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Age-Group Wrestlers to Use New FILA Rules This Year
by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

The rules of international wrestling changed after the 2004 Olympic Games. FILA, the international wrestling federation, made many adjustments to the Olympic styles in many ways, including the structure of each match and how competitions are conducted.

Under the new rules, an athlete must win two of the three periods of a match to claim a victory. The overall score of the match no longer matters. The structure is similar to a tennis match, with each period just like a set in tennis. Once a wrestler wins two periods, the match is completed.

Included in the changes was a revision of a Greco-Roman match, where there is now wrestling on the mat (called par terre) in each period. The first half of the period is contested on the feet. Each wrestler is placed on the bottom position for 30 seconds, with a new Greco-Roman clinch using a reverse lift.

Freestyle wrestling has a new clinch position, where one athlete secures a single leg lock from the feet, with the opponent in a defensive position only if a period ends scoreless. There is also a new rule in both styles where a point is awarded to the opponent when an athlete steps out of bounds when wrestling on their feet. An athlete wins a period as a technical fall if he or she scores six points more than the opponent. Also, a five-point throw automatically wins a period. If a period ends as a tie, there are specific tie-breaking rules to determine who wins the period.

Last year, USA Wrestling’s age-group wrestling programs did not use these new FILA international rules, except for in tournaments that were qualifiers for international competitions. America’s youth still competed in the old international rules, in many of the local, regional and national competitions last season.

Starting in 2005-06, USA Wrestling age-group competitions in the international styles will all be contested with the new FILA rules. This will be something different for many involved in youth wrestling, including coaches, athletes, referees, tournament officials and fans.

The new rules will be in affect at major competitions such as the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals, the Kids National Freestyle and Greco-Roman Championships, the National Dual Meet Championships and the USA Wrestling Regional Championships.

USA Wrestling’s national coaches wish to remind everybody that while the structure of matches may have changed, that the wrestling is still wrestling. There is no reason for coaches and athletes to worry about the changes. The skills that are required to succeed in wrestling remain the same, and the transition to the new rules should be smooth once the coaches and athletes give them a try.

With the freestyle and Greco-Roman season coming up soon, coaches, athletes and club administrators should get a copy of the new rules and read them closely to get a better knowledge of how the rules are being implemented. Anybody who is interested in learning the rules can download a copy of the official new FILA rules as a PDF file from TheMat.com (www.themat.com ). Just click on the link entitled Officials Association, and you will be sent to the U.S. Wrestling Officials Association site, where the PDF file is posted.

In addition, the FILA website also has considerable information on any of the current modifications of these rules. Just visit www.fila-wrestling.com, and click on the British flag in the upper left hand side to get the English version. Go to the section labeled “Wrestling” on the left hand side and review and print those documents. This material will give you a good working knowledge of the rules and assist with the assimilation of the rules into the practice room.

USA Wrestling’s National Coaches Education Program is planning to have a video available on the new rules which should assist youth programs in understanding and adjusting to the new rules. There will be ongoing education provided by USA Wrestling to assist in the transition, Coaches and parents should note that USA Wrestling has some modifications to the international rules for the younger age groups here in the USA. In particular, for the clinch in Greco-Roman, the top wrestler must begin the reverse body lock with both of his/her knees on the mat. It was felt that with the variations of athletes in regard to strength, this modification would better prepare athletes to learn the proper techniques.

USA Wrestling will soon be publishing its annual Rulebook and Guide to Wrestling, with the official rules of wrestling as provided by FILA with USA Wrestling modifications. The Rulebook and Guide contains information on the various bracketing styles used in the United States and guidelines on conducting events from the aspect of pairings and flow of the event. The new rulebook should be available by late January, and will be distributed free of charge to all USA Wrestling Chartered clubs, member coaches and member officials.

Certainly, one of the positions that coaches and their athletes must concentrate in their training is the new clinches in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. These positions take on a very important role in many matches, especially close bouts. In every Greco-Roman match, each wrestler will get an opportunity to secure a reverse lift in par terre, and every wrestler must also defend against the reverse lift. In freestyle, athletes and coaches must spend time finishing the takedown from the leg hold in the clinch, as well as defending with the leg secured from the clinch. Mastering these positions often means the difference between winning and losing under the new rules.

There are certain strategies that coaches and athletes must learn under the new rules. With the six-point technical fall possibility in each period, a wrestler will have to compete differently than in the past. Also, wrestling on the feet is very important in freestyle, because there is no forced par terre, and when athletes step out of bounds, the wrestling remains on the feet.

It is also a great idea to watch as much Senior-level international wrestling as possible, to see how the elite athletes are competing under the new rules. If there is a Senior-level tournament in your area, especially a national championship or international competition, you can learn so much by being a spectator and attending the event. In addition, a number of USA Wrestling events will be posted on the internet on www.LiveSportsVideo.com, which allows you to see the nation’s top wrestlers using the new rules. In addition, USA Wrestling’s National Coaches Education Program often produces and sells highlight videos from major Senior-level events, another chance to see the new rules in competition.

With the amount of published materials available, video resources and Senior-level competitions to review, coaches, athletes and officials should become comfortable with the implementation of the new rules. As with any style of wrestling, regardless of the level, the more time and effort that you put into the new rules, the higher level of success you will achieve on the mat. If you understand the scoring system, practice the new positions, research and develop new strategies and study the elite wrestlers using the new rules, the change to the new rules in age-group competition should be successful.

USA Wrestling will monitor age-group wrestling this year, to determine how the transition is progressing and if there needs to be additional modifications. Input from coaches and team leaders is very important in this process. Any feedback or comments about the rule changes on the age group level should be directed to USA Wrestling Director of State Services Mark A. Scott via email at MAScott@usawrestling.org, and it will be provide to the appropriate committees for review. In addition, it is important to stay current on any updates and news concerning the rules by regularly visiting TheMat.com.

Participating in international-style wrestling continues to be a tremendous opportunity for young wrestlers to learn the sport, improve their skills and receive outstanding competition. Once athletes and coaches have experience in training and competing in the new rules, it will quickly become just another form of wrestling to master and enjoy.

2013 New FILA Rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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