Alberta’s wrestling scene is set for a monumental shift as Coach Nick Papalia introduces a new wrestling club, the Lakeland Legends Wrestling Academy, geared towards nurturing young talents and instilling vital values. With a fervent love for the sport, Papalia aims to reshape the wrestling landscape and empower budding athletes.

Coach Papalia, known for his dedication to the sport and his commitment to personal growth, has an ambitious plan for his new wrestling club. “Our main goal is to develop a culture of leadership, effort, commitment, and gratitude in our athletes,” Coach Papalia stated, underscoring the club’s focus on instilling character and life skills in addition to honing wrestling abilities. While celebrating victories is always on the agenda, the primary emphasis remains on nurturing a growth-oriented mindset.

Papalia’s genuine passion for grappling serves as the cornerstone for his new club, which is designed to offer training in various forms of grappling, specifically wrestling.

“Wrestling, in particular, played a pivotal role in my own character development,” Papalia remarked. His vision is to provide the community’s young talents with the same life-changing opportunity, enabling them to grow not just as athletes but as well-rounded individuals.

In the inaugural season, the club is dedicated to building a strong foundation. Coach Papalia acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead, but he views them as stepping stones to growth. “Challenges serve as opportunities for growth,” he emphasized, highlighting the club’s structured approach and focus on step-by-step skill development.

To attract athletes, the club is employing a multi-pronged strategy. Coach Papalia’s genuine enthusiasm for grappling, coupled with word-of-mouth promotion and targeted marketing, is aimed at drawing in promising talents. The club’s reach extends to specific areas and densely populated towns, including Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, and Vermilion/Lloydminster.

“Our goal is to serve communities from Lac La Biche to Cold Lake and Vermilion to Lloydminster,” Coach Papalia expressed, underlining the club’s ambitious plan to eventually establish a central training location. Until that vision becomes a reality, Coach Papalia is committed to traveling to three different locations (Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, and Vermilion) twice a week each for training sessions.

Coach Papalia’s coaching philosophy revolves around fostering elite mindsets. He believes in the power of learning from feedback and underscores that development precedes victory. “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything,” he firmly stated, emphasizing the club’s dedication to instilling this mindset in its athletes.

The club boasts a comprehensive array of wrestling programs to cater to athletes of all ages. These programs include:

  • Parent & Toddler Movement Program (4-6 years old)
  • Youth Wrestling Program (7-12 years old)
  • Teen & Adult Wrestling Program (13-18 years old on one set of mats, adults on the second set)
  • Competitive Wrestling Program (Open to all ages)

In addition to wrestling programs, the club is set to provide strength and conditioning programs, utilizing Coach Papalia’s certification as a conditioning coach. This diverse range of offerings ensures that there is a program suited to everyone, from young children taking their first steps in the sport to seasoned athletes seeking to refine their skills.

Coach Nick Papalia is excited to embark on this journey and provide the community with the same benefits he experienced through wrestling. He recognizes that in today’s world, such opportunities are essential, and the club is fully committed to delivering them.

This new wrestling club isn’t just a club; it’s a beacon of hope for wrestling in Alberta, especially in smaller communities. The growth and opportunities it brings promise a brighter future for the sport, nurturing the next generation of champions on and off the mat. Coach Nick Papalia’s vision is poised to transform the wrestling landscape, offering a platform for young athletes to shine and develop into leaders.