You asked, we answered...
Is wrestling only for boys?
Over the last ten years, female participation has increased to the point that over 30 state high schools athletic associations have sanctioned girls-only championships (and many more soon to come). To date, women’s college wrestling at the NCAA and NAIA level has exploded with nearly 100 schools sponsoring programs, including the University of Iowa becoming the first Power 5 school with a women’s program. That’s a lot of potential scholarships out there for our girls/women. Women's divisions have been created in U.S. and international freestyle competition, and USA Women were absolute hammers in the 202(1) Olympics. The Truckee Wrestling Club has had girls compete every year and we endeavor to have more!
One of the most frequently asked question by athletes is "Do I have to wear a singlet"?
During practice, wrestlers wear shorts and t-shirts. During tournaments, wrestlers remain in their warm up and club t-shirt until it is time for them to step on the mat. Singlets are only worn during competitions, and then only for a few minutes during the wrestling match. Wrestlers generally do not walk around wearing just their singlet.
What makes someone a good wrestler?
Wrestling involves a unique balance of practically every aspect of physical and psychological conditioning. Strength is as important as stamina. Speed as technique, strategy as intensity, and power as is coordination. However, it is not always the natural athlete that ultimately succeeds in the sport - it is the natural competitor.
Gifted athletes, especially those that are strong and well coordinated, typically do well and take an early liking to the sport. Some kids that thrive on competition, with only average or below average natural ability, often surprise parents and coaches by eventually surpassing more gifted kids through hard work and preparation.
My athlete is extremely small or large for their age. Will this be a problem?
No. Truckee has wrestlers of all shapes and sizes in each age group. To be a successful wrestler, size of the athlete does not matter. Besides, for competitions, wrestlers are paired with others of their same age group (typically covering 2 year span - e.g. 12U = 11 and 12 year olds) and same weight.
How intense are the practices?
Wrestling practice is one of the most challenging of all sports workouts – but at Truckee Youth Wrestling we focus the FUNdamentals to keep them coming back for more. It exhausts an athlete both mentally and physically. Wrestlers are challenged to push themselves physically in terms of strength conditioning and endurance. In fact, some athletes use wrestling as a tool within their conditioning. In wrestling you get cardio, strength, endurance and agility workouts all in one practice. A fully conditioned wrestler is one of the most highly conditioned athletes in ANY sport.
Through wrestling kids develop strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, and most importantly confidence in their abilities. These attitudes are the basis of all competitive sports. Exposure to wrestling will help your child excel in other sports such as soccer, football, track and much more.
Will my wrestler be required or expected to lose weight?
No! There is no weight cutting in youth wrestling programs. It's true that weight management does exist at the high school and collegiate levels, but there are quite a few public misconceptions. Furthermore, state and national governing bodies, such as USA Wrestling, now prohibit any form of rapid or unsafe weight loss.
Some parents automatically associate wrestling with excessive, out-of-control weight loss, akin to anorexia and bulimia. In reality, the opposite is true - wrestlers gain control of their body weight and body composition, and are able to set and achieve reasonable goals with respect to muscle mass, fat percentage and body weight. We find that in wrestling, it is a good time to explain how healthy eating can have an impact on performance, or to discuss the difference between healthy foods and "junk foods".
In fact, every year we've had several wrestlers who naturally lost weight and gained the health benefits of actively participating in our sport instead of being sedentary!
How much time do I have to commit to being a wrestler and do I need to compete in tournaments?
Truckee Wrestling holds practice 3 times per week. It is up to you how often you practice. However, the more "mat time" a wrestler dedicates themselves to, the better they will be during competition. In terms of wrestling tournaments and competitions, wrestlers do not have to participate - although we encourage athletes to attend as many as possible. Competition days can be time consuming. Some of the larger tournaments can be all day affairs while others might only be 3-4 hours plus travel time. Our local league, the Sierra Wrestling Association (SWA) will be promoting a number of WAR Zone competitions this season. These are focused on beginner and novice wrestlers and can fit in 3-4 matches in the course of an hour or two which is very efficient for getting quality live match experience.
Is wrestling like the kind of thing I see professional wrestlers do on TV?
Not. Even. Close! Truckee Youth wrestling has little in common with professional TV wrestling. Professional wrestling is based on theatrics, entertainment value and a certain shock factor. These wrestlers wear outrageous costumes and boots. This type of "theatrical wrestling" depicts many extremely violent moves such as punching, kicking, and body slams.
