Wrestling Information

Insider Info

dotWhen 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.

dotThe 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.

dotIf 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."

dotA 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

dotWhile 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.

dotWrestling 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," says Peters.

dotThe number of wrestlers in the U.S. is also impressive. USA Wrestling has 135,000 members, including wrestlers of all ages, coaches, officials, parents and fans.

dotOne 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.

dotThis 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 and sneakers.

dotAs 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.

dotTravel 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 pocket.

dotFor 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 system.

dotExperienced 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 Mackenzie.

Getting Started

dotIf 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.

dotExperienced 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," says Sutherland.

dotOne 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.

dotTo learn more about wrestling teams or coaches in your area, contact your national wrestling association.


USA Wrestling
6155 Lehman Dr.
Colorado Springs , CO   80918


Amateur wrestling resource

The Mat
The home of amateur wresting -- news, links and an e-mail directory for wrestlers, coaches and fans

Back Points
Site for recreational, high school and college wrestling