West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

The Slam - An Official's Nightmare!

Recently, I was informed by an official of another horror story regarding the slam. It seems that a wrestler was ordered to stay down by his coach after being slammed. Furthermore, I was told that the boy's parent even offered him money to stay down. So, he did.

Thus, he won, but what a shallow victory.

There are some coaches today that believe it is all right to tell their wrestler to stay down and win the match, having been slammed. Their reasoning is quite simple; the other wrestler committed an illegal act so it's okay to take the win. Such rationalization damages the integrity of our sport.

It may be quite simple to them, but to me, it is quite unethical. What are these coaches (many who are educators) teaching their athletes. That it's okay to cheat? That winning isn't everything but the only thing? I say shame on any mentor who lives by this doctrine.

I am not talking from a high horse. As a coach, I was confronted with a slam situation that occurred to my wrestler during a semi-final match in the gigantic and prestigious Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament. Allow me to share with you the particulars.

My 112-pounder was losing 6-1 with 30 seconds left in the third period of his semi-final match. At that moment, his opponent smashed him to the mat head first. The official immediately indicated an illegal slam. I knew my 112-pounder (a tough cookie) was not hurt badly, but it would mean a free ride to the OVAC finals.

As I walked toward him, many thoughts - both good and bad - were going through my mind. But when I got to him, I told him to stand up and to attempt a standing pancake (Lateral Drop) in the remaining seconds of the match. On the whistle, he Lateral Dropped his adversary, scoring a takedown and three near-fall points to win the match 7-6. But more importantly, he learned from me that ethics are of much greater value than winning in sports and life.

Bobby Douglas, world-class mat mentor from Iowa State, had a similar occurrence at the NCAA Division I finals a couple of years ago. His young heavyweight was slammed by the tournament's top seed in that weight class. Unlike my situation, Coach Douglas's wrestler was hurt badly.

However, Bobby knew that the offender did not mean to harm his boy. He also knew that this competitor was by far the best wrestler in the weight class. So what did Coach Douglas do? He informed the official to start and then stop the match quickly so the superior wrestler could continue his trek to a national championship, which he ultimately accomplished. Bobby's wrestler's injury was severe enough that he could not continue in the competition.

Now that's a class act. Coach Douglas, even in the extreme heat of the national championships, placed ethics above winning. That's why Coach Bobby Douglas is respected by all who have had the privilege of wrestling for him.

In sum, any coach who places winning above ethics has lost all perspective of what athletics are suppose to teach our adolescents - good sportsmanship. Shame on those coaches who think taking a "dive" is just good strategy. It will come back to haunt them ten-fold.

As Shakespeare wrote, "The evil that men do lives after them . . ."

Technical Violations
(Part Two)

The are seven technical violations in wrestling. Today we will discuss the last four technical violations. All but one technical violation (Incorrect Starting Position or False Starts) are penalized via the progressive penalty chart in the following manner:
" First Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Second Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Third Offense: Two Match points for the opponent
" Fourth Offense: Disqualification

Let's now take a look at the last four technical violations: Interlocking or Overlapping Hands, Figure Four Head Scissors in the Neutral Position, Reporting to the Mat Not Ready to Wrestle, and the Incorrect Starting Position or False Start.

Interlocking or Overlapping Hands
The top or offensive wrestler can only lock hands around his opponent's body or both legs when he is scoring near-fall points, or his opponent stands up with all his weight on his feet. Now should the defensive or bottom man score points while the top man commits this technical violation, he would receive all the points he scored plus a penalty point(s) for the violation.

Note, the official can only stop the match if he feels the bottom man can not score escape or reversal points due to the interlocking or overlapping hands technical violation.

Figure Four Head Scissors in the Neutral Position
The figure four head scissors is a technical violation in the neutral position when applied to stop his opponent from scoring a takedown. The referee-protocol for this infraction would be the same as the interlocking or overlapping hands technical violation.

Reporting to the Mat Not Ready to Wrestle
A wrestler must be properly attired and ready to wrestle when call to the mat by the official, or he will be penalized with a technical violation. He also loses one of his two time-outs. If he can not rectify the problem regarding his attire within the one minute and thirty required or his opponent wins by default.

Incorrect Starting Position or False Start
It is a technical violation for a wrestler to assume an incorrect starting position in the neutral or referee's position. The also includes false starts in both positions. Note, unlike the other six technical violations, the first two incidents in this category are merely cautioned (the referee forms a "C" with his hand). The penalty is enforced on the third incident. Furthermore, this is the only technical violation that is not included in the progressive penalty. One penalty point is always awarded for this technical violation, no matter how often it occurs in a match.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: At the start of the match with no score, Wrestler A applies a figure four head scissors to stop Wrestler B from taking him down. Wrestler B does score the takedown. How many points will Wrestler B be awarded?
A: Wrestler B would earn three match points - two for the takedown and one for the technical violation.

The Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior
Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Wheeling Central's Dirk Bauer, who wrestles at the 103-pound weight class. A freshman, Dirk presently has a 24-9 record. This Maroon Knight grappler placed 6th at OVACs, 4th at theWest Jefferson Holiday Classic, 3rd at the St. Johns Invitational, 5th at the West Mifflin Classic, and had a 5-0 record at the Bellaire Duals.

Dirk Bauer is an up and coming wrestler who should raise some eyebrows at the West Virginia State Championships.

Congratulations are extended to Dirk Bauer - this week's OVAC Wrestling Warrior.

Mat Notes
Many kudos to SHERRY BENDER, the athletic director at Wheeling Middle School, for directing a first-class PAC-7 Wrestling Tournament. It was the best organized PAC-7 competition I have witnessed in over 20 years. Congratulations, Sherry, for a job well done!

Mat Message
"The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk."
-- Jacqueline Schiff

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

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Updated March 25, 1999