West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Practice Innovations

For a uniques change of pace during practice, why not try "blindfold wrestling?"

I was first introduced to blindfold wrestling as a small-fry wrestler. It was an experience that taught me one very important fact. That is, you do not need to use your eyes that much during a wrestling match. Actually, proper body positioning in the mat sport is really a matter of feel (sensing where you are or should be), and not a by-product of sight. Furthermore, the ability to assume the correct body position comes with experience. And occasionally practicing blindfold wrestling will assist your wrestlers in acquiring such "mat sense."

Now here are a few basic rules to follow when utilizing this workout technique:
1. You may blindfold one or both wrestlers. In either case, you should have fewer wrestlers on the mat, with those who are not competing spotting at the end of the mat.
2. To start in the neutral or standing position, the two opponents should be touching each others fingertips. (Note: There is no variation for starting in the referee's position.)
3. Immediately following the blindfold wrestling practice, ask your matmen to give you their impressions of the workout. Believe me, it will be a learning experience for everyone involved.

To make one final point, a young wrestler of mine had this to say about blindfold wrestling--"Coach, I found myself reacting to my opponent's movements rather than thinking about what I should do." Certainly, this is a characteristic we see in all great wrestlers. So, why not try blindfold wrestling? It makes sense or should I say--"Mat Sense!"

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Updated November 6, 1998