Lake Nona Junior Lions coaches Brandon Marshall and Kendrick Ellison are gearing up to hit the mat for the spring season of wrestling. Part of Lake Nona Youth Sports, wrestling registration will open in January to young athletes ages 5-15, and practices will kick off in February.
“We’re hoping to expand on the fundamental skills we taught our young wrestlers last season to continue to develop skills around the framework of agility, strength and endurance,” Marshall says.
Kids who have never wrestled are invited to give it a try this spring, along with wrestlers at all levels, from beginner to advanced. Both Coach Marshall and Coach Ellison are experienced wrestlers, competing at state, national and international levels, in all styles of wrestling. They were high school state finalists in their home states of Michigan and Florida.
Brandon is a recent alumnus of the US Olympic Training Site at Northern Michigan University and currently attends the UCF College of Medicine in Lake Nona. “I started wrestling when I was in elementary school because it was a sport my father had been involved in and I wanted to try it,” he says. “Wrestling became such an important part of my life that I can’t imagine not doing the sport. Throughout the years, there have been times when it was extremely difficult to move forward with it, but I don’t think I would be the person I am without wrestling.”
Because wrestling isn’t a sport where teammates share the responsibility for wins or losses, the individual effort, discipline and sense of accomplishment are significant and contribute to shaping character.
“That’s why I love the sport,” Brandon says. “Wrestling will teach you that even if you never win a state or national title, what you learn through the process is what’s so valuable, and much like life, there will be times when your effort may not be enough and you will have to reevaluate how you do things to find success.”
He wants to share his love of wrestling with the next generation of young athletes and hopes that while they’re on the mat, wrestling can help them become the best version of themselves.
“I always tell parents that wrestling will help teach their children how to work through adversity,” he says. “It’s a physically and mentally demanding sport but so rewarding because it shows you how much more you’re capable of than you may have previously thought.”
Lake Nona Youth Sports, supported by community volunteers, dedicated parents, dynamic coaches and local businesses, is committed to providing valuable life lessons through sports. Serving thousands of children in the Southeast Orlando community since 2004, Lake Nona Youth Sports has helped a number of Junior Lions succeed and move into the high school levels of football, soccer, cross country and lacrosse.
Coach Brandon Marshall hopes to inspire his team of young wrestlers to achieve success, both in sports and in life. Contact the wrestling coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valerie Sisco lives in Lake Nona and is the author of the blog, gracewithsilk.com.