Wrestling is a basic sportin the sense that it finally comes down to the strength and

skill of one person pitted against that of another. Practically every muscle in the body is

used in wrestling. Moreover, training must produce strength, speed and endurance. A

participant must be in excellent physical condition.

The two most popular styles of wrestling practiced in the United States are the Greco-

Roman style and Freestyle.

In the Freestyle form, a wrestler can use his/ her hands, arms, legs and feet to overcome an

opponent. This style also allows for great freedom of movement and allows both tripping and


The Greco-Roman style forbids the use of the legs and relies instead on arm and upper-body

strength. The Olympic Games currently include both styles of competitive wrestling.


A wrestling match takes place on a mat with a circle in the center, about 28 feet in

diameter. At the Olympic level, a match is composed of three 3-minute periods. On the

high school level, a match is comprised of three two-minute periods. College matches

are made up of a two-minute period followed by two three-minute periods.

Typically, wrestlers are grouped by weight. High school wrestling has 13 weight classes,

starting at 103 pounds and going up to 275 pounds. College wrestling has 10 weight

classes, starting at 118 pounds. The advanced wrestler may enter any of eight different

weight classes in international competition.

In the first period, wrestlers try to force their opponents onto the mat in a takedown.The

period begins with the wrestlers facing each other in a standing position. A toss of the coin

determines starting positions for the second and third periods. In the second and third periods,

wrestlers can start while standing or can begin in the referees position, which means that

the wrestler on the bottom has his or her hands and knees on the mat.

These are the three different ways matches are won:

By pinning the opponents shoulders flat to the mat.

By a technical fall or a 15-point lead.

By winning the most points.

A match can end in any period. Even if a wrestler has fewer points than his or her

opponent, he or she can still win if he/she pins the other wrestler to the mat.


When one wrestler gains control over another wrestler by bringing him/her down, a

takedown has occurred and two points are scored. If a wrestler frees himself or herself

from the opponents control and then gains control of the opponent, a reversal has taken

placeworth two points.Another two-point move is called a predicament,and occurs

when one wrestler controls the other. The referee then decides that a near fall may occur.

A near fall is worthtwo, sometimes three, points. In this move, a wrestler must pin one of

his or her opponents shoulders to the mat and hold the other shoulder near the mat at an

angle less than 45 degrees.

Two points are awarded if the hold is maintained less than five seconds. The move

becomes a three-point award when the maneuver is held close to the mat for more than

five seconds. If a wrestler can pin both of his/her opponents shoulders to the mat for

five seconds, six points are awarded.


The takedown, escape and reversal are important basic moves that beginners should master.

A double-leg takedown, ont of the basic takedown maneuvers,begins when you put your

foot between your opponents feet. Then take your lead knee to the mat and lock both

arms around the opponents thigh. The opponent is taken off the mat and over your

shoulders, then dropped back down on the mat.

The high-crotch takedown depends on quick reactions and strength. If an opponent grabs

your neck, a countermove is to take hold of the opponents elbow. The elbowis pushed

toward the opponents body, then pulled out as you drop to your knee and place a free arm

between your opponents legs. Then dropped your opponent over your shoulder to you gain

control of him or her.

Two other takedowns that rely particularly on strength are the bearhug and the headlock.

In the bearhug, you grab the torso of the opponent, throwing the opponent to the

side or pushing him/her backward so that the opponent falls.

The headlock requires you to wrap an arm around the opponents head and force the

opponent down or throw him/her to the side.

The inside-leg stand-up is a basic escape maneuver. This move allows the wrestler on

the bottom to get free and try to gain control.

The short-sit-out is an escape move that allows the wrestler on the bottom to get his/herlegs

into a sitting position. Escapes can sometimes be difficult to accomplish, especially

if the wrestlers are evenly matched in size/strength.

The side roll and switch are two reversals that are especially good for beginning wrestlers

to master. The reversals start from the bottom position and depend on strength and

quick reactions in order for the bottom wrestler to get on top.


