West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Endurance on the Mats

Did you ever think about the length of a wrestling match? If there is no fall, the high school wrestler must compete in three two-minute periods. Of course, this doesn't seem like a long time as compared to a football or basketball game. Does it? Wrong!

Let me introduce you to some very interesting facts. First, if you are a father or uncle of a boy who wrestles, roll around with him continuously for one minute. Don't be shocked if you can't move for an hour after this short bout.

Secondly, Rex Peery, former head wrestling coach at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the Helms National Wrestling Hall of Fame, conducted a study to determine how many minutes of "play-action" time occurred in a football game? The answer - 10 to 11 minutes. And don't forget all the special teams, the defensive and offensive units that are playing during the contest. So, it's conceiveable that regular players spend about 5 to 6 minutes of actual playing time over a 60-minute game, not to mention the halftime break.

Finally, when you consider that football and basketball teams are allowed substitutions and strategic timeouts (conveniences not afforded to wrestlers), we begin to realize that wrestlers exert more effort over a short period of time than those in the abovementioned sports do over much longer time frames.

Oh, did I mention that in tournaments when there is a tie match, the grapplers must compete for another two minutes, plus a tiebreaker if necessary? Believe me, if you don't already, wrestling all-out for six to nine minutes is much more physically grueling than any football or basketball game.

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Updated May 30, 1997