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Differences between mens and womens wrestling

As a fan, coach and competitor myself, I enjoy any form of wrestling. That being said, there are some noticeable differences between mens and womens wrestling. These can range from differences in the actual sport to resources received, and it is worthwhile to examine how each of them impacts the sport as a whole.

Firstly, at the collegiate level, womens wrestling is a completely different style of wrestling. Women in college wrestle freestyle, whereas men in college wrestle folkstyle. For those who aren’t aware, freestyle wrestling is what is done at the olympics and world championships. Folkstyle is only done here is america. Think of it as the metric system vs. U.S. system of measurement. The differences lie in a few but very important rule changes. Freestyle only allows you 10 seconds to turn someone and if you don’t get a turn then you are put back up on your feet, but you are allowed to lock your hands. There are also points scored for any time someone’s back is exposed to the mat, and throws are given a larger score. These differences change what techniques are taught. 

The next big difference is a biological one. Women in general are much more flexible than men. As a man used to watching other men wrestle I often get very nervous that someone will get hurt when watching women wrestle, only to realize that women are much more flexible and it’s not a concern. These differences can change what techniques are effective and force a lot of small changes in some techniques.

Lastly, as a new sport womens wrestling doesn’t always get adequate resources. At the women’s meet this week the refs were very bad. These refs are normally used for youth tournaments. While this may seem like a small concern, poor refs can lead to serious injuries. The athletes aren’t given a lot of the same training and education on things like weight cutting and diet that we are. These important things being missed can worsen an athlete’s health.


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