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Why Every State Should Have a Beach Wrestling State Championship

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I'm curious, what does everyone think of the new Beach Wrestling rules that were modified by UWW back in January? For the most part, people really seem to like the adjustments, but obviously I haven't talked to all wrestlers.

 

I would like to hope that all USA Wrestling State Associations have a State Championship during the 2016 season. Not only individual champions, but a TEAM Championship! The reason is simple, to recruit more wrestlers to the great sport of wrestling...ALL styles of competitive wrestling.

 

In case you missed the new rules, here's a quick overview...

-The size of the ring has increased to a diameter of 23 feet. This slightly places more emphasis on takedowns without radically altering the pshcology of beach wrestling, and no diminishing the value of the push-out (which is very important in recruiting new wrestlers)

-One point for a push-out (opponent goes out-of-bounds)

-One point for a takedown

-Two points for a takedown with back exposure.

-First wreslter to score three points is the winner, with a 3 minute time limit.

-Non-scoring calls include stalemates (when the action stops while scrambling in the sand; it's part of the defensive straegy), and double-push outs (when both wrestlers go out-of-bounds and make contact with the sand at the same time; this keeps it easy on the refs)

-Wrestlers are returned to their feet after scoring and non-scoring calls

-Pins are no longer a part of beach wrestling (it's a two point move), back exposure without a takedown is not a scoring move and the action should continue

 

There are incentives for current wrestlers to compete. The sand increases the difficulty of the neutral position. The shorter scoring requirements develops the offensive and defensive awareness of wrestlers. The push-out helps teach wrestlers the importance of ring (mat) awareness (and it's used in all international styles). And it keeps wrestlers wrestling, and an easy introduction for folkstyle to the international styles.

 

This style is great for clubs as a fundraiser. Many local parks are willing to let their local wrestling club use the park for free or very low cost. Set-up and tear down takes minutes instead of hours. And you only need two volunteers (workers) per ring (one to ref and one to score/timekeep). Most tournaments do well with only two rings, so that's only 4 people required to help run the tournament.

 

Now I know there are some concerns, mainly from the perspective of the relativly short length of matches. It may be tough for parents to drive a distance and pay a registration fee and their kids only wrestle 2-3 matches with a total time of less than two minutes. Try using round-robins, so everyone can get multiple matches (even if they lose, don't make these double elimination). Some parents and coaches don't understand that wrestling out in the sun will really drain athletes; a few minutes wrestling in the sand will be just as taxing on the body as a full folkstyle match, including overtime. In Michigan, they extended the point requirement to 5 points instead of 3, and that will extend matches without being potentially dangerous from the heat.

 

But the topic I had was a State Championship, and mainly for the purpose of getting new wrestlers. For this to work, please include a TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP. If the Team State Championships are individual tournaments, with the easy-to-understand rules kids could recruit their friends and family members to join their team, even though those new wrestlers may heavily rely on the push-out for scoring. If they like it, they are likely to want to improve, which means going to wrestling practice...which means they will practice other styles...which means more wrestlers wrestling.

 

To help make these beach wrestling tournaments more adult friendly, there are spots that allow alcohol (responsible drinking). There are beach themed resturants, and some beach locations may allow drinking. But encourage the parents and coaches into COMPETING! Please allow the adult divisions (Adult AND Veterans) to count towards the team points. Let parents and coaches help their kids win the Team State Championships. The women divisions haven't been stacked, get those wrestling moms out there. The same for the Veterans, get those dads and coaches out there. Allow the Veterans to also compete in the Adult, and count the points from each division towards the team total.

 

We are always looking for ways to improve the sport that we all love. There is an answer already out there, in recruiting new wrestlers and spectators, and it's Beach Wrestling. If we aren't using this style to our benefit to recruiting new athletes and spectators, we only have ourselves to blame for letting our sport down.

 

Looking forward to the comments,

Rob Teet, SandWrestling.com

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Although beach wrestling has a way to go to be considered mainstream, I agree with the above post.

I would like to see a beach championship in the middle of the country, say North Ave Beach in Chicago during the summer.

It would give the sport a lot of exposure and is an easy drive for the majority of the country v/s going to the southeast coast beaches.

Since Las Vegas and Southern Scuffle is killing the Midlands due to Midwest winter weather, Chicago should have Beach Midlands.

Of course that is a joke, I wish Midlands was the only option during winter break.

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It's being seriously considered by Michigan-USA Wrestling to expand to covering the Great Lakes region next summer. One location being discussed was between Chicago and Milwaukee, although I can't recall the exact city at the moment.

 

It isn't too late for clubs to get a beach wrestling contest in this year. It also isn't too early to plan for 2016, a few tournaments are already scheduled. Most notably, the 2016 U.S. National Championships in North Carolina, the weekend of May 20th-22nd, which is used to qualify for the U.S. World Team. That weekend also features the Grappling WTT's, so it's a rare opportunity for adult wrestlers to qualify for TWO U.S. Teams in the same calendar year.

 

I'll give an update on tournaments already slated for 2016 later.

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