You’ve looked up coaches, singlet prices, helmets, maybe even a mat for wrestling, now that your child wants to become a young athlete. However, guides on how to be a top-notch wrestling parent are nowhere to be found, so make sure to check it out here.
How to start doing it
It’s actually really easy to get your kid into wrestling, as it is one of the more cost-efficient sports out there. All you really need is a uniform, shoes, and headgear, coupled with the joining fee most clubs require for the sign-up process.
If your young wrestlers will feel good enough to want to join a tournament, know that most of them charge an entrance fee in the $15 price range. Most important though, before anything else, make sure you find a good coach that can guide your child through wrestling’s ups and downs as a beginner.
Contrary to popular belief, coaches don’t wear singlets during practice and don’t have a mad pleasure of throwing people around. Instead, they will be essential in instilling the sport’s values into your child from the get-go. Wrestling promotes self-discipline, hard work, and respect for your teammates and opponents.
What should you know about your child’s safety
Another chunk of folk wisdom promotes wrestling as an unsafe sport, where your child can get hurt pretty quickly. Now, like all physical activities, there are of course some risks involved, but nothing that should stop you from considering it as the next sport for him. Wrestling has more injuries than for example tennis or swimming but minor by comparison to basketball or hockey.
Rest assured that young athletes are never asked to compete if they are hurt or not feeling well, and that illegal moves and potentially dangerous situations are strictly prohibited and punished. That being said, you’ll always have the occasional twisted ankle or mat burn, but it is way better to have your child adapt to it rather than always be fearful of physical strain.
Finally, you should always remember that amateur wrestling is a lot different than professional wrestling. Companies like WWE aim to entertain their consumer base, so their array of flashy, dazzling, over the top rope moves is not really a part of what your child will be learning.
How can you be mentally supportive?
Although it is good to emphasize winning, don’t forget that the mental side of wrestling requires just as much preparation as the physical one. Because of the “quid pro quo” relationship between practice time and the number of pins that you get, many children may feel depressed when they are losing.
Parents should also exercise careful observation of their young athlete when it comes to making weight. Since opponents need to be in the same weight class, wrestlers might feel compelled to do things like taking laxatives, using tracksuits to sweat more or skipping meals entirely.
When combined, these can have a negative effect on your child’s mental state so you should maintain a close relationship with him to be able to observe when something like this is happening. Rest assured that the sport does not promote this kind of behavior, as coaches try to teach the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle, not just before the weigh-ins.
Contrary to popular belief, successful amateur wrestlers have no guarantees that they will make it into professional wrestling, a ton of examples being available to support this theory. If your child gets serious about the sport, you should make sure you are preparing him for any possible outcome once his high school and college days are over.
Things that you can’t forget
Being a wrestling parent is not easy, especially with the kind of pressure and scrutiny that even young athletes have to go through because of social media. Since every parent wants nothing more than to help their child, sometimes it might be hard for you to see the difference between coaching and parenting.
For many parents, winning or losing is the only barometer for success that they can apply to their child. Instead of doing this, try being supportive by asking, after every match, this kind of questions.
Did you have fun? – Remember that while it is important to win, it should never stop being fun. In fact, studies show that 75 percent of young people drop out of whatever sports they are doing by the age of 13 because they are no longer having fun.
What did you learn? – Every experience can provide a lesson, be it a win or a loss. Especially for younger people, coming to terms with losing is often hard and wrestling can thus be a humbling experience. Make sure to stand by your child’s side and make him understand that no lesson ever learned can be categorized as a failure.
Furthermore, don’t forget to trust the process. When starting out in wrestling, the most important thing is getting up to date on your fundamentals. There are tons of future champions or All-American wrestlers who did not win a match their first year due to the skill curve. Trust your child, trust your coaches, and don’t be that parent who puts pressure after every loss.
Expected outcomes from a child’s wrestling career
Because wrestling offers no free entitlement to its practitioners, you should expect your child to grow up self-reliant and comfortable within his own skin. Having nobody to blame for his on-the-mat failures other than himself will nurture very responsible young adults, who can be relied upon.
Careers can be fruitful and long or not very successful and short. There is really no exact way to predict how long your young wrestler’s career will last, so make sure to enjoy every moment of it. Because of the individuality of the sport, all the more of an impact you will make on your son/your daughter’s development, so make sure you are also mentally prepared for it.
At the end of the day, there really is no exact recipe on how to be a perfect wrestling parent. Love your child no matter what, acknowledge him through the up and cheer him up through the downs. Focus on the execution, not the results, and always face him with a positive attitude.