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's not always the natural athlete that ultimately succeeds in the sport - it's the natural competitor.
Kids that are strong for their weight, well coordinated and naturally aggressive are usually more successful early on in the sport. However, it's the highly competitive kids that really enjoy the sport, that eventually achieve the highest levels of success. True competitors come in all shapes and sizes, and in varying degrees of natural talent. Many of the best wrestlers the world has ever seen, such as John Smith, Dan Gable and Dave Schultz were not star athletes. They are and were ordinary people with an extraordinary competitive drive.
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.
Although it is wise for parents and coaches to de-emphasize winning, victories can be extremely gratifying because of the strong sense of personal accomplishment. The effort put forth in practice and preparation is apparent in competition, and not lost in a team effort. This aspect of wrestling can be a great motivator and teacher, and can develop a person's work ethic, self-confidence, and ability to achieve in all areas of life. Wrestling is great for exposing the "champion" within most any kid, but especially with those that love to compete.
Ok, your child came home today with a flyer and says he/she wants to try wrestling. All you can think of is what you have seen on TV, chairs, ladders and lots of drama and weird costumes. If the thought of this scares you, please understand, this is not the wrestling you watch on TV, it is scholastic wrestling. Youth & high school wrestling does not take place in the ring or cage. Please take comfort; youth & high school wrestling are very different from the professional wrestlers on Saturday television.
Youth & High school wrestling is more like the wrestling you see on television when you watch the Olympics. It is an actual sport, and not just entertainment designed for high ratings. Youth & HS wrestling use mats, but do not have a ring. Wrestlers wear what is called a singlet and use safety gear such as head gear, knee pads & wrestling shoes. Despite what you may think, wrestling is safer than many other sports and activities. According to a Loyola University Study based on 2005 data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the most dangerous sport is Basketball. The remaining 9 were Bicycling, Football, Soccer, Baseball, Skateboarding, Trampoline, Softball, Swimming & Diving & Horseback Riding.
In some regions of the country, wrestling is part of the culture, your father, grandfathers, brothers all wrestled, but in Georgia that is not always the case. In a majority of the cases, the youth wrestler is the first one in their family to try the sport. Many parents fear their wrestler will be thrown around, like they have watched on TV. This is not the case, in reality violent actions are not allowed. Wrestling & being a wrestler involves hard work, dedication, determination, and a high degree of physical training and commitment.
Wrestling is an aggressive sport that requires skill, strategy, and strength. It does not promote violence, or aggressive behavior outside of the wrestling match. Wrestling is often referred to as an "individual" sport, but also has a team aspect. Each wrestler must win or lose on his own, but in many competitions the winning wrestler is awarded points based on winning and how he/she won and Teams compete against each other. Sometimes a wrestler just not getting pinned can be the difference in their team winning or losing a dual or tournament. All sports are getting more and more competitive and many believe the earlier you can get your child into a sport, the better off they will be in high school. If your wrestler is in High school it is NOT too late to begin a wrestling career. There are many success stories about NCAA All Americans and Olympic Medalists that only started in high school. Wrestling is definitely a sport that you get out what you put in. Good luck and hope to see you on the mats!