About Northern Delaware Wrestling Academy

Mike Ciaffi, Co-Founder & Coach

Ryan Howell-Conkey, Head Coach/President

Chris Hudson, Assistant Coach/Vice President

The Northern Delaware Wrestling Academy was formed to grow and develop the sport of wrestling. We believe the Academy is much more than just a place to learn about wrestling. We believe the Academy is an environment where youth learn to appreciate and embrace our motto – Duty, Honor, Team and what it means to apply it in their daily lives to become Champions in Life.

The Academy is place that enables character development to take precedent over wins and losses, it is a place that emphasizes the desire to achieve and excel. We do this by using the Be – Know – Do leadership model that encourages development in fitness, academics, personal relationships, community involvement and spiritual formation. For these reasons this is why the Academy is not just any typical wrestling club.

One core tenant of the Academy is that we use wrestling as a method for developing character, self-confidence, and the will to succeed in life. We believe that the skills and principles that young wrestlers gain in wrestling are valuable for their growth and development in academics, sports and tilling the ground to grow up prepared to become Champions in Life.

We invite you to explore the option of having your child participate in the Northern Delaware Wrestling Academy. The Academy operates at Appoquinimink High School.  (Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:30-8:00pm) and is a wrestling program focusing on youth ages 7-17.  The winter session will begin on Nov 2 and will end on March 3rd. 

You may already have your child involved in other sports, but we encourage you to try wrestling. We promise it will complement what you’re already doing and will allow your child to get oriented to a very disciplined sport that will produce very positive results in every aspect of their lives. If your child has not been involved in sports, is operating on the margins, has issues with focusing, is needing to be a part of something positive, needs to develop their confidence and overall self-esteem then I would encourage you to explore what the Academy can provide you to support their overall development.

We encourage you to stop by and explore the possibilities of what this sport and Academy can provide to you. Your child has so much to gain.

Northern Delaware Wrestling Academy
Developing Wrestlers into Champions in Life – Duty, Honor, Team

Wrestling is one of the oldest and greatest sports for developing character, self-confidence, and a will to succeed in life. The skills and principles that young wrestlers gain are valuable for their growth and development in academics, sports and eventually becoming Champions in Life. If you’re looking for a program that focuses on excelling on-and-off the mat then the Academy is for you.

Northern Delaware Wrestling Academy’s focus is on the fundamentals of the most effective techniques, mental preparation and physical conditioning. We will use the Be – Know – Do leadership concept for development of wrestlers into Champions in Life.

Be – Know – Do Leadership Model

  • BE – This is all about your character, it is foundational to your ability to be a great leader and wrestler. It gives you the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances or consequences. This requires being aware of and adopting fundamental values found in the motto of “Duty, Honor, Team”.
  • KNOW – This is about the knowledge and skill you need to be competent as a leader and wrestler in four areas: Interpersonal Relationships; Conceptual Understanding; Technical Skills; and Tactical Awareness.
  • DO – Just like great leaders, wrestlers must perform and do what’s right and important. They bring together everything they are, everything they believe, and everything they know how to do to provide purpose, direction, and motivation. This involves the following three leader actions: Influencing; Operating and Improving.

Duty – Honor– Team Character Model

  • DUTY is the essence of what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it. It is the foundation of supporting a moral and ethical obligation. Duty compels us to do the right thing at the right time, regardless of the consequence.
  • HONOR is the virtue of choosing the harder right over the easier wrong. Honor is not so much a thing in itself as much as it is recognition of other things; especially recognition of a life lived well and in accordance with core virtues – patience, kindness, humility.  Honor requires that we habitually live to the highest standards, at all times, in all situations.
  • TEAM is the characteristic of being a part of something bigger than you – all teams exist to fulfill a higher purpose together. The characteristic of being a team requires something of its members. It holds them accountable to interact and influence each other to be mutually accountable for achieving success. The basic building block of this relationship is the selfless service and commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he can add to the effort and be successful on and off the mat.

As an Academy We Are Committed to the Following:

  • Supporting coaching principles that demonstrate leadership, sportsmanship, accountability, honesty, trust and effective relationships.
  • Providing a safe and nurturing environment for our wrestlers to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually.
  • Striving to instill in our wrestlers and parents a love of the sport and an appreciation of the time, skills, and commitment it requires.
  • Believing success is measured by much more than wins. We measure our wrestlers on discipline, dedication, and desire to improve and excel.
  • Ensuring fair opportunity for our wrestlers to train, develop and compete at various levels throughout the season.


  • Active USA Wrestling membership (or will get one)
  • Parental authorization/permission
  • Wrestling shoes, running shoes, jump rope, headgear
  • Mentally focused attitude and strong work ethic
  • Purchase of Team Singlet for those wrestlers who will compete in tournaments this year with NDWA (estimated $65-$70 for custom team singlet)
Northern Delaware Wrestling Academy

Northern Delaware Wrestling Academy