Testimonials

PARENTS

“My son always rests well when we get home after Grapplin’ Gorillas!”

-Jeanne McLendon

 

“My boys ages 6 and 11 loved the camp.  Please pass along my complements to the coaching staff.  I’m not sure there is a better coach to student ratio at any camp anywhere!”

-Donald Schipf

 

“Glenn Rodriguez’s wrestling program is a safe, healthy and fun way to introduce your child to the sport.  Glenn is fantastic, whether your child is new to the sport or an advanced wrestler.  My son benefited greatly from learning the challenging takedowns and escapes Glenn taught.  For my daughter, it helped not only with learning the basic moves but also with strength, conditioning, and confidence. Both Ariela and Jake look forward to next season.  I highly recommend this program!”

-Brenda Brody

 

“Glenn Rodriguez runs a fabulous program!  My twin girls and son just love Grapplin’ Gorillas.  The coaches are excellent, the games and the activities are fun, and my kids have embraced a healthier lifestyle since they started wrestling.  My children look forward to every wrestling class throughout the year, and they have a blast at the Summer Camp!”

-Nazif Dervisevic

 

“It’s been such a long time since I was last on the mats that I almost forgot how much I enjoyed wrestling.  It is fun to work with my son Zach and it is good for me to give something back to a sport that gave so much to me.  Glenn does a great job with the kids and I am grateful that Zach is having a good first experience.  He talks about wrestling all week and can’t wait to get to practice!”

-Pat Duthie, Parent and Former Division I Wrestler

 

“My son Josh participated in Grapplin’ Gorillas Summer Camp during the summer of 2011 and has been a year-round participant ever since. In addition to wrestling drills and practicing skills in matches each week, the coaches incorporate technique into engaging games. Tumbling, stretching and conditioning are part of each session. The kids are motivated to achieve new levels in the program and wear their earned Grappling Gorillas t-shirts with pride.  As a parent, I appreciate the individual attention Josh receives and that the coaches focus on respect and sportsmanship in addition to building a foundation to wrestling!”

-Tara Fersko

 

“Glenn’s coaching is A+. He took particular care and attention to focus on specific technique, which enabled our son to be competitive and successful in very tough matches. We thank Glenn for taking our son’s wrestling to the next level!”

-Charlotte Ford

 

“My three boys have been in the Grapplin’ Gorillas wrestling program for 2 years. They entered with no knowledge of organized wrestling, but the “physical enthusiasm” of three young boys. Since, they have learned the fundamentals of wrestling in a fun and safe environment.  The coaches have inspired my children to participate in healthy competition and concentrate their physicality into this organized sport. Within this atmosphere of respect and sportsmanship, the boys have a tremendous amount of fun. They look forward to each session.”

-Sandy Harris

 

“Grapplin’ Gorillas by far has been the best addition to the Allen-Stevenson athletic program!  Both coaches, Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. D’Itri have instilled a safe environment through their coaching techniques and their strong support for each and every child.  Their commitment has ensured a truly positive experience for my son as he enters the seventh grade.  This program clearly exemplifies their dedication in setting strong examples both as wrestling coaches and health-conscious individuals.”

-Susan Jensen

 

Derrick is very reserved when it comes to expressions of excitement.  So, I wanted you to know that he is EXTREMELY excited about wrestling.  He actually wanted me to get down on my knees in the hallway of the school when I picked him up so he could demonstrate the wrestling techniques you taught him during his first class.  I convinced him to wait until we got home.  And the minute we walked through our front door, I had only enough time to put my pocket book down, before I too had my first wrestling class.  Not to mention, he wore his headgear all the way home and for a good part of the evening.

-Paula Simmons

 

“My son attended the summer program for Grapplin’ Gorillas, which is run at the Allen Stevenson School by coach Glenn Rodriguez. Aside from being a lot of fun and giving kids a chance to let out some steam after being in a classroom all day, we parents found coach Rodriguez to be extremely attentive to the needs of children who may feel intimidated by team sports and insecure about their own abilities.  He learned valuable lessons about sportsmanship and is benefitting from strong male role models (Glenn has a number of years’ experience and is helped by very capable and personable young men who have really inspired my son).”

 -Windward School Parent

Here’s what other parents have to say about Grapplin’ Gorillas:

“My son loves Grapplin’ Gorillas with Coach Rodriguez and looks forward to it each week. The safe and well-supervised environment the coach provides for all the boys is a wonderful way to learn basic wrestling skills. Hard work and sportsmanship are stressed, but the boys are encouraged to channel their natural energies into productive wrestling sessions. I think this is a great program for all ages!”

“Glenn has a wonderful way of engaging the kids right from the start. He uses creative warm-up exercises, emphasizes technique and encourages focus and involvement. And, best of all, the kids enjoy the class and learn to be better wrestlers.”

“Our son usually doesn’t enjoy sports very much. He had an amazing time at Grapplin’ Gorillas, and it was a big boost to his confidence. He can’t wait for the next session to begin.”

 

COACHES

“Coach Rodriguez is doing an amazing job at teaching kids critical life skills through participation in his program. His students build a great foundation for success on and off the mat.”

-Dean Morrison, Founder: Prodigal Sport, Former NCAA Champion, 2X Member – US National Freestyle Team

 

“Each year when coach Rodriguez informs me that one of his boys will be joining my team, I am overwhelmed with excitement because I know I will be getting a well coached and highly motivated young man to work with for the next four years. His wrestlers have all made major contributions to our team which has now won ten consecutive Ivy League titles and won nine of the past ten New York State Private School Championships. Coach Rodriguez runs an excellent youth wrestling program which I highly recommend to any young wrestler!”

