The Purpose of Youth Wrestling
The purpose of youth wrestling is simple, simpler than you probably have ever imagined. Its chief use is to have fun and socialize. That needs to be repeated, youth wrestling is for fun and socialization, just as youth soccer, football and baseball are. During youth wrestling everything else pales in comparison, including learning. No learning will ever take place if your son or daughter is not having fun at that level of the sport. Any parent or coach that doesn’t see that is only hurting their children in the long run.
Of course because your child is having fun with youth wrestling he or she will want to continue to do it. What follows is the learning, then winning on its own without being pushed by a parent or coach.
Losing a wrestling match is a very humbling experience and it will help your child grow up. It will make your child think, “If I don’t want that to happen anymore I can either quit wrestling or do something about it by working harder.” That is when the first seeds of internal motivation are sprung.
The motivation for wrestling, even youth wrestling, has to come from within.
It cannot come from a parent, a coach and of course there is no money in wrestling. Although these days the UFC and MMA in general do provide an outlet, it is probably not the path you want your child to venture on. If your child is motivated by anything other than themselves, the result will be negative. I have seen it time and time again throughout my wrestling career. Wrestlers who have been doing it their whole lives get burnt out to the point that they don’t care about the sport anymore. They were pushed too hard, too fast during youth wrestling and the result is burnout or being stuck wrestling because they feel they have to. Maybe it’s to get a scholarship, maybe it’s to accomplish something their father or coach never did. But it’s not what the child wants for himself.
I was in youth wrestling for a brief time. I wrestled in 2nd grade and quit in 3rd because it was not fun anymore. My youth coaches focused on teaching us how to wrestle and win. Having fun was not part of the equation. My first season back was 8th grade. But if I had wrestled throughout I would not have had a losing record that year. The only way that could have been avoided was if I had had fun in youth wrestling.
Youth wrestling is for fun, high school wrestling is for learning, and college wrestling and beyond is for accomplishing goals and winning.
When it comes to your child, have your eye on the bigger picture. Your example will help your child see what is important and all of the great things I talked about in WRESTLING will happen for them. This year do you and your youth wrestler a gigantic favor: Tell them to go out there and have fun before they shake hands with their opponent. Not to win. If youth wrestling is not fun, you won’t have a wrestling child for very long.