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Styles of wrestling...

There are two "international" wrestling styles performed in the Olympic games under the supervision of FILA: Freestyle and Greco-Roman.  These two styles are practiced internationally.

A similar style commonly known as Collegiate or Folkstyle is the predominate form of scholastic wrestling in the United States and is found in high schools, colleges and clubs.  This type of wrestling is unique to the United States and is regulated by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the National Federation of State High School Associations. 

What are the objectives of each style?

Folkstyle wrestling places greater emphasis on establishing and maintaining control and involves more mat wrestling.  The primary objective in Folkstyle wrestling is to gain control of your opponent and to pin your opponent by holding them with their back on the mat for a period of at least 2 seconds. 

In Freestyle and Greco-Roman the primary objective is much the same as with Folkstyle, except that other factors are taken into account such as what holds are permitted and the skill with which moves are executed.  Both  Greco and Freestyle focus more on wrestling from the feet and Greco is limited to upper body holds.

The differences in the styles are subtle to the novice but significant to the wrestler.  There are differences in scoring, rules and strategy.

When can my child start wrestling?

Many schools in the United States do not offer wrestling until High School but clubs can provide opportunity for younger children to participate from the age of 5 years old.

Age groups for wrestling...

Most wrestling clubs will divide children into different age groups and weights.  For example they will have a 5-6, 7-8, 9-10 etc. league.  Weight classes will usually have a 4-6 pound difference, for example 70,75 80 etc... 

Most clubs have classes that include teaching techniques and wrestling rules as well as nutrition and conditioning maintenance.  Group as well as private lessons are available. At young age levels children do not have to "cut weight" to wrestle. however, it is true that weight cutting does exist at the High School and College levels.

Girls in wrestling...

In the past, wrestling has been a male dominated sport but in recent years female participation in youth and high school programs has greatly increased.  However, there are still far fewer girls than boys that are participating in this sport.  At a young age the difference in strength between a boy and girl will be minimal but once puberty is reached boys typically gain a significant strength advantage.  A girl must work twice as hard to overcome these challenges. 

How do I register?

A birth certificate is required at the time of registration to prove the age of your child.  Open enrollment is usually in January and July. Forms for registration can be obtained on the organization's web site or in some instances at your local sporting goods store.  Many organizations give you the option to register on line.   Often clubs will distribute flyers to elementary school for the children to bring home.  Once your child reaches middle school, if a wrestling program is available, all information will be distributed at school. 




The wrestling season for Folkstyle begins in November and runs until March. The Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling season begins in March and runs through July.

Depending on whether your child is participating in a school program or an independent club the wrestling season can be organized differently.  School programs involve after school practices and weekly meets and tournaments.  Standard weight classes apply to all teams and competitions.  Competition exists within teams for starting positions in tournaments. 

Wrestling clubs will hold practices two or three times each week, at varying times, and do not have competition for starting positions on a team.  In most situations all tournaments are open to all of their members.


Wrestlers of all ages can compete in weekly, season tournaments held in most metropolitan areas in the United States.  Most school sponsored tournaments are held on Saturdays and club sponsored tournaments are held on Sunday.  Wrestling tournaments can last for 4 to 6 hours.  Your child's team can have as many as ten or more tournaments during the season.  Some tournaments can be up to several hours from your home.

Tournament competition is organized by weight and age.  Mandatory weigh-ins are conducted 1 to 2 hours prior to the first round of competition.  Wrestlers age, weight and experience determine how they will be classified for the tournament.  Wrestlers typically will wrestle 2 to 4 matches in any tournament.  Winners continue to advance.

USA Wrestling conducts annual regional and national tournaments in all styles for all ages.


Most clubs will offer private or group lessons.  Private lessons will cost anywhere from 50-80 dollars per 1 hour session.  Group lessons can run from 25- 60 dollars per 1 hour session.  Lessons, whether individual or group, must be purchased in a package of 4 or 5 lessons at a time in most clubs.  There are a few organizations that will charge a flat fee of approximately 100 dollars for a 8-10 week session. 

In addition, each tournament that your child participates in will have an entry fee.  These fees are usually between 7- 10 dollars.

It is also necessary for you to purchase a USA wrestling membership card . This will entitle your child to participate in tournaments and will cost approximately 20 - 30 dollars.

Wrestling Equipment

Wrestling gear for Folkstyle includes wrestling shoes, headgear and a singlet. 

A singlet is the standard wrestling uniform.  It is designed to fit snugly so that it does not restrict the wrestler's movement.  Wrestling shoes are lightweight, fit tight and offer ankle support.  Headgear prevents outer ear injuries.  Some wrestlers also prefer to wear kneepads.

In Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling FILA permits, but does not require, the use of headgear.  Wrestlers are required to wear a red or blue singlet, depending on their match pairing.  All other equipment is identical to that used in Folkstyle.


Did you know.....

In Folkstyle matches consist of three periods and can last from one to three minutes.  Either wrestler can win early by a pin or 14 point lead, otherwise most points win at the end of the 3rd period.

Starting position in Folkstyle are neutral position or referee's position.  Neutral position is where both wrestlers are standing facing each other.  Referee's position is where 1 player starts on his hands and knees down on the mat  and the other is on top behind and in control.  The first period always starts in a neutral position and then each wrestler has their choice in one of the remaining period.

In Freestyle and Greco-Roman matches are condensed into one or two periods.  Young groups wrestle 2 ninety second periods while older groups wrestle one five minute period.  Periods begin in the neutral position and can end early with a pin, or a 10 or more point lead.

All styles of wrestling require good sportsman and proper behavior.