West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on the Official and Stalling

Question: What do holding in football, the balk in baseball, and stalling in wrestling have in common?

Answer: They all involve judgment calls which are subject to the individual official's interpretation.

This is why, my friends, no two wrestling referees will ever call "stalling" exactly alike. Moreover, all of the best instruction from the same local or state rules interpreter will never change this fact of life, as long as more than one person is connected with officiating the mat sport.

If I heard it once from coaches, I've heard it a 1000 times over the last decade. "When are you "refs" going to be 'consistent' on stalling calls?" The answer to this question is "Never!" The best any coach, wrestler, or mat enthusiast can ever hope for is consistency by each individual official. For example, area coaches know that their matmen would have to wrestle differently if they were on John Snively's mat as compared to Bill Welker's. Whereas Snively indicates stalling in a liberal fashion, Welker signals stalling in a more conservative manner.

John and I have the utmost respect for each other's officiating abilities. We just view stalling in a different light, and never the two will meet. As I said before, it all involves personal perception. At the very least, the coaches know what to expect with John and me.

Now it would be inconsistent if I began signalling stalling like John Snively or vice versa. Then the coaches would have a legitimate gripe because we would be deviating from our personal stalling philosophies.

In sum, coaches want their officials to demonstrate equity during matches. So, no matter how a referee indicates stalling, the important point is: "He calls stalling the same for both wrestlers on the mat." And that's all any coach, participant, or mat enthusiast can expect from an individual official, because no two "refs" will ever be exactly alike.

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Updated August 24, 1997