What to expect when expecting to be a first year Wrestling Mom
It wasn’t until my 3rd son wanted to join because his good soccer buddy was doing it did even consider wrestling. I had not even attended a wrestling match! We were a soccer, basketball, and baseball family. In that order too season to season! I knew nothing, I take that back, I knew enough to know I was very nervous for my son. He was in 3rd grade and he was actually the average age in the room. There were little ones, young ones, old ones, and big ones. There are now a lot of little girls as well as boys too!
Our first practice in the wresting room of wall to wall mats and a ton of kids from preschool to 6th grade in one room. God bless the coaches. I was one of the parents who sat along the side all practice 3 times a week because I needed to see what this was all about. This is where I learned the chin and thread, the pancake, and whatever you do stay off of your BACK! I have four kids so I am used to chaos but I wasn’t prepared for our first wrestling tournament/meet! How many parents, kids, and confusion in one gym! You look down into a sea of 100’s of kids and coaches standing on mats with circles and tables set up all around. You notice each table has a number which is what mat number it is. There is usually bleacher seating and parents sitting in every corner of the place. You let your little one find their team and hope they figure it out. The coaches or team admin will usually write the mat number on their hand. You then try to figure out where you need to sit to see your little one wrestle. Their wrestling matches will be up to 3 minutes or 1 second so get a good seat and don’t miss out. My son was born in 2008. He could wrestle 2007, 2008, or 2009 kids. Usually the weight range is within just a few pounds. Oh yeah forgot to mention earlier in the week your kid was weighed in at practice and it was submitted on the roster to the tournament prior to the day of the tournament. Some tournaments you have to come early and weigh in but you are given the information up front.
Now where do we find out where our kids will be wrestling? I learned early to look for the brackets hung up on the gym wall somewhere. They are sorted by birth year, weights, and mats. I usually take a picture with my phone, find the mat, and scope out a spot where I can see my kid’s mat with an unobstructed view. You will notice your child is told where to go and they sit there right by the table and the wait for their name to be called by the people running the table. You will sit there or stand there and just wait too. You know who they wrestle by the bracket but there are usually a few brackets on each mat. If you are spectating you don’t know where they will start, how many kids are in the other brackets, or if your kid could get called up in 5 minutes or an hour. Usually they will at least wrestle tow times but you never know if those will last all 3 one minute rounds or be over in a second (if you are pinned or pin your opponent). If no one is pinned at the end of 3 rounds the winner is decided by points. I have sat at tournaments for 30 minutes to 4 hours! My drives have been longer than watching my kid so don’t blink! Literally, do not blink! I am afraid to go to the bathroom even! My fear is getting up and missing the whole thing! One tip I have learned if your kid just wrestled you probably have time to go to the bathroom or get a drink. They usually don’t wrestle back to back. If you have other kids or small kids bring something for them to entertain themselves. There is usually NO room to run around, if you are out in the hall there is a good chance you will miss your wrestler, it is super loud, and it is usually a long day.
If you are a first year wrestler a lot of times they have 1st year brackets or try to bracket based on experience level (years wrestled). Hunter’s first year he had some success because of this. His second year was a little tougher. If they collectively go as a team to a local tournament it is usually only 10-20 kids (we have a big kids club too). They have coaches there to help and you would be able to identify your kid by their team issued singlet. Now please note there are typically 2 or 3 sessions a day. Make sure you show up to the session that has your kids’ date of birth listed. You will notice other kids wearing headgear. It is not mandatory at the regular matches in grade school usually from my experience. They may need them if they go to extra tournaments, Novice tournaments, or compete at higher levels such as State. The only other things you need to provide are wrestling shoes. We got ours at Dicks. Sometimes teams have donated pairs from previous years so that is an option too. I will say I am not an expert and either is my son but I do recommend if your kid shows interest give it a try. Wresting teaches many skills and is another family for you and your kids! Good luck!