Aquinas Youth Wrestling Program

Will my child have to lose weight in wrestling?

A: Absolutely not!  In the youth through middle school wrestling programs, there is absolutely no talk or discussion of weight loss with our wrestlers.  In all of the competitions that wrestlers in these age groups may attend, they would wrestle at their natural body weight and wrestle against kids of similar size and ability level.  At the high school level, we promote a healthy eating lifestyle with a well-rounded diet with an emphasis on whole foods and staying away from fast or fried foods.  We believe this helps with both performance and recovery and allows the student/athlete perform at their highest levels daily.

I hear wrestling is violent and will cause my child to be aggressive. Is that true?

A: Wrestling has long had the misperception of being a violent sport by those who have never actually seen it. Wrestlers are encouraged to be aggressive on the mat, but wrestlers who are too aggressive, or out of control, will soon find themselves on the losing end of a match won by a more controlled wrestler. Wrestling helps teach young men how to control their aggression both on and off the mat, much like martial arts disciplines do. They are taught to respect their opponents and the sport, and wrestling more than any other sport teaches humility, as they must learn to deal with losses on an individual level vs. a team level, and that lesson is carried with them off the mat for the rest of their lives.

Is wrestling dangerous? I worry about my son/daughter being injured.

A: Participation in any sport carries an inherent risk of being injured, wrestling notwithstanding. Wrestling however though, like stated above, is always done in a safe and controlled environment. During competition, wrestling has the best referee to competitor ratio of any sport with 1 referee per 2 competitors. This allows the referee to totally focus on the safety first and foremost of these student/athletes. Wrestling has less incidences of concussions per athlete than a sport like soccer and fewer lower body injuries in comparison to boys’ basketball (Injury incidence of high school athletes). Injuries can occur in wrestling, but like all sports, efforts are taken to reduce these incidences as much as possible.

Will wrestling make my child’s ears look funny? (Cauliflower ear/wrestler’s ear)

A: Cauliflower ear is easily preventable by wearing headgear. At the high school level, we mandate that all our wrestlers wear their headgear in practice every day, and it is already mandated in competition. In my years of coaching, of the hundreds of athletes I have coached, I have never had a wrestler develop cauliflower ear.

I hear wrestlers contract a lot of skin infections, is that true?

A: All contact sports have an inherent risk of athletes contracting skin infections, including sports like football and basketball. Wrestling takes vast measures to ensure that skin infections are both prevented and diagnosed and treated immediately if found. Our wrestlers are required to shower immediately after practice and we provide them with daily practice gear which we wash daily to ensure proper hygiene. We also wash our mats daily and do skin checks both at competitions and practice to catch anything that may pop up.

Why should my child wrestle?

A: All children should wrestle at some point in their youth!  Here are 10 reasons why all kids should wrestle, even if they decide not to stick with it through high school.

1. Foundation sport. Wrestling is the perfect foundation for all other sports. Wrestling is balance, agility, hand –eye coordination, flexibility, positioning, strength, speed, explosiveness, footwork, hustle, mental focus, mental toughness, core strength, concentration, competition, and endurance. Wrestling will make our youth better at all other sports.

2. Fun. Wrestling is a game. It is the most basic and instinctual game. Toddlers wrestle. The sport of wrestling is the ultimate competition where two individual take their individual strengths and match them up against each other. Wrestling is a battle of wits, technique, speed, agility, flexibility, and toughness. No two wrestlers are alike. Fun stuff!!

3. Exercise. Wrestling is one the world’s most premier physical fitness sports. Wrestling develops strength and endurance. Poor health is a major issue in our society today and wrestling will help develop a love of exercise and physical fitness in our youth.

4. Self-confidence. Very little is accomplished without self-confidence. Wrestling teaches self-confidence like nothing else I know. Insecure people have the most difficult time learning from others and make progress even more difficult than it already is. Wrestling teaches hard work, self-improvement, sense of accomplishment, camaraderie of team, 1 on 1 aspect, and self-defense to name a few. These promote self-worth, respect and confidence.

5. Self-defense. Although wrestling is not commonly considered a “martial art,” it is the #1 base discipline in the world of MMA. Wrestlers know how to defend themselves and neutralize threats quickly. Wrestling is controlling an opponent. If you want your kids to know how to defend themselves, put them in wrestling.

6. Humility. Nothing teaches humility better than a 1-on-1 sport. Winning and losing in a 1-on-1 setting brings humility. There is nowhere to hide and no one to blame but yourself. All wrestlers will lose at some point and doing so in these conditions teaches humility. Hard work and discipline are two keys to success in wrestling and both teach humility.

“…I learned a lot about taking responsibility for my actions when I wrestled for 4 years…All professional athletes ought to spend a year wrestling. It teaches you something, you get pinned; you can’t blame the coach. You can’t blame your teammates. The guy you are looking for is staring back at you in the mirror” –former Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams

7. Respect. The challenges of being a wrestler teach you to respect yourself. After you learn to respect yourself you will learn to respect others. You learn to respect your team mates as well as your opponents. You learn to listen to and respect your coach. After you learn to respect others you are able to learn from them, a life lesson.

8. Self-discipline. Wrestling is discipline. Repetition of drills, hard work, weight management, and continually doing the best thing instead of the easiest thing is discipline. Wrestling requires postponing instant “wants” to gain something more valuable long term. It takes discipline and focus to reach goals.

9. Roadmap to success. Wrestling is the perfect example of what it takes to be successful in life. Goal setting, hard work, determination, focus, love of challenges, love of competition, confidence, being coachable, mental toughness, discipline, creativity, team work and accountability.

10. Toughness. Wrestling is a physical, contact sport. You learn that sometimes you just get poked in the eye. Physical and mental toughness go hand in hand. You learn that a little pain or struggle is part of the process of doing great things.

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