Wrestling is one of the most rewarding martial arts in the world. It provides many opportunities for fun competitions while teaching you values that will stick with you for the rest of your life, like discipline, hard work, and perseverance.
In order to get the most out of your training, there are certain basics you need to understand. Your understanding of these concepts will make your time on the mat a lot more productive.
1) The basic techniques and terms
Learning these moves is the foundation of your experience as a wrestler. Understanding how to properly perform these moves allows you to move on to the more advanced techniques. The basic moves in wrestling include:
- Penetration step: This is the first movement you make as you look to score on your opponent
- Stance: Your stance is the posture you take on the mat. The common stances used in wrestling are staggered and parallel
- Level change: This refers to lowering or raising your hips as you attempt a takedown or defend against one
- Neutral position: This is the position you take at the start of each match. You stand facing your opponent with your shoulders square to each other
- Takedown: This refers to any technique that is used to take your opponent down to the canvas from a neutral position
- Reversal: This refers to any technique that allows you to quickly turn a defensive position into an offensive one
- Referee’s position: This refers to a position in which one wrestler assumes the top position, while the other is on the bottom
- Breakdown: This is a technique that is used from the referee’s position to get your opponent down to the canvas
- Escape: This is a technique that is used from bottom referee’s position to escape from the opponent and regain a neutral position
- Finish: This occurs when you pin your opponent to the canvas using special techniques that keep the back of his or her shoulders on the canvas for a minimum of two seconds
2) Basic scoring rules
Competing is a big part of wrestling, and you are likely to go to your first completion while you are still learning the basics. Understanding how matches are scored allows you to draw up effective game plans.
The goal of a wrestling match is to defeat the other person. If either competitor gets a pin, the match is automatically over, and the person who got the pin wins the contest. If neither competitor is able to secure a pin, scores are tallied after three, two-minute periods. Points are scored when different moves are successfully executed during a match. Points are also awarded to competitors when their opponent commits an infraction.
Here are the most important scoring rules:
- A fall or pin leads to the end of the match
- Successful takedowns score two points
- Escapes score one point
- Successful reversals score two points
- Unsportsmanlike behavior leads to a point for the opponent
- Using an illegal hold gets your opponent one point
- Unnecessary roughness scores a point for the opponent
- Stalling leads to a warning, then a point for the opponent. A fifth stalling violation leads to disqualification.
3) Importance of physical fitness
Getting yourself in top physical condition allows you to reach your full potential. Being physically fit and in shape makes it easier for you to defend against moves being executed on you. Having good cardio allows you to continue making intelligent decisions on the mat while your opponent looks for a way out due to fatigue.
Here are some important things you should be doing to allow yourself to wrestle to the best of your ability:
Rest: Getting plenty of quality rest is as critical as training regularly. Your body performs most of its repairs while you’re asleep, and your brain needs an average of eight hours every night to be fully refreshed. There is no question about it, not getting the sleep you need will impact your performance on the mat. It will also hinder your ability to learn techniques during practice sessions.
Make sure you also get some rest from all your training. Try to have at least two off days each week that you do not engage in any intense physical activity. In the long-term, try taking one or two weeks off every six months so your body can recover from all the hard work you’ve been doing.
Cardio: You need to build up your endurance if you want to be successful as a wrestler. Your heart needs to be able to handle intense physical exercise for an extended period. You should be able to run, swim, or ride a bicycle at a moderate intensity for at least 40 minutes before you go for your first competition.
Strength Training: Strength training can give you the edge you need, especially as your competition begins to get tougher. Focus on compound exercises that work large muscle groups like the bench press for your chest and squats for your legs.
Your focus when lifting weights should be strength training. Aim for 10 to 12 reps and about three sets of each exercise.
Nutrition: Understanding how food affects your body can also give you an edge as a wrestler. Ensure that you get enough of the vital nutrients and have a good balance of the necessary food groups. In addition, keep yourself properly hydrated throughout the day.