We are a sports family 12 months a year and I can count on one hand how many weeks we have “off” throughout the year. While many of our football and baseball families take the winter off for hobby activities, like skiing, my family goes into fifth gear for wrestling season- which is important, because every athlete should wrestle.
Wrestling is the oldest and most basic form of combat, which may seem a little extreme to advocate to your kids, but it truly promotes concepts and strengthens life skills unlike any other sport. My husband was a wrestler and although I was adamantly against watching another person slam my son’s face into a mat, I’ve come to love the sport and everything it teaches.
Here are 10 Reasons Why Every Athlete Should Wrestle
- Wrestling helps to develops basic athletic skills. It requires strength, stamina, flexibility, and body control. Various muscle groups are used during each match leading to total body strength.
- Wrestling builds self confidence. As a wrestler, there is no team to lean on or hide behind, each match is between two opponents. When wrestlers are in a stressful or risky position on the mat and able to fight through it, their confidence builds. Whether wrestlers are practicing or live wrestling, they are facing adversity. Overcoming that adversity- even in the smallest amount- instantly builds their self-confidence and can often be an outlet to relieve stress.
- Wrestling teaches work ethic. The hardest workers are usually in the wrestling room and that’s because when you are on that mat, it IS hard work. Barring an injury or the ref stopping the match to reset position, a wrestler is moving nonstop for the duration of the round with only a few moments of breathing room between rounds. It teaches that things don’t come easy and you have to work for them!
- Wrestlers gain the “win or learn” mentality. With the exception of Cael Sanderson, wrestlers are highly unlikely to win every match. They will get caught in a reckless position or their opponent will throw a flawless move that places them in a bad position, however with every loss is a learning opportunity. Wrestlers are taught to forgive their mistakes, learn from them, and move on.
- Wrestlers learn nothing is guaranteed. Wrestlers can win a championship one day and lose every single match the following day. Each accomplishment has no barring on the success or failure of your next endeavor.
- Wrestling teaches unity and camaraderie. The unity of a wrestling team is unlike that of any other sports team. Your teammates will be there cheering you on during your match and helping you in practice where you lack. There is no better way to earn and give respect for your teammates, than having a challenging match and acknowledging the effort and toughness of your teammate.
- Wrestling requires dedication and repetition. The various moves and techniques are practiced over and over again leading to mastery.
- Wrestling sets an even playing field for size. Size doesn’t matter with wrestling. Wrestlers are matched by size and weight versus age and becoming a good wrestler is complete unrelated to a wrestler’s size.
- Wrestling increases mental toughness. When you step onto the mat, it is you and an opponent. Each round can be tiring and will require the wrestler to push through. Wrestlers must be mentally prepared to push themselves beyond their comfort zone.
- Wrestling teaches you to find comfort in being uncomfortable. Many of the positions wrestler fall into on the mat are uncomfortable, freaking out will rarely help the situation and their position, therefore learning to become comfortable in uncomfortable positions is the best chance of getting out of that situation.
The reward of wrestling is unlike any other, when you’re watching your wrestler get their arm raised in the center of the mat. Beyond teaching physical and mental toughness, wrestling teaches skills that can be applied throughout a wrestler’s life. Whether your athlete plays soccer or football, baseball or lacrosse, I highly encourage you to get them exposed to the sport of wrestling, even if only for one season.