What Happens During The Match?

There's no let-up... it's the fastest six minutes in sports. Each wrestling match is divided into three periods. Yet, from the first seconds, the "Sudden Death" rule applies. Each opponent is going for a "pin". If one succeeds, at any time, the match is over. Tournaments are either single or double elimination.

Match begins with contestants facing each other on their feet in a “neutral” stance. Referee signals the timekeeper, blows the whistle and commands "Wrestle". Each wrestler moves, attempting to take his opponent to the mat and gain control. This is called a "take-down" for which the referee awards points. A "take-down" is completed when the offensive wrestler has taken his opponent to the mat and has moved behind and on top of him, or in some other manner has demonstrated control. After securing an advantage, the top wrestler tries to retain it by keeping the bottom wrestler in control. He may use his hands, arms, legs, or a combination to maintain control. The bottom wrestler must at all times try to escape and gain control, or “switch” to the top position for himself.

The second period starts with the toss of a coin or disk and the winner of the toss has the choice to select neutral, top or bottom position; or to defer his choice to the third period. A wrestler choosing top position attempts to pin his opponent or retain control, while the bottom wrestler tries to reverse his position. When a wrestler on top trying to pin his opponent fails to hold both shoulders down for the necessary two seconds, he may still be given credit and points for a partially successful attempt.

Wrestler who did not choose position during second period now has choice. This gives each wrestler an opportunity to show his skill from his best position during the course of the match.

If at the end of the 3 periods the match is tied there will be a 1 minute sudden death over time period. The wrestlers begin in the neutral or standing position and the first person to score a point will win the match. If at the end of the first overtime there is still no winner there will be a second and final 1 minute overtime period. This period will be from the “ eferee" or down position with the top or bottom wrestler once again being determined by the flip of the coin. In this period the bottom wrestler must escape to win and the top wrestler must either prevent the escape or score a pin or near fall points.

When the wrestlers go off the edge of the mat, the referee brings the contestants back to the center of the mat, placing the wrestler on the mat as determined by the position held upon going out-of-bounds.

The individual match point system in wrestling is an evaluation of the activity, used to determine a winner in case there is no fall (or pin, as it is called). It is the referee's duty, among other things to analyze the situation and signal the points to the scorekeeper. The points signaled by the referee are usually a reward to the wrestler for his actions. Once in a while, a wrestler is penalized, and points are awarded to his opponent for infractions such as illegal holds and/or unnecessary roughness, as well as various technical violations related mainly to stalling.

Additional Match and Tournament Information
The match times vary with the age group:

  • Bantams: 3 periods, 1 minute each
  • Midgets: 3 periods, 1.5 minutes each
  • Novice: 3 periods, 1.5 minutes each
  • School Boy: 3 periods, 2 minutes each
  • Consolation Match (all ages): 1 minute each

Parent Rules:

  • ALWAYS let the coach handle any problems that occur during a match. This  includes point disputes and injuries. The coach will let you know if your assistance is needed.
  • It's great to cheer for your child but please refrain from profanity or speaking negatively about the opponent.

What should you bring to tournaments? Here's a list of the basics:

  • USA wrestling member card
  • Wrestling Gear (shoes, singlet, optional headgear, etc.)
  • Healthy snacks (fruit, oatmeal/breakfast bars, veggies, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Water and/or low calorie sports drinks
  • Pillow (the gym floor can be quite hard)
  • Tylenol/Advil