When you think of wrestling, do you think of the goofy antics of the WWF
wrestlers on television? Or do you think of the sleek and nimble Olympic-style
wrestlers? It's this kind of wrestling that is done as a recreation.
The emphasis of amateur wrestling is on skill, not strength or brutality.
Wrestling is a sport that is governed by strict rules and a limited number
of legal maneuvers.
"Athleticism can be a great benefit to a wrestler, but patience, intelligence,
and technique are critical. If a wrestler with average technique and average
athletic skills meets a tremendous athlete with no technique, the technician
wins every time," says Eric Peters, a wrestler in Iowa.
If you've seen any kind of wrestling on TV, you know that the goal of wrestling
is to get and keep your opponent on the floor.
Each wrestler, called a "grappler," uses a range of holds and techniques
to force the opponent against the floor. Wrestlers earn points for their technique
and also for wrestling their opponents to the floor -- this is called "pinning."
A wrestling contest is called a "match." A match is held on a flat, cushioned
mat within a large marked circle. The match lasts for a specific number of
minutes, or until one athlete is able to pin the other.
|Training with a partner is a great way to improve your wrestling.
Each person helps the other be their best!|
|Courtesy of: InterMat|
While brain may have a more important role to play than brawn, experienced
wrestlers say people involved in this sport are in top physical condition.
"I thought I was fit until I started to wrestle -- but wrestlers are some
of the fittest athletes out there," says Stuart Sutherland, who lives in England.
Sutherland points out that wrestlers don't have to start out in top form.
They build strength and fitness during their training.
"Wrestling is a neat balance because it involves teamwork. But unlike most
other sports you can't put blame on other members of the team. It's just you
and the opponent in the ring, but your score effects everyone on the team,"
says Washington wrestling enthusiast Gwen Mackenzie.
Wrestling tournaments take place in many different locations, so wrestlers
often have to travel to compete.
"The best part about wrestling is the places it has taken me, and the many
friends I have made through the sport. Most of my closest friends are wrestlers,"
The number of wrestlers in the U.S. is also impressive. USA Wrestling has
135,000 members, including wrestlers of all ages, coaches, officials, parents
One of the most notable trends in wrestling these days is the large number
of young women taking part in the sport. "USA wrestling has women's tournaments
from kids' wrestling all the way to world-class competition and I think this
shows just how much interest women have in this sport," says Mackenzie.
This activity doesn't require that much equipment, especially in the early
levels. People who wrestle on a school team can get by with shorts, a T-shirt
As you get to more advanced levels it may become necessary to buy special
shoes costing $35 to $55, protective headgear costing around $20, and a wrestler's
uniform, called a "singlet," which will run about $30.
"Some high schools do provide this equipment for their students, so the
students don't have to buy anything. Once you get to the college level, however,
you're usually on your own," says Mackenzie.
Travel expenses and tournament fees for wrestlers are usually not covered
by high school wrestling programs. While fund-raising is often done to subsidize
team travel expenses, much of the cost comes out of the individual wrestler's
For true wrestling fanatics, few things would be better than being paid
to be involved in wrestling. A lifelong career in wrestling is a definite
possibility, according to the USA Wrestling Association. Over 12,000 wrestling
coaches and officials are working in the United States.
People interested in coaching may need to look into a physical education
degree, which would make them eligible for teaching athletics in the school
Experienced wrestlers say you don't have to be on the mat to make the most
of your wrestling skills in a career. "Any career that demands physical strength,
stamina and mental alertness would be a good choice for a wrestler," says
If you're thinking about starting wrestling, you'd better be ready to sweat,
work hard and have your ego badly bruised. Sounds excruciating? Nah. It's
all part of the fun!
"Wrestling requires a lot of time and dedication, but the payback is great.
With practice you become not only a better wrestler, but also a more confident,
more disciplined and certainly more healthy person," says Mackenzie.
Experienced wrestlers caution newcomers to the sport that this payback
doesn't happen immediately -- don't get discouraged if you can't take down
your wrestling coach on the first day.
"The biggest mistake that people make is one common to many sports -- getting
discouraged when it doesn't all come together on your first training session.
The fitness, the coordination and your game skills will develop with time,"
One way to get the training you'll need is to join a wrestling team. Check
around your school or community center to find out where to sign up. If you
can't find a team in your area, don't give up hope.
"You'd be surprised how easy it would be to start a team in your school.
Check around with the PE staff and see if anyone will sponsor a wrestling
team. If you have all the information needed to get a wrestling team started,
someone is bound to offer to coach," says Mackenzie.
To learn more about wrestling teams or coaches in your area, contact your
national wrestling association.
6155 Lehman Dr.
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The home of amateur wresting -- news, links and an e-mail directory
for wrestlers, coaches and fans
Site for recreational, high school and college wrestling