West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

The Making of a Great Official
by Ron Collins

This summer I had the extreme pleasure to interview Ron Collins, one of the most highly respected wrestling officials in Montana and throughout the United States. He shared with me his article on what he felt were the most successful components for becoming a great wrestling official.

The Making of a Great Official
by Ron Collins

First of all, it is very important to have an accurate knowledge of the rules and how to apply that knowledge in their application. In the beginning, ask a lot of questions, write notes after the match when they are fresh in your mind in reference to problems that may have occurred.

Make up a rating sheet and hand it out to the coaches prior to the start of the meet or tournament, and ask that they mail it back to you. It should indicate from their response areas that need improvement. I did this when I started and also use it for my new officials; it works great!

When not officiating watch veteran officials work, pay attention, write notes, and ask questions. As you become more aware of your responsibilities and duties, it is very important to become consistent with your calls.

Prior to the season start working out and get in shape. Wrestling officiating is a very physical sport to officiate. An official should be in top physical condition, especially when it comes to wrestling. There are many days when you officiate for 6 or 7 hours with very little relief. Being in shape will help avoid the fatigue factor and keep you sharp through out the day.

The best advice that I can give any official is: HUSTLE! HUSTLE! HUSTLE! Even when you make a mistake, if you're working hard and hustling, you will receive less grief from the coaches, wrestlers, and fans. If the coaches think you are just "going thru the motions," acting disinterested, you're asking for problems.

While officiating, it is very important to be in the proper position on the mat. During the match it is imperative that you officiate in a manner as not to hinder the movement of the participants. I have found that working on the outside perimeter works the best. For some reason, moving counter clockwise seems to work best. Most wrestlers tend to circle clockwise. I only enter inside the perimeter when necessary.

It is very important to stay focused throughout the contest. I try to anticipate the wrestlers' next moves. It allows me to be in position to make the tough call.

Communication is very important. I make it a point to constantly encourage wrestling by the participants. I instruct them to stay in the center and continue to be aggressive. If I make a stalling or illegal hold call, I always explain why.

I have always been a proponent of preventive officiating. With that, I mean if a coach starts to question a call and I can see he is going to the table, I will quickly explain the call before he gets to the score table and walk away. Of course, if he continues then my options are limited: either penalize by rule or change the call. Remember, if you are convinced that you blew a call, do not hesitate to change it!

In my 43 years of officiating I have never had one participant get injured because I was out of position, or didn't stop a potentially dangerous hold before it became illegal. Always protect the wrestlers. Be in position I have found that it is best to stay out in front of the action rather than the rear or side. You are able to see much more of what's going on.

Finally, get into a consistent routine. Always be on time, usually I hour before the meet starts. Conduct your pre-meet duties every time, meet with the coaches, scorers, timers and captains. Respect will be earned, even before the match starts.

Officiating can be fun if you always work hard to improve your skills. Just like the wrestlers, you, too, must DRILL, DRILL, DRILL to be the best that you can be on the mats.

(Editor's Note: Ron Collins was selected by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) as the 1993 Montana State Wrestling Official of the Year. Ron has officiated many national collegiate tournaments as well, since 1982, including numerous NAIA National Championships, four Junior College National Tournaments, and the Big Sky Conference twice. Collins was so highly respected at the national collegiate level, he was appointed the supervisor of the NAIA tournament officials from 1996 to 2005.)

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, a 30-second tiebreaker.

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.

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.

Min-Mat Quiz

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 Martin's Ferry's Zac Bowers. As a junior, the Purple Rider matman had an overall record of 35-7 at at the 152-pound weight class.

Bowers garnered first place finishes at the Buckeye Local Invitational and the gigantic Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Championships. He climaxed the season as a sectional champion. Zac plans to compete at the 160-pound weight class this wrestling season.

Congratulations are extended to Zac Bowers, this week's Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior.

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 dual meets feature-matches are Wellsburg at Weir (Wednesday: 6:00 PM) and Parkersburg South at Oak Glen (Saturday: 1:00 PM).

Deaton picks Wellsville over Weir 3-17 and Oak Glen over Parkersburg South 31-22.

Regis calls Weir the victor over Wellsville 20-19 and Parkersburg South over Oak Glen 30-27.

Book Notes
The Wrestling Drill Book edited and authored by Bill Welker would be a great Christmas gift for your favorite wrestler! To purchase an autographed copy of The Wrestling Drill Book, just send a check or money order for $20.00 (shipping and handling is included) made payable to:

Bill Welker
110 North Huron Street
Wheeling, West Virginia 26003

Don't forget to send your return address and any personal note you want Bill Welker to write with his autograph. He will accept book requests until Tuesday, December 20, for The Wrestling Drill Book to arrive in your hands before Christmas!

Mat Message
"To get the best out of a man, go to what is best in him."
- Daniel Considine

(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)
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