West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Pressure and the Smallfry Wrestler

Just as "too much pressure" will burst a balloon, it can also rupture the ego of a child. We all know that Little League or pee-wee sports can be very beneficial for youngsters. However, when too much emphasis is placed on winning, these programs begin to lose their virtuous qualities.

Of course, my concern is how such maligant attitudes will effect the growth of wrestling in our state. And here are some signs to what I call the "smallfry pressure syndrome."

If you are showing signs of similar symptoms, it is time for serious self-evaluation treatment regarding the effects these actions have on your child. Fortunately, there are numerous mat enthusiasts who have not lost sight of the letter and spirit of pee-wee athletics. To these individuals, I have nothing but praise and approbations.

In my 40 years of wrestling experience, I've witnessed too many little wrestlers burn themselves out (because of being pushed to the limit) before having even reached the seventh grade. Is such undue pressure worth it?

Now ask yourself one final question--"How many great men or women have ever been remembered and venerated for their accomplishments at the age of 10, 11, or 12?

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Updated July 4, 1997