-Gregg Quilty, Horace Mann Head Coach

 

“I have worked with Glenn Rodriguez in the Rye Country Day School June Camp where he was able to bring some new and innovative approaches to wrestling from the top, bottom, and neutral positions.  Coach Rodriguez is great with kids.  He does an excellent job coaching wrestling for all levels!  The students he has worked with at Allen-Stevenson have enjoyed successful high school careers, and make a point of keeping in touch long after leaving his program.  I look forward to working with him again and I am most confident in the contribution he will make to our middle and upper school wrestling teams.  He clearly understands how to connect with students, and I recommend his program for anyone interested in the sport!”

-Rich Knazik, Rye Country Day School Head Wrestling Coach

 

“Coach Rodriguez has done an amazing job creating a culture at Allen-Stevenson where wrestling is one of the most popular sports. Apart from building a solid foundation for our wrestlers, he effectively uses the sport as a bridge to have kids feel more confident and understand the importance of sportsmanship.  Since he took over the wrestling program, our kids also embrace health and fitness on a higher level.  I would highly recommend Grapplin’ Gorillas for any school!”

-Rich Alifano, Athletic Director; The Allen-Stevenson School.  Suffolk County, Long Island, New York State Coach of the Year; Center Moriches Girls Basketball

 

STUDENTS

“When most people look at me, they cannot seem to see past my basketball player-esque frame. Coach Rodriguez was one of the few people who did not look at me like I was crazy when I expressed interest in wrestling. In fact he encouraged me to give it my all and accepted nothing less. Starting out, I struggled as to keep up with my smaller and faster opponents who easily out maneuvered me. Despite my numerous upsets, Coach Rodriguez never let me dwell on them too long. He showed me that even in failure I could succeed, learn and grow. His motto “use what you’ve got” was one repeated frequently in practice and it quickly became my own personal one. He taught me that with hard work and a little creativity I could take my supposed weaknesses and transform them into strengths. Under his guidance, I learned how to handle defeat, but even more importantly I learned to believe in myself and trust my abilities. Though I have long since left his program, his lessons have nevertheless remained with me, and continue to help bring me success both on and off the mat. For the last few summers I have worked with him in his youth camp, and I am always shocked at how well he connects with his students as well as motivates and empowers them to be the best that they can be. Through the sport of wrestling he helps impart each child with the skills they will need to face the various opponents they may come across in life, and I can say with certainty that I would not be the person I am today without his teachings.”

-Theophilus Agbi, NCWA All-American

 

“I first met coach Rodriguez in the sixth grade, and I had no idea how much he was going to help me in not only my remaining years at Allen-Stevenson, but also throughout my four years in high-school. I attended a boarding school out in Connecticut, but anytime that I was back in the city for a few days I would let coach know and he was always willing to take some time to meet and possibly get a little extra practice time in, and I am sure that this will continue throughout my college career as well. He is an extraordinary wrestler, and just as competent of a coach. I have been working as an assistant coach for him in his Grapplin’ Gorillas program for the last seven years, and it is truly amazing what he has started. I only wish that he had started the program a few years earlier so that I could have taken advantage of everything that the program has to offer. Wrestling has been a very large part of my life, and Coach Rodriguez has been a very large part of my wrestling. G-Rod is like superman, but much more impressive because he doesn’t have a weakness to kryptonite.”

-William Evangelakos

 

“I started wrestling in 6th grade and I wasn’t the most athletic kid on the team to say the least. I wasn’t in shape like the other kids and I didn’t have the mental toughness that wrestlers needed in order to be successful. However, through my years wrestling under Coach Rodriguez, I was able to drastically improve my wrestling skills and was able to learn valuable life lessons. For example, I lost every single match in 7th grade but Coach Rodriguez never let me keep my head down. Coach helped me realize that winning doesn’t always help you become a better wrestler, you have to lose every now and then so you realize what you’re weaknesses are for you to be able to work on them. I learned from my mistakes and the following two years I started to become the wrestler I am today. Coach Rodriguez taught me the importance of perseverance and what it truly meant to never give up. Having attended Grapplin’ Gorillas as a student while I attended Allen-Stevenson (where I wrestled for Coach Rodriguez) and as a counselor this past summer, I can honestly say that Coach Rodriguez provides the perfect balance of fun and hard work at every session. Coach Rodriguez’s patience and his care for each and every Grapplin’ Gorillas camper allow the campers to learn technique at their own pace as well as the vital concepts for a strong wrestling foundation.”

-Adam Centeno

 

“Thank you for getting me into the sport of wrestling.  At first, I was one of the least athletic and softest kids in the fourth grade when I started wrestling in your program. Over time, this sport has taught me to push myself and to feel proud of my physical accomplishments.  Wrestling has also gotten me my closest friends, my first real job, and changed my outlook on the world. I’ve just about completed my last day of the J Robinson intensive camp, and this has been the hardest thing I’ve ever taken on.  But just like any other endeavor, from the push-up challenge that coach D’Itri would have us do in Middle School, to my first year cutting weight in high school, the payoffs have been tremendous.   I just wanted to say again thank you for getting me into and teaching me the sport that has truly changed my life!

-Finbarr Slonim