West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker
National Wrestling Hall of Famer

Club Wrestling

When do out-of-school private wrestling clubs, with their "parent-paid" instructors, do more harm than good to the social and educational growth of an adolescent?

To me, the answer is quite simple. It is detrimental when parents permit their son/daughter to forego school wrestling for club wrestling exclusively. As a retired educator with 40 years of teaching and coaching experience, allow me to explain why such a parental attitude will cause their child to lose-out on many wonderful moments with their classmates.

A wholesome k-12 school experience includes being involved in both curricular and extra-curricular activities. Such "school-day" memories last forever. Just ask any former student-athlete and they will most definitely validate my beliefs on this subject. Let's take a look at the positive benefits of competing for your school's wrestling team, or any athletic squad for that matter:

1. The cohesiveness that classmates/teammates acquire competing and sharing each other's successes and failures.

2. They develop school-boy friendships that will last a lifetime.

3. Their allegiance to their alma mater is strengthened and their athletic experiences together for their school will always be remembered and reminisced from one class reunion to another.

4. Their victories will be seen by their peers via the championship banners and trophies that will be permanently displayed in the school's athletic facility.
Private clubs could never offer such educational by-products. After all, when the organization's instructor closes shop, few will ever remember anything his protégés accomplished at open tournaments. Such events, unlike school-sponsored competitions, leave no lasting imprints.

As I look back to my own k-12 school experiences as a student-athlete, I am reminded of many victories and heartbreaks my teammates and I shared as a unified wrestling squad competing as Shamokin High School (PA) "Greyhounds." To this day, whenever we get together we fondly discuss those wonderful times we had as classmates. We cemented "lifelong friendships" by participating in school-sponsored activities.

Keep in mind, it's only the kids who suffer because their parents choose club over school sports. These young ones will never hear their names broadcast over the school PA system during morning announcements for achievements in club tournaments. And quite frankly, they shouldn't be afforded this luxury. I know this sounds a bit cruel, but to do so would be a huge slap in the face of others. Allow me to explain my case.

I have no problem with principals announcing student achievements in activities not normally offered in school, such as dance, scouting, bowling, skiing, skate-boarding accomplishments, etc.

However, to announce triumphs of a wrestler (or any other athlete), who competes only at the club level when the sport is also offered in the school, would be a totally inappropriate and irresponsible act by the principal. Why... because it would not only be a terrible insult to the wrestlers (players) on the school team, but also their coaches, and their parents, WHO are supporting the school.

As we all know our school days pass by in a flash, but the memories last a lifetime. Be it mom or dad, don't allow your sons or daughters to forgo school athletics for private clubs. It's only your children who will suffer. Furthermore, they will most certainly regret it after their school days are over.

So I say to all parents, regarding participating in scholastic activities, "Let your children "Carpe Diem!"

Unnecessary Roughness

Any intentional act that is hazardous to an opponent's physical well being is considered unnecessary roughness. Furthermore, if a hold is utilized for the sole purpose of punishment alone, the referee may see fit to declare unnecessary roughness.

Such offenses as striking, pushing, shoving, a swinging crossface, elbowing, and forceful tripping are just some examples of this infraction.

The normal progression of penalties is as follows:
" First Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Second Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Third Offense: Two Match points for the opponent
" Fourth Offense: Disqualification

Please note, if an official believes the infraction to be totally inexcusable, he can invoke the "flagrant misconduct" rule.

The flagrant misconduct results in the immediate and automatic disqualification of the wrestler. He is penalized three team points and if it is in a tournament, he losses all team points scored in the event, including placement points.

Certainly, a sucker punch to the jaw or head butt would come under the flagrant misconduct category.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler A shoots a hard double-leg, causing Wrestler B to hit his head on the mat forcefully when taken down. The match had to be stopped to check on Wrestler B's physical well being. Would this be considered unnecessary roughness on the part of Wrestler A?
A: Wrestler A would not be penalized for unnecessary roughness. A hard double-leg takedown is a perfectly legal maneuver, similar to a hard tackle in football.

Mat Message
"When you stretch the truth, watch out for the snapback."
-- Bill Copeland

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