Raven kids club wrestling Kids Club Head Coach Pat Connor Parents guide to kids wrestling Philosophy of kids wrestling The first year of kids wrestling can be as big of an adjustment for the parents as it is for the kids. As opposed to most sports, wrestling is an individual sport. If things are not going well, there are no teammates to help someone out of a situation. If a wrestler is in a tough spot, he has to work out of the situation by himself (with the help of a coach). Another aspect of wrestling that makes it different than any other sport is the physical demands on the athletes. No sport places a higher demand on its athletes than wrestling does… The physical and mental demands placed on an athlete during a wrestling season can outweigh the physical and mental demands of many other sports. Because of these demands, attendance at practice is mandatory and very important, of equal importance is effort in practice. An athlete who does not regularly attend practice or an athlete who does not give his/ her full effort can become susceptible to injuries. It is the parents’ responsibility to insure the wrestlers are at every practice. This is not for the benefit of the club; it is for the benefit of the athletes. It is the coaches’ responsibility to teach the athletes about the sport of wrestling. It is the parents’ job to ensure the athletes attend practice and to support the coaches. Lastly, it is the athletes’ job to provide their best efforts. If all three of these things happen, we will expose a child to a sport they can enjoy throughout their school years. If you examine many of the superior high school wrestlers across the state, they began wrestling when they were kids. It is the desire of the coaches of the Olathe Northwest Ravens kids wrestling club to provide an environment which will foster the type of attitude that will allow young athletes to perform at a superior level when they get to high school. Hygiene In wrestling hygiene is very important. Athletes must keep their fingernails trimmed. It is also very important that athletes shower after every wrestling practice and tournaments. Athletes who do not take a shower (or bath) are susceptible to catching various skin diseases. One of these diseases is ringworm. Prior to most tournaments, the athletes are examined before they participate in any matches. The athletes are examined for long fingernails and for any contagious skin diseases. If a tournament official sees an athlete with a contagious skin disease, that athlete will not be allowed to wrestle. The only exception to this would be if an athlete has a signed waiver from a doctor which states the skin condition is not contagious. Parents’ role during practice It is important for all parents to know the coaches are selected based on their knowledge of wrestling and their abilities to coach young athletes. It is important that parents allow the coaches to do the job they were entrusted with. If a parent wants to remain on the school premises during practice, they are encouraged to wait in the hallway outside of the wrestling room. The reason for this is there is no room for open seating in the wrestling room. There is a very small area in the wrestling room to stand and watch. If an adult chooses to stand in this area and observe practice, it is important they allow for the coaches to provide uninterrupted instruction to the kids. Siblings who do not wrestle are encouraged to not be in the wrestling room. If a non-wrestler is in the wrestling room and is being a distraction, they will be asked to leave the room. The reason for this is it is very difficult for young athletes to learn if there are distractions in the room. These policies are set to be fair to all the athletes who are at practice. Care of the mats Our kids (in the kids club) are guests of the high school wrestling program. Most of our practice time will be in the wrestling room on the wrestling mats. These mats are very expensive. If we abuse or damage the mats we may lose our practice facility. Under no circumstances will anyone be allowed on the mats in street shoes. Street shoes can carry fungus which contributes to acquiring skin diseases (see the hygiene section). Street shoes can also have small rocks in them. These rocks can tear the mat. Wrestlers must wear wrestling shoes while they are on the mat. If an athlete forgets his wrestling shoes, he / she can wrestle in their socks. Bare feet are not allowed on the wrestling mats. No jewelry of any type is allowed on the wrestling mats. No clothes which have buttons or other metal are allowed on the mats. Weight and age classes The thing that separates wrestling from other sports is the fairness to the participants. The rulebook in football makes no allowances if an athlete tries to tackle someone who outweighs them by 30 pounds. Wrestling is different. At tournaments, kids will only wrestle against kids in their weight class and age class. Because of this, parents are encouraged to have the coaches weigh their child once a week. Because the parents will be completing the tournament sign-ups for their individual child, they must have a good idea what the child weighs. Some tournaments also try to pair kids up based on their abilities. During practice, coaches will pair the kids up based on their age, size, and abilities. What to expect at tournaments The first tournament is sometimes more of an eye opener for the parent than it is for the athlete. The preparation for the tournament begins the night before the tournament. It is wise to put together a bag to prepare for the tournament. The bag should contain a change of clothes, fingernail clippers, entertainment for the kids, and entertainment for the parents. Snacks are fine, however most tournaments do not allow people to bring in coolers. If the athlete is