Monday, November 17, 2014

Wrestling: A whole new world...

California oranges
Arizona cactus
We think your team
Could use a little practice...

I did a one-year stint as a wrestling cheerleader, and coached wrestling cheerleading for one year. That is the extent of my wrestling knowledge.

So tomorrow night my husband will attend the parent meeting for youth wrestling with our older son (6). I am a nervous wreck. Not because my husband can't handle going to a meeting (although I'd rather get the information myself, first hand), but because wrestling is a completely foreign environment to me. I don't get the scoring system, I don't know the lingo, and I'm not sure how I'll handle my baby boy tackling someone to a mat - or worse, someone taking him down. For that matter, I don't know how he'll handle that.

Wrestling is a HUGE deal in Iowa, I get that. We have some top-notch programs in the surrounding school districts, and that's exciting. However, we have always been a football/basketball/track kind of family. My husband was not a wrestler, and in a family full of girls, none of my immediate family members have been involved in wrestling. I'm not sure I could be more of an outsider.

What are your wrestling mom tips and tricks? What are the need to knows?


  1. Leslie,
    As one who has wrestled since 3rd grade and now the coach of the little kids program, I get concerned mom questions quite a bit. Let me start extinguishing your fears by addressing the first misconception about wrestling that you alluded to. Wrestling is one of the safest sports. Granted there is physical force used, but there is one official for two wrestlers. That's the best ratio you can get in sports. The official is trained to spot potentially dangerous positions/situations and stop the action immediately. Also, when kids are that young, they usually don't know what they're doing, and so an arm might get wrapped around the neck by accident and the kid says they were being choked. In almost all cases, this is not the case. They've just never had anything around somewhat tight around their neck other than a scarf :) The short story is, at this age, your child might experience some bumps and bruises from heads accidentally bumping, but that is the extent. No more than anything else that could happen if they were playing outside or falling off their bike. The part that moms (and yes, dads too) struggle with the most is seeing they're kid get emotional after a match, especially if it's a loss. Those usually hurt more than injuries. But that's what I love about this sport. It continually pins an individual in the fork in the road of "keep going, or give up?" And with the right encouragement from the coach and parents, hopefully they can feel empowered to make that choice to keep going. The more they make that choice, the easier it becomes for them later on in life when they face hard times. This first year, just let him learn some stuff, bond with friends, and have fun. Those are the most important things right now.
    My oldest is also six and has wrestled a few years. It can be rough at first for him to navigate his own emotions, but it gets easier. Coincidentally, my daughter (4) is also in gymnastics, and I have a two year old as well. Small world.
    If you have more questions or concerns as a parent, feel free to get a hold of me on Twitter or check out our little kids site. Maybe there's something there that might help.

    1. Thanks for the great response! It's taken me a bit to reply, but I do still have a few thoughts. My worry isn't about trained refs, but that for kids' tournaments there are often students (high school wrestlers) that are overseeing matches, and while they do have experience, I would assume most are not trained.

      Thank you so much for sharing your site! I can't wait to gain more insight!

      It seems as though the people in charge of our program are GREAT about wanting kids to have fun, not burning them out on the sport too soon, etc. I'm very much looking forward to the adventure ahead!