West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker, National Wrestling Hall of Famer
and Rick Welker


Ricky Welker

With wrestling the way it is today with so many quality wrestlers and the amount of matches that get to overtime I am amazed at the amount of decisions that to me are questionable by coaches. During the course of a match three participants have separate but equally important jobs, the referee, the wrestler and the coach. Now the jobs of the first two are pretty obvious the official officiates and the wrestler wrestles. Now it is the responsibility of the coach to do more than yell at his wrestler what to do and not to do during the action of the match, but also manage the match as well.

With overtime rules the way they are today they are designed to take the official out of the decision making process. Long gone are the days when after 3 one minute overtime periods the criteria could go as far as the referees decision. The National Federation relieved the officials of that by implementing 1 minute sudden death, two 30 second offensive and defensive positions and ultimate victory. The responsibility is now solely on the wrestlers and their coaches.

In so many occasions I see a first period end with no score and the wrestler who wins the disc toss looks over at their coach and he tells them to defer. This is completely baffling to me, the coach has got to pick a position. He or she has the opportunity to put his wrestler in any position would give his wrestler the opportunity to score first. I do not care if they choose top it is much better than giving his opponent the opportunity to choose and get the ever important first point. That first point will determine who gets choice in the ultimate tie breaker.

This happened the other night at the OVAC's in the final match. No score after first period red wins toss defers to green. Green chooses down gets escape crucial first point scored. Now to make matters worse for red was that he now has to ride green for a solid minute because red won the toss going into the second overtime period and now is told to choose down. Why now? Why would you choose bottom now? Now would have been the time to defer! I personally believe that it is more exhausting to ride than it is to try and escape. I would have deferred let my opponent choose down then I would have at least had 30 seconds of not having to ride.

As you have all figured out by now green gets an escape and wins in the ultimate victory.

Was this decision by the coach what cost the wrestler the match? Probably not but it sure made things a heck of a lot more difficult. As I was saying earlier three individuals have responsibilities during the course of a match, sometimes the most important one is the one who gets to sit on a chair in the corner.

Return to the West Virginia Mat Thoughts Index Page
Return to the WV-Mat front page