Weight Management: A Must for our Wrestlers, Part 1
To this day, I am constantly thinking of food, my eating habits are atrocious, and I am eternally obsessed with thoughts of being overweight. Why... my very excessive dieting as a competitive wrestler. This archaic "I must cut lots of weight if I want to win" assumption in the mat sport must stop!
Since the untimely deaths of the three collegiate matmen in 1997, many other wrestlers (including great champions) have come out of the closet and confessed their weight-reduction "horror stories."
The WVSSAC & OHSAA Sports Medicine Committees have been pleading for years that we develop more stringent guidelines regarding weight loss in wrestling. After having attended the NFHS Weight Management seminar in October, I must now wholeheartedly endorse and support their efforts.
The NCAA and many states (Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Iowa, etc.) have already initiated extensive weight monitoring programs with much success. Their matmen are beginning to view wrestling as a "practice to produce" (not "starve to star") sport. These collegiate and scholastic weight-control programs include the following formats:
b. Urinalysis Testing to determine if a wrestler is in a state of dehydration.
b. Weigh-in procedures that prohibit a wrestler from regaining body weight quickly, harming himself and often gaining an unfair weight-advantage over his opponent.
c. Requiring matmen to wrestle most of the season's matches at their certified minimum weights. This approach also helps to allay rapid cutting and regaining of weight.
Education is another a important factor in these innovative weight-management programs. Coaches and wrestlers in some states are mandated to attend classes on proper dieting and food intake as well as eating disorders. Point being: If we don't reshape their "attitudes" regarding weight reduction, we won't see a change in unhealthy, weight-loss habits.
The WVSSAC & OHSAA Sports Medicine Committees aggressively subscribe to many of the aforementioned practices. These individuals have also devoted much time investigating the problem of weight "mismanagement." They have some very promising possibilities to share with us. I think it's time we in the wrestling community started listening to them -- for the physical well-being of our matmen and the betterment of our sport.
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one
can go "
-- T. S. Eliot