attending a local tournament that allows weigh in before the tournament, parents are encouraged to do this. If weighing in early is not an option, parents need to have their wrestler at the gym early to weigh in. The wrestler should not eat prior to weighing in. Remember, they have to be under their chosen weight. After the athlete weighs in, they are encouraged to eat. Most tournaments provide a fundraiser breakfast. After breakfast, the parents need to go find the wrestling brackets. These are usually posted in the hallway. If the parent looks under the appropriate age and weight class, they will find their child’s bracket. There will be a number next to their child’s name. This number is important. It says what the mat number their child is wrestling on and what number of match they have on that mat. For example, if the number is 413, this means the athlete has the 13th match on mat number 4. Most tournaments are either round robin or double elimination. This makes it easy to determine when and where your child is wrestling for the entire day. After reviewing the brackets, it is a good idea for parents to go into the gym and find the mat their child is wrestling on. Some parents sit in the gym. Other parents bring lawn chairs and sit in the hallways (this is why it is so important to know the match number of your child). Most tournaments end at mid afternoon. Novice tournaments are usually held on Sundays and open tournaments are usually held on Saturdays. Novice wrestlers are defined as wrestlers who have wrestled for two years or less. Participation is defined as obtaining a USA wrestling card. If a wrestler has had a USA wrestling card for two years, they can not wrestle as a novice. One last note about wrestling tournaments. This is a sport for boys and girls; however there is no segregation in kids’ tournaments. Boys and girls are usually placed in the same brackets. Enjoy the sport The wrestling experience can be a great time for a young athlete. Parents are encouraged to nurture this experience. Talk to your child about the sport. What do they enjoy about the sport? Talk to them about practices. If your child does not understand something covered in practice, it is important to pass this information onto the coaches. Take your child to a high school meet. Meet the high school wrestlers and support them at their matches. Our club will make every effort to attend the high school dual meets. If possible, attend a college meet. The more a parent and child put into wrestling the more they will get in return. Uniforms Uniforms are a small investment in the sport but it is very important. As mentioned earlier, wrestling shoes are a must. Athletes should also bring tennis shoes to practice. Sometimes we will run in the basketball gymnasium or in the hallway. This can be done in tennis shoes. At practice, wrestlers need to wear shorts and a t-shirt. At tournaments, athletes have to wear head gear. This is done to protect the ears. It is not required, but highly recommended at practice. Wrestlers are encouraged to wear singlets at tournaments. If an athlete wears a t-shirt and shorts during a tournament, it may be easier for their opponent to take them to the mat. Because of the large number of kids at tournaments, it is important that members of our club wear the same type of singlet. This is so it will be easier to locate our wrestlers. Points and how a match happens All matches begin with the coach and wrestler at the mat. It is mandatory for a USA wrestling sanctioned coach to be at the mat. Each wrestler must check in at the scorers table. Each wrestler will walk to the center of the mat. One wrestler will put a red ribbon around their ankle and the other wrestler will put a green ribbon around their ankle. The ribbons are used to differentiate for scoring purposes. The wrestlers shake hands and the match begins. Most matches are for 3 periods. Each period is of varying lengths depending on how the tournament is conducted. At the conclusion of the match, the wrestlers will shake each others hands, they will shake the referees hand, they will shake the hand of the opposing coach and they will lastly shake the hand of their coach. Points are awarded as follows: Take down – 2 points – when a wrestler controls his opponent to the mat and then is in an offensive position. Reversal – 2 points – when a wrestler who is on the bottom is able to reverse his position and be in control of his opponent on top. Near fall – 3 points – when a wrestler is able to get his opponents shoulders within 45 degrees of the mat for 5 seconds. Near fall – 2 points – when a wrestler is able to get his opponents shoulder within 45 degrees of the mat for 3 seconds. Escape – 1 point – When a wrestler who is taken down is able to get to his feet and escape the grasp of his opponent. Associated cost and fund raising There are many expenses associated to kids wrestling. Some of these expenses are state charter, district fees, insurance costs, coaching fees, room rentals, office supplies, and uniform expenses to name just a few. In an effort to keep the sport affordable, all clubs conduct some type of fund raising. Some types of fund raising are putting on a tournament, working as a volunteer (for pay) at various sporting or civic events, and doing car washes just to name a few things. In order to keep our costs down, it is very important that everyone help with these fund raising events. Conclusion The coaches, parents, and board members of the Olathe Northwest Ravens kids wrestling club thank you for your effort and support in exposing an exciting sport to the kids in our community. Through our combined efforts we will be able to provide experiences to our kids that will last a life time. In closing, there is only one other thing to say – have fun and enjoy the experience.