WEST VIRGINIA MAT THOUGHTS
by Dr. Bill Welker
OVERTIME: WHERE HAVE WE BEEN - WHERE ARE GOING?
Last week we looked at the overtime and 30-second tiebreaker as it is at the present time. With permission of the National Federation of State High School Associations, we were allowed to try something new. The following is the West Virginia angle on the overtime procedure:
1) The wrestler who earns the first OFFENSIVE POINTS (takedown or near-fall points) will be given the choice of position (top, bottom or defer) if the match reaches the 30-second tiebreaker.
The rationale behind this approach is two-fold. To begin with, we felt that the choice of position in the 30-second tiebreaker should be determined by more than an escape or reversal determined by tie fortunes of a disk flip.
2) If the score is tied with no offensive points, the wrestler who earned the first point due to a technical violation, illegal hold, unnecessary roughness, stalling, or unsportsmanlike conduct will be given the choice of position should the match reach the 30 second tiebreaker phase.
3) If the score is tied with no offensive or penalty points scored by either wrestler, the wrestler who scored the first point(s) will be given the choice of position should the match reach the 30-second tiebreaker phase.
4) If there is no score by either wrestler at the end of the regulation match, the referee will flip the disk before the overtime period to determine who has choice should the match reach the 30-second tiebreaker.
Secondly, should there be no score, the flip of the disk prior to the overtime period (not the 30 second tiebreaker), could change the complexion of the action during the overtime period. Hopefully, both, wrestlers - knowing who gets the choice - will compete much more aggressively throughout the entire overtime eriod.
At the end of the season, all West Virginia coaches were surveyed regarding the pilot study. We learned that:
82% of the wrestling coaches felt the pilot study approach to the 30-second tiebreaker was better than the National Federation set-up.
However there were some coaches who felt that the above format could be further I refined.
Thus, the inspiration for developing another alternative to the dilemma was conceived, which we hope to be given permission to study in the future. The second ''3-criteria'' scenario is as follows:
1) The wrestler who earns the first OFFENSIVE POINTS (takedown, near-fall or reversal points) will be given the choice of position (top, bottom or defer) if the match reaches the 30-second tiebreaker.
The rationale behind this second approach is also two-fold in nature. First, it was believed that a reversal should have more weight than just an escape. Hence, a reversal has the same value as a takedown and near-fall points.
2) If the score is tied with no offensive points, the wrestler who earned the-first point due to a technical violation, illegal holds, unnecessary roughness, stalling, or unsportsmanlike conduct will be given the choice of position should the match reach ther 30 second tiebreaker phase.
3) If there is no score or only an escape scored by each wrestler at the end of the regulation match, the referee will flip the disk prior to the 30-second tiebreaker to determine who has choice should the match reach the 30-second tiebreaker.
Furthermore, it was thought that the choice of position in the 30-second tiebreaker should be determined after the overtime period has concluded. What was their reasoning for this adaptation? Well, if a wrestler knows he has the choice prior to the overtime period, he might not be as willing to take chances in acquiring a takedown. After all, the choice would be his following the minute of wrestling in the neutral position.
As stated in the beginning, our sport has always had difficulties in coming up with the perfect tiebreaker, void of subjectivity and chance. Over the years I have heard other ideas as well. For example, bring back ''riding time" to determine the winner, have two 30-second tiebreakers so both wrestlers are given the opportunity to escape/reverse the fastest, or keep them on their feet during the overtime period until someone wins by scoring a takedown or loses by stalling. Of course, these suggestions have their share of weaknesses, too.
Although West Virginia is smaller in population than many states, we have a group of dedicated wrestling officials, as well as coaches, who are totally committed to the improvement of the mat sport. They put in long hours formulating the criteria for the two alternative 30-second tiebreaker procedures previously illustrated in this article.
We believe that the preceding revisions and additions are-positive improvements upon the present 30-second tiebreaker set-up. Hopefully, the National Federation rules committee will eventually come to the same conclusions.
(Author's Note: These thoughts were presented on October 1, 2003 to the National Federation state wrestling interpreters in Indianapolis, Indiana.)
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