders serve.
The biggest component of Beat the Streets’ coaching development initiatives is the BTS Coach Academy, a program that provides financial and educational support to a select number of coaches. The Academy provides a $1,500 grant that coaches can use to cover any necessary program costs as well as an additional $500 match for fundraising.
Baruch College Campus High School head coach Michael Breman used his grant to purchase new wrestling gear for his team. “I wanted our team to feel good about themselves and about the sport of wrestling,” Breman said.
"In the PSAL, there is no shortage of coaches and volunteers who give everything for our student-athletes. Now, through the Beat the Streets’ coaching development initiatives, that passion has been partnered with a dedicated effort to develop best practices for our coaches. Our kids are getting the coaches they deserve thanks to Beat the Streets." Frank J Macchiarola High School’s John Lucadamo said when asked about the impact BTS’ efforts are having amongst his peers and the community at-large.
The professional development sessions Beat the Streets holds throughout the year are not restricted to grant recipients; all NYC coaches have been encouraged to attend. One of the most well-attended sessions over the course of the last year was the annual Coaches Seminar, which was led by legendary Oklahoma State head coach John Smith.
The session – held in August at the UPS Customer Care Center in Manhattan – was one of the best in recent memory, with close to 50 coaches attending to learn tips on technique, recruiting, and program building from Smith, Southold High School athletic director Steve Flanagan and the BTS staff.
“Beat the Streets is a program I got involved with back in 2005 and it's something I really believe in,” Smith said of working with the organization after the Seminar. “I love to see coaches that are enthused about learning, want to get better and want to help young people. I’ve been coaching for 28 years and these are the most fun things I do – being around coaches that are driven and want to make a difference. The coaches that are a part of Beat the Streets do make a difference and I’m proud of them.”
In addition to the financial incentives and training Beat the Streets provides to assist programs within the city limits, BTS also looks to expose coaches to their peers outside of the area as well. A select number of coaches were provided scholarships by Beat the Streets to attend this summer’s National Wrestling Coaches Association Convention in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“The NWCA conference was an excellent event,” said Harlem Jets head coach Eric Palmer, who attended the Convention through the BTS sponsorship. “I was in great company with a lot of like-minded coaches. I met some great people and made some new contacts that I know will be beneficial resources down the road. It’s definitely an event I would love to continue to go to.”