West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Picking the Outstanding Wrestler

Will the true "Outstanding Wrestler" stand up or E-nee... Me-nee...Mi-nee...Moe?

Today, just about every wrestling tournament selects an outstanding matman from those who are crowned champions. However, few tournament directors have ever set up concrete guidelines for choosing the "best of the best." Usually, the coaches are asked to select the most valuable wrestler during the finals of the competition.

This procedure presents two problems. First of all, most coaches are so concerned about their own team members, during the course of the tournament, that they don't really have enough time to evaluate superior wrestlers from other squads. And secondly, subtle biases often come into play. For example, a coach may vote for a less worthy wrestler because of his personal dislike for the most deserving grappler, or the wrestler's mentor.

I believe that if a tournament director is sincerely concerned about picking the top wrestler of the competition, he should select an unbiased "search committee" of three to five individuals who are well-versed in the mat sport. Their duty would be to watch the entire tournament, evaluating the superior wrestlers. The following are five possible criteria that could be utilized during the selection process, with a rating scale of 1 (very high) to 5 (very low):

Of course, the above suggestions are not error-free. Afterall, we are dealing with human evaluators. Still, this technique is far more objective than some of the "guessing games" we have played in the past. Don't you agree?

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Updated October 15, 1998