A Wrestling Parents Survival Guide

The Do’s and And Don’ts

Don’t impose your ambitions or expectations on your child. Remember that wrestling is your child’s activity. Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each individual.

Don’t judge your child’s progress based on the performance of other athletes and don’t push them based on what you think they should be doing. Be supportive no matter what. There is only one question to ask your child, “Did you have fun?” If meets and practices are not fun you should not force them to participate.

Don’t coach your child. Your job is to support, love and hug your child no matter what. Conflicting advice and criticism work against the coach’s efforts and only serve to confuse and demotivate your child. If you feel you have the experience and ability to contribute to the team as a coach, volunteer your services through the proper channels.

Do get involved. Your club needs your help and support. Attend parent and club meetings to find out how you can help. And most importantly, show your child that you care by attending as many meets and tournaments as possible.

Do acknowledge your child’s fears. Their opponents appear to be much more intimidating through their eyes than through the eyes of a grown-up. Consider their perspective and don’t expect them to compete with the confidence and mental toughness of a seasoned expert.

Don’t criticize the officials. Unless you have been there, you have no idea how challenging officiating can be. Expect that in some matches your child could lose as a result of an error on the part of an official or score keeper. That’s life. Help your child to understand that the official does their best to score the match fairly, and that it is important that we respect the ruling of the officials regardless of how we feel about the situation.

Now For The Fun Stuff

Number 1: Don’t laugh the first time you see your son/daughter in a singlet!

Number 2: Don’t make plans from February 1 through April 15. You will either be – at a match, at a tournament, driving someone somewhere, washing smelly, sweat-soaked clothes or selling something!

Number 3: Bring lots of snacks and water! Not only for yourself, but no matter how many times you reminded your wrestler to bring his/her own snacks and water for after school – he/she will forget and search you out in the stands – hungrier than a hibernating grizzly that just woke up!! Wrestlers are known for being hungry, all the time, a few wrestlers can devour a package of cookies in nanoseconds. On second thought, you better hide your own snacks!

Number 4: Don’t ask me why a fungus is called a “worm” but stock up on Tinactin – and make sure your wrestler realizes that jumping in a pool does not count as a shower. Don’t be upset when you see the ringworm, all wrestlers get it at one time or another, despite the scouring and sanitizing of the mats. It’s just a fact of wrestling…

Number 5: When you are out in public with your son/daughter, whose face is covered with bruises and or mat burn, don’t bother trying to explain to strangers that you didn’t put them there.

Number 6: I’m not sure who is in charge of weigh-ins, but your wrestler will always have to wrestle someone who is a foot talker and about 15 pounds heavier – growls – and has facial hair. It’s a fact!

Number 7: If your son/daughter is in a headlock, his/her face is turning purple and he/she is mouthing the words, “I can’t breathe”, don’t run out on the mat…the referee will notice eventually.

Number 8: Sit with other wrestling parents – it helps to join hands when you want to run on the mat for an injury….or to attack an official…they will hold you back!

Number 9: There are a lot of ways wrestlers score points, but even after 20 years, I still don’t understand how a wrestler get’s called for stalling when he is losing.

Number 10: Bring a stadium seat for the bleachers! Or avoid bleacher butt by keeping one pillow in the wrestling bag for every butt that’s going to be in those bleachers for the meet. Grandparents especially appreciate your thoughtfulness on behalf of their tails!

Number 11: Put your wrestlers name on all of their wrestling equipment. There’s so much floating around, don’t risk losing it. Shoes and headgear are found beneath the bleachers all the time. And the reply to coach’s – “Whose is this?” Is always, “Not mine!”

Number 12: Remember – the majority of wrestling coaches are screamers – don’t take the coach’s screaming and jumping around personally, on behalf of your wrestler – your kid is used to the screaming from practice, anyway, and probably has him tuned out anyway!

Number 13: Keep a pair of nail clippers in your wrestling bag. Wrestling referees have a “thing” about wrestlers with long fingernails!!

Number 14: Don’t bother the coaches during a match (as mentioned above, they’re a little high strung!) When they come to you after the match, it’s not to talk about your wrestler, but to ask you for aspirin and/or Rolaids.

Number 15: Tournaments – be prepared – they run from sunup to sundown! Don’t expect to see the light of day! Bring a cushion to sit on, a book to read, a picnic lunch, a cooler and a crock pot of stew! Oh yes – and a lawn chair in order to sit out in the hallway when the gym becomes a sauna of hot, sweaty, and smelly wrestlers.

Number 16: Finally, as a parent, you will never understand how your gentle, sweet child, could possibly love to wrestle…to be stretched and twisted in ways nature never intended…but he/she does! So be happy when he/she wins, supportive when he/she loses, and always have your camera/camcorder batteries charged!

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