Folkstyle wrestling is an exciting style, and is loved wrestlers in the United States. However, it’s surprising how many folkstyle wrestlers in the United States don’t realize that there’s literally another world of competition out there. Freestyle and Greco-Roman are the styles of wrestling that are contested internationally. Further, they’re the styles that many American wrestlers use in order to improve when the folkstyle season finishes. This guide covers several reasons why you should make freestyle and Greco a priority during the off-season.
The international styles of freestyle and Greco-Roman are most popular during the spring and summer months, generally March through July. This is because most of their competitions immediately follow folkstyle season. During the spring and summer, some wrestlers still train folkstyle. You will have the option to do so. However, the best wrestlers in the country are usually training and competing in these other styles during the off-season.
Although you will be learning a new style of wrestling with techniques that may be totally foreign to you, much of what you have already learned in folkstyle can be used in freestyle or Greco competition. You will learn techniques in both of these styles that can be used successfully during the scholastic and collegiate seasons. Because of this, competing in freestyle and Greco becomes a way you can turn yourself into a more experienced and well-rounded wrestler.
Stay in Shape
After the folkstyle season, there are two options for a serious wrestler: Play another sport or keep wrestling. If you play a sport outside of wrestling, great! This will help keep your body and mind in shape. If you don’t play another sport, you should absolutely continue wrestling during the freestyle and Greco season.
No matter what you choose, understand that if you expect to experience success as an athlete you can’t get lazy, or pack on extra pounds. Neglecting your technical and physical abilities during the off-season will leave you a step behind the competition the following year. If you expect big things of yourself next season, get up and get training!
Using the Upper Body
To become an outstanding wrestler in any style, you must at some point acquire the skills necessary to be able to use your upper body effectively. The basic positioning taught in Greco-Roman is invaluable, and there are many technical aspects of upper body wrestling that you can only learn through this avenue. Even if most of your offense comes off of leg attacks in folkstyle, understanding how to control and set up takedowns using your upper body will greatly increase your effectiveness. Wrestling Greco will force you to build your upper body strength.
Using the Boundary
In freestyle and Greco, you are not allowed to attempt to escape a hold or maneuver by stepping out of bounds. Each time a wrestler does this, his opponent is awarded one point. This is why most wrestlers on the international circuit use the boundary to generate an offense. This rule directly relates to the “fleeing the mat” rule in folkstyle. Freestyle and Greco will give you a better sense of awareness of where you are on the mat, and will help you learn how to use the boundary of the mat more effectively.
The opponents you will face during the freestyle/Greco season may be tough for many reasons, but one sticks out from the rest: They have the drive to want to be there, and the desire to succeed. Wrestlers that compete in the international styles tend to be better because they care about their success much more. Often times these wrestlers have aspirations of becoming a national or world champion in freestyle or Greco at some point in their careers.
If you want to be one of the best, even in folkstyle wrestling, competing in freestyle and Greco is necessary. You’ll get the chance to go up against tough wrestlers from the state, national, or even international level (depending on where you are competing).
Also, the amount of time you spend on the mat will undoubtedly help you improve as a wrestler. Some wrestlers get over a hundred matches during freestyle and Greco season! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to wrestle more matches in the off-season. Go up against the best competition possible.
One of the most beneficial aspects of freestyle and Greco-Roman competition is that there are specific age groups for wrestlers under the age of 18. Essentially, freshman and sophomore scholastic wrestlers are in one division, and junior and senior wrestlers are in another. There are many other age groups, though.
Age groups are significant. If you are getting beat by older wrestlers during your regular season, the freestyle/Greco season is a good way to gauge your progress against wrestlers of your own age/skill level. Competing against wrestlers your age can also help build confidence. Getting the opportunity to experience success against wrestlers with a similar skill set as you can be a big boost!
The freestyle and Greco season means different things to different people. Many wrestlers take the competition seriously, and use these styles as a way to improve their all-around abilities. However, most would agree that competing in these styles is a lot of fun, too!
Many scholastic and collegiate coaches use freestyle and Greco as tools to indirectly help teach folkstyle skills. Thus, there is much less emphasis on competing to win. Freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions often emphasize learning, not winning. You should find that there is less pressure because of this.
Another bonus is that you will get the opportunity to travel during the warmest months of the year. This will allow you to engage in more fun activities while on the road than during the folkstyle season. Also, if you take the international styles seriously, you may be able to travel to places outside of the United States for competitions. This type of experience is invaluable as a wrestler and as a person!
Choosing Your Future
Wrestling freestyle and Greco is valuable for many reasons. If you want to experience success in folkstyle, you must consider training and competing in these styles. Also, learning the international styles early in your wrestling career may help you in the long run if you plan to compete at the collegiate level (and beyond). Even if you aren’t a very serious wrestler, these styles will prove to be a lot of fun, and will grant you many memorable experiences.