Psychological factors are all-important in wrestling. All other things being equal, a wrestler has a

better chance of success if he/she has a strong will to win.  Confidence in ones ability is as

important in wrestling as is the ability itself. So is concentration and the ability to focus

exclusively on ones performanceand ones opponent. Remember, however, that confidence

is not some magic ingredient that will help you win matches. Confidence is gained by hard work

and the development of wrestling skills.  Wrestling also demands year-round practice. In this

respect it is not a sport for everyone.  Certainly, its not a weekendsport like golf. A

young wrestler must work on building strength through resistance and aerobic training, proper

nutrition and rest.


Wrestling requires only a minimum amount of equipment. Wrestlers traditionally wear

an outfit called a singleta one-piece garment with shorts and a sleeveless top. Shoes

are lightweight, ankle-high and without heels. In recent years, protective headgear covering

the ears has become a standard requirement.


Wrestling exists in two versions in North American popular culture: as a legitimate sport

and as a form of entertainment. As a sport, wrestling does not have the popularity of

football or basketball. But as a form of entertainment, as witnessed in associations such

as the World Wrestling Federation, it fills arenas, magazines and TV screens.

Wrestling is also an Olympic sport, where Freestyle and Greco-Roman are the only

permissible styles. Both Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling are divided into 10 weight

classes, ranging from 48 kg. to 130 kg.

Recent Olympic rule changes have increased the spectator enjoyment of wrestling. In

1989, matches became one-period, 5-minutes contests. This change decreased the importance

of endurance and increased the importance of speed and skill.

The greatest American heavyweight freestyle Olympic wrestler is Bruce Baumgartner,

who has been in Olympic competition in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996. He holds four gold

medals and one silver medal.

You can get a feel for the international flavor of wrestling with this abbreaviated listing

of medalists from the Sydney Olympics in 2000:

Wrestler Country Medal


Namig Abdullayev Azerbaijan Gold

Samuel Henson USA Silver Medal

Amiran Karntanov Greece Bronze Medal



Alireza Dabir Iran Gold Medal

Yevgen Buslovych Urkaine Silver Medal

Terry Brands USA Bronze Medal



Mourad Oumakhanov Russia Gold Medal

Serafim Barzakov Bulgaria Silver Medal

Jae Sung Jang Korea Bronze Medal



Daniel Igali Canada Gold Medal

Aresen Gitinov Russia Silver Medal

Lincoln McIlravy USA Bronze Medal



Alexander Leipold Germany Gold Medal

Brandon Slay USA Silver Medal

Eui Jae Moon Korea Bronze Medal

NCAA Tournament

Minnesota Wins 2001 Division I Championship

Minnesota made history twice, ending Iowas decade-long domination to win its first

NCAA wrestling championship and become the first team to capture the national title

with no one in the finals. Cael Sanderson of Iowa State was named Outstanding Wrestler.

North Dakota State Wins Division II Championship

With three individual weight class champions, North Dakota State pulled away from

South Dakota State to claim the 2001 Division II Championship.

Wrestling is an exciting sport both for participants and spectators. Youll find top-notch

competition on both high school and college levels. Make it a point to see a wrestling

meet this year.


The following questions will help you to have a greater appreciation and understanding

of wrestling. Write your answers in the spaces below the questions. If there is not enough

room, write on the backs of these sheets. Be neat, spell correctly, and write in complete


1. What physical benefits can be gained from wrestling?

2. What are the two most popular styles of wrestling practiced in the United States?

3. How long is an Olympic wrestling match? a high school match? a college match?

4. How are wrestlers grouped?5. What is a takedownin wrestling?

6. Name three different ways to win a match.

7. What is a predicament?

8. What is a reversal?

9. Why are psychological factors so important in wrestling?

10. What two types of takedowns rely especially on strength?

Short Answer Questions:

1. One form of wrestling2. Grabbing an opponents torso

3. Points awarded if hold is maintained less than five seconds

4. Points awarded if hold is maintained over five seconds

5. Points lead needed to win a match

6. The number of weight classes in high school wrestling

7. One way to win a match is to pin these to the mat

8. Grabbing an opponents head

9. A form of wrestling

10. One-piece garment worn by wrestlers

11. What happens when one wrestler controls the other

12. This is how wrestlers are grouped

13. Maneuver to get opponent on the mat

14. The number of weight classes in international wrestling

15. Takes precedence over points

16. These are not used in Greco-Roman wrestling

17. A reversal maneuver

18. The number of weight classes in college wrestling

19. Purpose of an inside-leg standup

20. A short _____ out is done to escape