What Equipment Do We Need?

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What equipment do we need to get started?
If your child is just getting started, you’ll need little (to no) gear.  During the trial period, they can wear shorts, t-shirt, and (optional) wrestling shoes. 
**ONLY wrestling shoes are allowed on the mat, and should NEVER be worn outside or on any other surface.** Without wrestling shoes, they will practice in bare feet. No outside shoes are allowed on our mats.  Avoid any clothes or shoes with zippers, buttons, snaps or hooks.  Also, no watches, wristbands, or jewelry can be worn on the mat. Lastly have them wear clothes that are more snug than loose.

How do I choose wrestling shoes?
The most important job of wrestling shoes is to simply keep them on while wrestling (regular gym shoes can slip off).  You’ll see claims of “lightweight”, “split sole”, “comfort”, “traction”, etc.  Traction can be important, but most shoes have the traction needed.  The split sole was introduced to offer flexibility for ease in bending the foot. Laces can get in the way because they come untied too often. Most tournaments require that laces be covered, and you will see that in most newer shoe designs, but you can also wrap athletic tape around the ankle to cover the laces prior to competition, which is very common. Avoid buying shoes that are too big (just so your child can wear them again next year). Loosely fitted wrestling shoes can impede performance.

There are a lot of different things to take into account when choosing wrestling shoes. Learning the anatomy, choosing the best type of sole, and finding the right fit are undoubtedly the most important. Of course, you should also take into account your preferences as well. Style, color, and all of that good stuff is up to you and your personal preferences. All of these different factors should come together to create a shoe that will perform to all of your demands. 

New wrestling shoes can be expensive primarily because they’re not produced in the same quantity as other types of athletic shoes. We have a small inventory of shoes from size 2 to 9 in half-sizes which can be purchased at the club for $50.  We also have a few previously worn shoes that new wrestlers can choose to use during the trial period.  (At the end of each season, we ask all wrestlers donate their shoes back to the club to allow new wrestlers to use them.)
Local sources: Academy Sports, Dicks Sporting Goods
Online sources: Amazon, Suplay.com, Wrestlinggear.com, Eastbay

What is headgear and is it required?
After the trial period, headgear is mandatory for the safety of your wrestler. Cost are between $20-$40. We have some basic headgear which can be demo-ed at practices. Despite the name, headgear doesn’t protect the head – it protects the ears. The sole purpose of headgear is to prevent the start or progression of cauliflower ear. This is extremely difficult to get at a young age, but you will find most programs require headgear. Flip through a wrestling gear catalog and you’ll find about a dozen different styles, each with their own supposed advantages. Headgear can slip down over a wrestler’s head, possibly covering their eyes during competition, which can be a problem. To avoid this, adjust the top straps short enough so there is no way it can possibly fit down over the head. If your wrestler has very long hair, a “hair slicker” may be required. It’s basically a hair net that’s made to work with the headgear. You may also see headgear with masks or faceguards.  These are rare and only needed when wrestling with a facial injury (e.g. a broken nose).  We have an assortment of styles and sizes available for purchase at the club for your convenience.
Local sources: Academy Sports, Dicks Sporting Goods
Online sources: Amazon, Suplay.com, Wrestlinggear.com, Eastbay.

Cauliflower Ear

What is cauliflower ear? 
Cauliflower ear occurs after someone gets hit or repeated hits to the ear. Wrestlers and boxers are more likely to have cauliflower ear because their ears may be hit while they're in a match. These blows can damage the shape and structure of the outside of the ear. For cauliflower ear to form, the ear has to be struck hard enough for a large blood clot (lump of blood) to develop under the skin. Another way cauliflower ear can happen is when the ear's skin is stripped away from the cartilage, the flexible material that gives a normal ear its shape. Wearing the right headgear is a must. Cauliflower ear is easily preventable by wearing headgear. We mandate that all our wrestlers wear their headgear in practice every day, during meets, and at all tournaments.

Water bottle
Wrestling practices are much more active than most other sports and athletes sweat much more than they tend to realize. To stay well hydrated, wrestlers should bring a full water bottle to each practice session. 
Drinking water throughout your workout has a variety of other benefits too. Muscles can start to cramp if you don't drink enough. This is because water aids in the removal of lactic acid, which is the primary cause of muscle soreness. Becoming dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic performance, slowing you down and making you feel sluggish.


Do I have to wear a singlet?
Once you decide to stay, you will receive a practice (blue) singlet although gym shorts and t-shirt can be used during practice.  As you wrestler advances, you may want to purchase the team singlet and additional attire for tournaments. During tournaments, wrestlers remain in their warmup and t-shirt until it is time for them to step on the mat. Singlets are only worn for a few minutes during the wrestling match after which wrestlers can don their warmups and t-shirts. Wrestlers generally do not walk around wearing just their singlet.

How to care for singlets
Wash Cold: Heat is the enemy of lycra. Wash in cold or warm water, neverNever hot.
Use Mild Detergent: Use a mild (non-phosphorous) detergent. Harsh chemicals or phosphates can bleed colors.
Hang Dry: ONLY drip or hang dry. Use wooden or plastic hangers as metal can leave rust marks.
Presoak: If dirty or bloodstained, presoak for an hour or overnight with a bit of laundry detergent.
Lose the Funk: Singlets get stinky. Add a cup of baking soda to your pre-soak.
No Bleach: Never use chlorine bleach - it damages the fabric and dulls sublimated colors.
Wash Alone: Other fabrics (those with velcro or fasteners) will damage lycra fabric or transfer lint.
No Ironing: Hopefully this goes without saying, but don't even think about ironing your singlet. 

What if my child is not sure about wearing the singlet?
Wrestlers may wear a t-shirt under the singlet for practices. Once they get into the singlet and see others wearing their singlet, the fear is usually gone. 

What about knee pads?
Maybe… These are more to facilitate knee motion (ability to slide against the mat) than anything else. Some moves can be executed easier with knee pads. There are two reasons for wanting pads:
  1) “I saw other kids wearing them and they look cool”, or 
  2) “I believe I can score more takedowns with a kneepad”.
Our advice is to wait until you hear #2 from your child. Nonetheless, if you buy knee pads, fit is very important. They need to be tight enough to stay up during competition, but you don’t want a tourniquet either (and that difference can be a fine line).

How about a mouth guard?
Wrestlers with braces require a mouth guard that protects the upper and/or lower teeth with the devices.

I have some wrestling gear still in good condition. What should I do with them?
We accept donations of these items as long as they are in good shape and clean. Bring these items to the facility prior to or after a practice.

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