In the United States, the phrase 'wrestling' is often considered interchangeable between two concepts. The first is 'pro wrestling', which is a highly stylized performance art based upon the adventures of various larger-than-life characters.
The second, and the one that this guide concerns, is 'Greco-Roman wrestling'.
Of the two, Greco-Roman wrestling is far more popular and serves as a competitive sport in primary schools and colleges around the country. As with any sport, it can be hard to figure out exactly where you should start learning - and, of course, not everyone is inherently talented at wrestling. That said, athletes looking to get involved with wrestling should know that these steps can help even the most average wrestler.
Eight Steps to Get Started in Wrestling
- Identify your reason for getting involved.
- Find an opportunity.
- Gauge your requirements.
- Find your style.
- Set a training regimen.
- Maintain your conditioning.
- Learn moves and maneuvers to suit your style.
The Eight Steps Explained
If you're looking to become a wrestler, first you should figure out what your rationale is for engaging yourself in the sport - this can be anything from simply wanting to get into better shape to wanting to compete at a higher level, possibly for fame or glory. Regardless of why you decide you're getting involved, you should then find an opportunity to use that passion and drive - whether it's joining a local gym with wrestling classes or going out for the school team.
Next, you should identify the requirements you'll be required to meet - if it's something like attending classes once or twice a week, you're probably getting off easy. The requirements for any sport that requires immense conditioning will be higher than those where you can just step onto a court and use natural talent - but more on that later.
There are various styles to Greco-Roman wrestling, some requiring more physical strength or more agility than others - styles that depend heavily on pins and submissions may require you to move faster and get around your opponent, while slam and flip styles require physical strength to lift your opponent into the air. Exact standards of physical fitness vary, but you'll need to establish a baseline level of health to proceed.
Once you know exactly what standards you'll need to meet to continue with wrestling, you should set a fitness regimen and stick to it rigidly. Common exercises for wrestlers involve agility and mobility training, as well as standard physical workouts like daily pushups and sit-ups - even something as simple as learning how to perfectly nail a somersault can pay off in spades when you're facing an opponent who wants to pin you to the ground.
One of the biggest follies that can affect athletes is the issue of conditioning - of maintaining your physical fitness for long enough that you're not only in shape but that your body is used to the level of exercise you're undergoing. This is vital in ensuring that muscles and joints are properly built, reducing the chance of tears and fractures when you're wrestling.
So, you're in great shape and you know exactly what style of wrestling you'd like to pursue - now, it's time to learn more specific techniques and moves. Throws are extremely common in wrestling, so you'd be well-advised to learn at least a few basic throws - but after that, you're mostly making the decision yourself whether you prefer fighting offensively or defensively, and there are hundreds of moves suited to each style.
This last step is the most fun, and it's what every other step was for - this is where you compete. Competition can be both a great way to test your skill against another wrestler and a method for gathering accolades - after all, Greco-Roman wrestling is an Olympic sport, and it's practiced the world over. That said, don't feel discouraged if you don't immediately secure a resounding win - as with any hobby, wrestling requires a good deal of training and dedication, so you may find yourself outmatched. The trick that truly separates a great athlete from a sub-par one is dedication and motivation - the drive to never give up. If you have that, you should have no trouble getting started in wrestling.