YOUTH WRESTLING COACHES: AN OFFICIAL'S PERSPECTIVE
by Richard A. Welker, Guest Columnist
I love youth wrestling, nothing makes me more excited about this great sport than to see a kid win his first match, or beat a kid that has beaten him many times. This is what it is all about; this is what makes our sport what it is today. These young men and women will carry on the tradition of wrestling, long after we are gone.
But there is an on-going problem. What I hate to see are the antics and attitudes that the coaches have towards the officials on calls, whether they are questionable or not. Let's be honest, most youth coaches do not know the rules or how to interpret them. This isn't an opinion; it's a fact.
Unlike many other sports, every call that a wresting official makes is a judgment call; it's the nature of the beast. What numerous youth coaches don't realize is the reality that officials love the sport as much as the coaches do, and they deserve to be treated better than they are presently.
To be quite honest, I would rather do the Wheeling Park Duals (or any scholastic competition) than any youth tournament. I hate to say this but most good officials feel the same way. Why? High school coaches know the rules, and know how far they are allowed to go when questioning a call.
Officials devote both time and effort by professionally enforcing the rules of the mat sport. Then to be questioned by a coach, who has no idea of the rules, is totally ludicrous.
I know what you are thinking, "but you guys get paid." Darn right we do but that does not mean that we deserve to be abused. It is not about the money; it is because we love the sport. We care about ALL the kids, unlike many youth coaches, who are only concerned about one kid - their sons. After their sons leave the youth level, you never see them again.
Most youth tournaments are officiated by young, inexperienced officials. This is their training ground, just like it is for the neophyte wrestlers. With that being said, they don't deserve to be yelled at by a coach because his wrestler lost by a technical fall. Remember, for every questionable call a referee makes, most youth coaches make ten times as many errors during a match, often costing their wrestlers a win.
Here is a secret of which youth coaches may not be aware. These young apprentice-officials need to learn their craft somewhere, and that's at the youth level . They must work their way up to such tournaments as the Brooke Classic, OVACs, or states.
In closing, my advice to young officials is "show no mercy" when it comes to the inappropriate behavior of youth coaches. If they can't abide by the sportsmanship "rules of etiquette," remove them from the premises. By their irrational ranting, they are embarrassing themselves, their kids, and their
. Until youth coaches learn how to conduct themselves, they should be escorted from the facility. The key to successful youth officiating: "Zero Tolerance!"
The Sudden Death Overtime Procedure
Whether the competition is a dual meet, tournament or any other multiple-team event, if there is a tie at the end of an individual match, we go immediately to sudden death to settle the issue.
Sudden death consists of a one-minute overtime period and, if necessary, three 30-second tiebreaker periods.
In the one-minute overtime period, the wrestlers start in the standing or neutral position. The wrestler who scores the first point(s) wins the match.
If no points are scored, the wrestlers go directly to two 30-second tiebreakers, which start in the referee's (or down) position. The referee flips the disk to see who has choice the first tiebreaker. Each of these two tiebreakers goes the entire 30 seconds, unless there is a fall.
If the score is tied after the first two tiebreakers, we proceed to the final "Ultimate Tiebreaker." At this point in the match, the wrestler who scored the first point(s) in the regulation match will be given the choice of up, down, or defer by the referee. If the match is scoreless, the referee will flip his disk to determine who gets the choice.
Should the top man ride out his opponent, he wins by the ride-out point (RO). If the bottom man scores an escape, reversal, or penalty point(s), he wins.
In my opinion, this is the best advancement in wrestling since I have been involved with the sport. Everyone understands sudden death, and it makes the sport even more exciting.
Q: In the overtime period, Wrestler A scores a takedown but uses an illegal headlock to do so. Does Wrestler A win the match?
A: No. Wrestler B would win the match with the penalty point he received for Wrestler A's illegal headlock. You can not score a takedown with an illegal hold.
OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior
Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Wheeling Park's Zack Kimmins. As a senior, Zack is wrestling at the 285-pound weight class. Kimmins's record is presently 26-18. This "Patriot" wrestler placed 4th in the North Canton Holiday Classic and is currently ranked #1 at 285 pounds in the West Virginia AAA division.
Last season, Kimmins was 3rd in the West Virginia State Championships. Coach Doyle states, "Zack is an outstanding young man and leader on our very young team. The wrestlers look up to him and respect his work ethic and positive attitude. He is getting better everyday and we expect him to have a very strong finish at the end of the year."
Congratulations are extended to Wheeling Park's Zack Kimmins, this week's Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior.
The OVAC Mark Gerrity Wrestling Fan of the Week is Brent Staub, a Wheeling Park High School supporter. Brent never says no when asked to help the Wheeling Park "Patriot" wrestling team.
The Deaton-Regis Weekly Dual Meet Predictions
Larry Deaton and Jack Regis, two of the Valley's finest mat officials are competing with each other this season, picking the winners of selected weekly matches.
This week's featured matches are Magnolia at River (6:00 pm) and Buckeye Local at Wheeling Park (6:00 pm), which are both on Wednesday.
Deaton picks River over Magnolia 38-34 and Wheeling Park over Buckeye Local 44-42.
Regis calls Magnolia to win 36-31 over River and Buckeye Local defeating Wheeling Park 39-33.
"Of all the creatures on Earth, Mankind is the 'best of the best'…and the 'worst of the worst.'"
- Bill Welker
(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org)