Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sportology 101

A very important reader requested that I explain the rules and scoring of Wrestling so that those of you that are not (yet) fans can fully appreciate my Wrestling Wreport. As always, I am more than happy to ablidge. With that I give you Sportology 101: NCAA Wrestling.

Wrestling is a unique sport in that it’s a completely individual competition but at the same time it’s a team sport. Now I know you are saying that’s impossible, it can’t be two things, but it really is. It’s you vs. your opponent – no excuses, no one to rely on but yourself. Your goal, first and foremost, is to beat the opponent in front of you, but secondary to that is the ability to help your team. You can loose and help your team AND you can win and hurt your team. Confused yet?

There are 10 weight classes and a dual meet is your 10 wrestlers vs. another team’s 10 wrestlers. The NCAA championship tournament differs because you must “qualify” your wrestlers in a divisional tournament (Big Ten’s in PSU’s case) and you are not guaranteed to get all or any wrestlers through.

Let’s start with a dual meet and break it down to a single match. Scoring is as follows:

Takedown = 2 points
A takedown occurs when the unlucky wrestler has one or more supporting points in bounds and one or both hands supporting weight down on the mat.

This is a takedown - Wrestler A has control and Wrestler B is supporting his weight with one of his hands.

This is NOT a takedown because while Wrestler B is down, Wrestler A does not have "control" because he does not have both legs. Once Wrestler A wraps his arm around the midsection or grabs the other leg, it's a takedown.

Escape = 1 point
Basically, an escape occurs when the wrestler under control gets to his feet, breaks control and is either facing his opponent or a good distance away so that the controlling wrestler could not bring him back down to the mat. An escape can be called even if there is still contact but there is no control.

Reversal = 2 points
A reversal occurs when the defensive wrestler comes from the bottom/defensive position and gains control of the opponent, either on the mat or in a rear-standing position. In other words, the guy that just had control lost it and is under control himself.

Near Fall
Near fall points also called "back points" are counted when a wrestler has his opponent’s shoulders held at an angle of 45 degrees or less to the mat for a given amount of time. If the wrestler is held for 2 seconds, 2 near fall points are awarded, if held for 5 seconds or more, 3 near fall points are awarded.

Close to Near Fall but not yet - the shoulders must be 45 deg or less

Riding Time Advantage
If a wrestler controls his wrestler for a time advantage equaling or exceeding 1 minute at the end of the match he receives 1 point. In other words, if Wrestler A rides Wrestler B for a total of 2:00 minutes and Wrestler B only rides Wrestler A for 1:00 minute, Wrestler A would receive 1 point at the end of the match.

Now those are the basics of scoring to a match. Basically you are trying to end up with more points than your opponent. All matches consist of three periods: 1 with both wrestlers neutral facing one another and 1 each with the choice to each wrestler. A wrestler can choose down, top, or neutral to start the period of his choice. In addition to the above scoring, a match can end under three other circumstances: Fall, and two types of Technical Fall. If a player’s wrestler’s shoulders are held to the mat for a two second count, a fall occurs. If a player wrestler exceeds an advantage of 15 points with near fall points the match ends on Technical fall with near fall and if a player wrestler exceeds an advantage of 15 points without near fall, the match ends on Technical fall without near fall. The difference is a Tech Fall with back points is worth more team points then a Tech Fall without.

Now to the team part of the equation, if a wrestler wins by an advantage of 8 points (but less than 15); it is considered a major decision. Here is a look at the team points a wrestler can score for his team by the method of winning.

Team Scoring
Fall = 6 team points
Tech Fall (with near fall) = 5 team points
Tech Fall (without near fall) = 4 team points
Major Decision (advantage of 8 points) = 4 team points
Decision = 3 team points

So in a dual meet it’s imperative that a wrestler does his best to score as many points as possible to get “bonus points” (points above the 3 points for a decision). There are also times when your wrestler is going to be outmatched; no team has 10 number 1 ranked wrestlers. When your wrestler is outmatched it’s essential that he only give up a decision and NOT “bonus points.” Starting to see how losing a close match can actually be a “victory” for your squad? Dual meets are completely different than tournaments because wrestlers know what the team score is and can start a match knowing what score they have to get to help the team.

Tournaments are more of a survivor game; the longer you go without a loss the more points you are going to get your team. Most tournaments are double elimination meaning a loss isn’t the end, but you put yourself behind the eight ball if you do. Here are the team points you get according to a wrestler's finish.

Example: if your Heavyweight finishes 2nd your team gets a total of 12 points for his finish. Like dual meets you can score bonus points for anything more than a decision. Here are the bonus points for the NCAA tournament.

In a tournament, points are awarded as soon as they are assured; that means if a Wrestler wins the quarterfinals his team gets 6 points because he is guaranteed a finish no worse than 6th place which is 6 points. If the same wrestler wins the semifinal the team gets another 6 points (for a total of 12) because the wrestler can finish no worse than 2nd. As you can see from the chart you get, in addition to the placement points, 1 point for each wrestler that advances in the championship bracket and a ½ point for each wrestler that advances in the wrestle backs, so it pays to stay alive as long as possible. You can also get bonus points for falls, majors, and Tech falls just like a dual meet but on a smaller scale. Team points are tallied at the end of each round so tournaments are exciting in that the lead and top 5 changes constantly depending on how a team does in that round. You could literally have a team drop from 1st out of the top 5 in one round if they have a disastrous round, only to bounce back in it when they start winning in the wrestle-backs in the next round.

It’s about as simple as that, got a headache yet? Now there are more complicated matters like disqualifications, injury defaults and such, but I kept those things out for simplicity’s sake. Hopefully I haven’t confused you too much and hopefully you will have a better understanding of the sport I love.

Reference: 2007 Wrestling Rules and Interpretations


Elihu said...

Great job. I learned about a couple of rule changes since I followed the sport more closely.

You have a small error in that you use the word "player" to describe a wrestler. Nobody plays at wrestling. :)

Anonymous said...

This article is so confusing, where is the discussion of the usage of foreign objects like folding chairs? How many points is that?

Galen said...

Thank you for pointing that out it sounds stupid, I don't know what I was thinking. Adjustments made.

Anon - you win this week's award for funniest post, I'm wiping coffee off my screen at this very moment.

BSD said...

Great post. I really appreciate it. I pretty much knew the individual scoring from my high school gym class days. But I had no idea how tournaments were scored. Very informative.

I was going to say something about cage matches, but Anon pretty much stole my thunder.

Galen said...

Yeah, most everyone knows the very basics but I thought I'd make sure and it kind of goes with the flow of the post. It was my pleasure, if I make one person take a second look at Wrestling then it was worth the couple hours I spent researching and writing it.

Elihu said...

Did you see that the PSU Wrestling radio announcer just got an award? Since I live near Boston, the stream of his broadcast over the web is how I follow the team.

Galen said...

Thanks for pointing that out elihu, I didn't see it until now. I will have to write something up tomorrow about it I'v always liked Jeff Byers. The same broadcast you get over the internet is the same one we listen to locally. I was always impressed that Byers could cover the entire NCAA tournament without help from a color man - he's all alone. It's tough to keep an eye on everything and cover - sometimes 2 or more matches at once. I didn't realize he works for Fight on State, I wonder if he's a admin or just a writer?