West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

. . . on Shaking Hands - A Dilemma in Wrestling: Revisited

Yes, it's true; shaking hands with the opposing coach at the end of an individual match has become a serious matter. So, what's the problem? Allow me to explain.

There have been occasional incidents where wrestlers have approached opposing coaches and while shaking hands, they taunted the coaches with "in your face" remarks in regards to beating their wrestlers. Certainly, this is very unsportsmanlike behavior which, if observed by the match official, could result in a flagrant misconduct penalty.

On the flip side, at times coaches are busy explaining to their wrestlers the mistakes they made, and do not want to be bothered shaking the winner's hand. Often they tell such wrestlers to leave them alone, giving those in attendance the impression that they are being unsportsmanlike.

Due to such problems, the powers to be at the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (myself included) highly recommend that wrestlers do not approach the opposing coach's corner at the conclusion of a match. Keep in mind; it is a recommendation, not a mandate.

Wrestling is an ultra-demanding sport, both physically and emotionally. When emotions are high due to a "hotly-contested" match, it is best to separate both parties as quickly as possible. Walking to an opponent's corner (after winning a very close match) to shake hands, can easily cause post-match problems. This situation would not occur with the proper post-match procedure of each wrestler shaking hands. That is all that is required by the rules.

So, where did this "shaking-the-coach's-hand" procedure originate? Believe it or not, this practice started at the youth level years ago. I find this ironic, for acts of unsportsmanship are rampant at this level. Allow me to explain.

I officiated scholastic wrestling for 27 years. During those years I have witness and heard about many small-fry "horror stories" on the mats, including little kids trying to make weight wearing trash bags. The problem is 3-fold:

1. Clueless Coaches - I can't begin to list the times I saw youth league coaches vehemently arguing with the officials (myself included) about straight-forward rulebook calls. Bottom line: They don't know the rules, nor take the time to truly learn them.

2. Father-Coaches - Too many men play the role of coaches only because their off-spring is participating. Most are never seen again on the pee-wee mats when their child moves up. Furthermore, you could always tell a father-coach when his son/daughter lost a close match. The majority of them would take the loss out on the official (myself included).

3. No governing body - There are far more sportsmanship problems at youth competitions because there is no governing body, such as of the WVSSAC (WV), PIAA (PA), OHSAA (Ohio), or the NCAA. The only governing bodies, at the majority of small-fry tournaments, are the tournament directors.
Unfortunately, many youth tourney directors are buddies with many of their pee-wee coaches, and to keep peace, side with them, regarding the officials' close calls. Let me cite one regional extreme example of some years ago.

A youth league coach lost it when one of his wrestlers lost a tough match. The coach went "ballistic" on the official, actually bumping him into the score table. Of course, the official expelled him from the tournament for a flagrant misconduct.

Well, it didn't end there. The coach went to the tournament director, who was a friend of his. Instead of the coach being asked to leave, the tournament director relieved the official of his duties for the rest of the tournament. If I would have been present, the rest of the officials would have left as well.

Please don't misunderstand me. There are many outstanding youth league coaches out there. They are the ones coaching small-fry wrestlers before, during, and after their sons/daughters wrestled. They are the ones teaching solid fundamentals, not exotic moves that don't work against strong competition. They are the ones who put learning far above winning. They are the ones who spent the time to learn the rules thoroughly, so they could explain to the parents why the official made the call -- the correct call in unique situations. In essence, they are the ones who teach "good sportsmanship," having the proper perspective for coaching wrestling at the youth level.

But isn't it ironic that the sportsmanship act of shaking the hand of an opponent's coach started at the youth level. I find it to be an oxymoron.

In my opinion (based on 50 years of experience), if a wrestler sincerely wants to shake hands with an opponent's coach, he should wait until later, after everyone has calmed down and has regained their composure. I think a good time would be at the completion of the event, be it a dual meet or tournament.

Team Scoring and Tiebreakers in Dual Meets
The chart for team and match scoring at dual meets is as follows:

Team Scoring
3 points: Decision (1-7 point spread)
4 points: Major Decision (8-14 point spread)
5 points: Technical Fall (15 or more point spread)
6 points: Fall, Forfeit, default, or disqualification
Remember, this is team scoring for dual meets, not tournaments. We will discuss tournament team scoring next week.

In dual meet competition, if the team score concludes in a draw or tie, the winning team would be determined by the following criteria:

1) The team that has received the fewest points for flagrant misconduct or unsportsmanlike conduct shall be declared the winner.
2) The team that has won the greater number of matches (including forfeits) shall be declared the winner.
3) The team that has accumulated the greatest number of points from falls, defaults, forfeits, or disqualifications shall be declared the winner.
4) The team that has earned the greater number of points from technical falls shall be declared the winner.
5) The team that has earned the greater number of points from major decisions shall be declared the winner.
6) The team having the greater number of total match points of first points scored shall be declared the winner.
7) The team securing the greater number of near-fall points will be declared the winner.
8) The team securing the greater number of takedown points will be declared the winner.
9) The team having the greater number of reversals will be declared the winner.
10) The team having the greater number of escapes will be declared the winner.
11) The team whose opponent has been penalized more often for stalling will be declared the winner.
12) The team whose opponent has been warned more often for stalling shall be declared the winner.
13) The team whose opponent has the greater number of penalty points for all other infractions shall be declared the winner.
14) If none of the above resolves the tie, a flip of the referee's disk will determine the winner.

Upon determining the winning team, a single team point will be added to the winning team's score.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler A won his match 17-2. How many points would he score for his team and what type of win would this be?
A: He would score 5 points for his team with a technical fall.

OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior
The Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Oak Glen's Zack Six, who holds an overall record on the mats of 69wins and 18 losses. His past accomplishments include a 5th place finish in the OVACs last year and an 8th OVAC placewinner as a freshman. He also is a three-time placewinner at the West Virginia State Tournament, including a runner-up finish at 145 pounds in 2007. Zack Six was a regional champion as a freshman in 2005 and as a junior in 2007 at 145 pounds. As a senior this year, Zack will be competing at the 160-pound weight class. Congratulations are extended to Zack Six - this week's OVAC Wrestling Warrior.

The OVAC Wrestling fan of the Week is RUSSELL FLANIGAN, an Oak Glen booster for many, many years.

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 a Tri: Weir and Magnolia at Monroe Central on Wednesday and East Liverpool at Waterloo on Saturday

Deaton picks Monroe Central over Weir and Magnolia. East Liverpool will out distance Waterloo 32-21. Regis calls Weir to win the Tri, with Waterloo nipping East Liverpool 33-28.

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 $25.00 (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 December 20, for The Wrestling Drill Book to arrive in your hands before Christmas!

Mat Message
"Sometimes our wish for our children is asking them to do what we want, but not what they want to accomplish in life."
-- W.A.W.

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