Truckee wrestling is based on self-discipline, hard work, skill and determination. Wrestlers of all ages and sizes can be successful at this sport. This type of wrestling is conducted on a mat with regulation wrestling shoes and protective headgear. It is a very physically demanding sport, but it is relatively safe and non-violent. Punching, kicking, eye gouging or body slamming is not allowed. Amateur wrestling rules do not tolerate any actions intended to cause physical injury to another participant. If the referee sees that a wrestler is in a potentially injurious position, they will stop the match and then restart. World Class wrestlers utilize skills, strength and endurance developed over a lifetime of practice and hard work - theatrics are not involved.
How does wrestling compare with team sports such as football, soccer, baseball and basketball?
Wrestling is considered an individual sport, but includes many of the benefits of team sports. Wrestling differs from most team sports in that during competition, athletes must rely entirely on their own individual abilities for success. Those that dedicate the time and effort will eventually achieve at a level directly proportionate to the investment they have made.
Similarities between these sports exist in that teammates still depend on each other in team competition. Team victories in meets and tournaments are determined by the number of individual victories, and the extent to which each match was won or lost. The greater number of wrestlers winning their individual matches, the higher the wrestling team as a whole will place in a tournament.
Other team sports may be better of developing interactive player-to-player skills such as passing and blocking, but wrestling can offer benefits that other team sports lack. The individual nature of the sport provides an outstanding opportunity for young athletes to develop a sense of responsibility and self esteem while learning the relationship between effort and achievement. Wrestlers also develop an appreciation and respect for teammates that have been through the same challenges, and a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie with teammates and other wrestlers. If you are a football player, I GUARANTEE YOU wrestling will make you a better football player (and don’t worry – you don’t have to lose weight!).
Will my athlete need to compete for a spot on the Truckee team?
Club participants do not compete for starting positions on the team. This generally only happens at the middle school, high school and college levels of wrestling when teams wrestle in a duel format.
Most of the regular season tournaments are open to all members. There will be a few tournaments that are restricted by age or wrestling experience. There are other tournaments that require a wrestler to have placed in the top qualifiers from a different tournament for them to participate.
What physical effects can the sport of wrestling have on children?
Sports offer opportunities for children to improve their strength, flexibility and coordination, while having fun. Most sport activities rely more on some muscle groups and less on others. For example, most sports focus primarily on pushing motions (leg/arm extension) such as throwing, hitting, kicking, jumping and running.
Experts believe that unilateral physical development, with equal emphasis on all muscle groups, is especially important in young athletes. Isolated development at an early age, over a long period, increases the risk of injury and limits long-term foundational growth. Swimming, gymnastics and wrestling are among the few sports that engage both pulling and pushing muscle groups.
Of all the choices of sports a parent and child can make, wrestling is perhaps the best sport of overall physical development because it involves all muscle groups, and requires the greatest balance of athletic skill. In other words, wrestling does more to improve basic things such as strength, balance, speed, agility and intensity, and is not as specialized as most other common sports.
At what age should kids become involved in wrestling?
We have athletes of all ages, from K-5th grade. If kindergarten grade sounds too young, please note that many clubs start wrestlers as young as 3 and 4 years of age.
Some parents feel that wrestling is too intense for young kids, and that it is better suited for post-pubescent teenage years. However, denying a child the opportunity to participate in wrestling until high school greatly reduces their chance of success.
There is no easy way to know when a child is mature enough to be participating in a new sport. Some might be ready at three, while others might not develop an interest for wrestling until their early teens. The best approach is to introduce kids to the sport at a time and pace that is consistent with their interest level, backing off when necessary, and allowing more participation as their interest grows.
Is wrestling a dangerous sport?
Several studies have been conducted in recent years that show wrestling to be safer than many more common sports including football, ice hockey and gymnastics. Most notable in these reports is wrestling's low percentage of serious, permanent and life-threatening injury in relation to other sports. A quote from USA Wrestling Club has the following to say about the risk of injury in wrestling:
"Wrestling is a contact sport and injuries will occur. As would be expected, wrestling has more injuries than tennis and swimming, but most injuries are minor, consisting of sprains and strains. Wrestling has fewer serious injuries than football, basketball or ice hockey. There is a lesser chance of getting seriously hurt when wrestling than when riding in a car, skateboarding or riding a dirt bike."
Is wrestling good for self-defense?
Yes, very much so. Wrestling is unique in that it can be very aggressive without being violent. The objective is not to destroy or harm one's opponent, but to outmaneuver them and to gain control. Involvement in wrestling is a great way to build confidence and the ability to defend one's self, without resorting to the violent tactics inherent in most other forms of self-defense.
What's it like to be a Wrestling Mom?
Check out this post from Whiskey Throttle Farm - Wrestling Mom 101.