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Etiquette Tips for Wrestling Competitions

Posted by Jeffrey Pape on

As a wrestler, you know that your sport is based on respect and consideration of others. You might have the perfect combat speed 4 wrestling shoes and the best Cliff Keen wrestling headgear, but if you don’t understand the unwritten and often unspoken requirements during competition, you’re starting with a disadvantage. Here are some tips to keep in mind to make sure your sportsmanship is up to par at your next match.

The Handshake

There are several times when shaking hands is either required or appropriate in the sport of wrestling. It will benefit you to be aware of them all. First, consider the referee and other officials. Both before and after your match, you’ll need to shake hands with the ref. For larger competitions, be sure to also shake hands with the judge and with the mat chairman after your match ends. And don’t forget about the coach of the opposing team.

The above handshakes are required for both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, and they’re only optional for folkstyle. But as a general rule, you can’t go wrong by showing respect to all officials and coaches with a handshake, so it’s a great idea to do it anyway even if you’re in a freestyle competition.

One handshake that is always necessary is that of your opponent. This one may be the most difficult to complete respectfully, but it’s very important for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, out of respect to your sport you want to be respectful of your opponent, regardless of any personal feelings you may have toward him. But also, realize that if you show any unsportsmanlike behavior toward your opponent, the ref might penalize you and/or your team.

There’s a Right Way to Shake Hands

The point of the handshake, as we’ve mentioned, is respect. So just thrusting your hand at your opponent will not do. Make sure that you convey humility and professionalism. Be sincere. On the other side of the spectrum, if you know and are friendly with your opponent, keep your attitude formal and calm – no high fives allowed.

Treat Your Equipment Appropriately

First, make sure you actually have all of the necessary gear. Consider Nike Inflict wrestling shoes or Jake Varner wrestling shoes for footwear, and have the proper singlet and wrestling headgear that your coach recommends. Keep everything clean and in order – don’t show up to your match with a stained or torn singlet. After your turn at the mat, step completely off before removing the straps to your singlet, as doing so before you leave the mat is a sign of disrespect and could result in disciplinary action against you and your team.

Be Considerate of Others’ View

Avoid crossing in front of the scoring table by the mat. You do not want to block the view of the people who are trying to keep score and time. You can cause them to miss a ref’s call if you obstruct their view. Similarly, be mindful of the rest of the spectators when watching a teammate compete. Of course you want to be close to support your teammates, but do so from a distance to respect the rest of the audience, who is also very interested and invested in watching the match. If you are permitted to be close to the mat, sit on the floor a few feet away so that people can see over you.

Follow the Directions of Officials

Always follow your coach’s instructions, and be sure to treat the ref’s commands with utmost respect. If you don’t follow the referee’s orders, you are certain to be called out for your unsportsmanlike conduct. When the ref directs you to the center of the mat after stepping out of bounds, get there immediately.

By following these simple directives, you’ll show your team, officials, and spectators that you embody the values of your sport, and you’ll know that you’re putting your all into your match, even off the mat.