Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Flying-Tiger

Bleacher Report Weight Cutting Article

Recommended Posts

Current wrestling governing body's weight management rules are a complete farce.

 

It's insulting that they act like they care about an athletes well being when the current system creates an environment where unsafe weight management is common.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK...so your argument is that it doesn't go far enough, rather than that it goes too far. That's fair.

 

I am interested to know what the implementation would look like, and how often. Every match a wrestler competes in? Before the first match of the day? Also, after the wrestler is sent out to the mat? What if he misses weight then?

 

I don't disagree with you, but do feel like there are loose ends that would need to be tied before matside weigh-ins actually got implemented.

 

Also, I suspect most coaches would rather go the other way. Just a hunch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matside weigh ins with full gear (shoes, kneepads, etc.), every match.  Maybe you give a pound or two allowance for multiple weigh ins throughout the day, maybe you don't.  In theory, wrestlers would be forced to compete at a weight that they could make comfortably throughout the day. 

 

This would prevent most weight cutting, and result in a healthier culture in the long term.  However, there will still be people that don't manage their weight well or choose to wrestle in the wrong weight class.  They will need to cut leading up to or during a tournament to avoid forfeiting due to missing weight.  The effects of bad weight cuts will look worse with matside weigh ins because there will be no recovery time.  We might see more concussions, for example.  

 

In the first few years after matside weigh ins were implemented, they would cause a lot of stress for wrestlers and coaches, until people get used to the idea of wrestling at a more natural (heavier) weight.  I don't think there is a solution without drawbacks, but matside weigh ins would deter the worst abuses of the current system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like reducing the time between weigh-ins and wrestling as much as proponents of mat-side weigh-ins, but I also understand why mat-side weigh-ins aren't a great solution either. Cutting weight dangerously will never go away, no matter what the rules. The closer you move weigh-ins to match time, the less likely it is that the average wrestler will be cutting dangerously hard, but there will always be outliers who cut very hard no matter the rules. There's a point at which moving weigh-ins beyond "close enough" to match time yields negligible or quickly diminishing returns in safety, and I think we're there now.

 

From a physiological standpoint, one hour of recovery time might as well be mat-side weigh-ins because there is such little recovery that occurs in one hour after severe dehydration. The body can only absorb so much water in one hour, and the impact on performance (strength, speed, power, etc.) of one versus zero hours of recovery is almost negligible.

 

I get that one-hour weigh-ins aren't exactly one hour, since wrestling is a team sport that progresses by weight in serial fashion. But you have to weigh the marginal benefits of literally zero recovery time with how practical/costly/fan-unfriendly it would be to enforce such a change.

 

If you really want to discourage cutting weight, enforcing stalling aggressively and/or making matches longer would be more effective than moving one-hour weigh-ins to mat-side. The harder and longer the matches, the bigger the disadvantage for guys who cut hard.

Edited by wrestlingnerd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was an opponent of mat-side weigh ins for a long time simply because I was stuck on tradition but the more I think about it and the older I get the more I realize it is the right way to go. In order for it to be as effective as possible you need to make the penalty for not making weight severe enough to discourage any weight cutting.

 

In my mind the wrestlers would check in at the table and step on the scale in full gear. If they make weight they wrestle if they don't it's a DQ from the entire event; no points, no appeal, no questions asked. Is it harsh, sure and there would be a few people miss weight but within a season you'd see rosters shift with most wrestlers at a more natural weight. Far fewer wrestlers and coaches will take chances in this type of a system.      

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the amount of unsafe practices dropping weight is proportionate with the amount of time between weigh ins and wrestling. that's been clearly demonstrated. night before weigh ins, unsafe. 1-2 hour weigh ins, less unsafe. matside weigh ins, safe as it can possibly get.

 

Yes, but the point is the benefit from moving from overnight to 1-hour is great. The benefit from 1-hour to mat-side is small to negligible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nerd that's an assumption and not a fact. If a kid has to get on the scale 4-5 times in a tournament to make scratch weight in full gear every single time or be DQ'd it could make a huge difference. Especially the single day events.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also suspect that the weights would have to shift. According to Clint Wattenberg, the nutritionist for the Cornell wrestling team (@SportRd_Clint...strongly recommend you all follow him), the difference in weights between the current rules and matside weigh-ins would be roughly 3-4% for duals, and roughly 5% for tournaments. For tournaments, that's about a six pound adjustment, and in many cases, may be enough to make only stick figures able to wrestle 125.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also suspect that the weights would have to shift. According to Clint Wattenberg, the nutritionist for the Cornell wrestling team (@SportRd_Clint...strongly recommend you all follow him), the difference in weights between the current rules and matside weigh-ins would be roughly 3-4% for duals, and roughly 5% for tournaments. For tournaments, that's about a six pound adjustment, and in many cases, may be enough to make only stick figures able to wrestle 125.

I don't believe the new weights (for high school) were calculated based on wrestlers but rather the general population. As such, the athletes may need to find a new weight but the weight classes wouldn't need to be changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Pinnum on that point.

 

There are plenty of 106 and 113 high school seniors who have a lot of talent but lack the size to compete on the D1 level simply because they are outsized.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nerd that's an assumption and not a fact. If a kid has to get on the scale 4-5 times in a tournament to make scratch weight in full gear every single time or be DQ'd it could make a huge difference. Especially the single day events.   

 

It's fact. The average male body (about 160 lbs) cannot absorb more than about 1 L (about 2 lb) of water into the muscles in an hour. You can shove a bunch of water into your belly, and theres a psychological benefit to being able to drink a ton after a very hard cut, but not much more than 1 L of water  per hour gets rehydrated into the muscles to improve performance.

 

So if you're cutting 20-30 lbs, or even just 10-15, how beneficial is that extra 1 L? It's better than 0, but the impact to performance is marginal.

 

It is true that at tournaments, it could make a difference, but the wrestling season isn't just tournaments. The majority of weigh-ins occur in a dual format and most tournaments don't' last 3 days like the NCAAs. 

 

Since there will be hard weight cutting no matter the rules, the key question is, how practical do you think it is is to have matside weigh-ins at NCAAs the whole time and how much safer is the sport as a result of that? What is the cost-benefit analysis? The benefit is a marginal increase in safety, in my opinion. The cost is a potentially tournament-ruining experience--for the wrestlers, for fans, for tournament coordinators, etc.

 

I'm not against making weight cutting harder, but I'm against making weight cutting incrementally harder at a high cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be clear, I'm not necessarily arguing for the current rules either. I don't think it's an ideal situation either. All I'm saying is moving weigh-ins closer to match time when they're already just an hour apart is not the magic solution everyone thinks it is.

 

The best way to prevent weight cutting would be to impose a hydration test on wrestlers, so you target the root cause--dehydration--head on. Unfortunately, such a practice would likely be cost-prohibitive and it's difficult to determine where to draw the line between too dehydrated and hydrated enough since the tests aren't guaranteed to be accurate all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nerd I should have been a bit more clear in my response to you.

 

I did not mean to imply that moving from 24-hour to 1-hour weigh-ins does not have a big impact on weight cutting or rehydration, what I was saying is that it is an opinion that moving from 1-hour to mat-side will have little to no impact. As this has not been tried on a large scale over the course of a season everything is an opinion.

 

 

You did say that you were for making weight cutting harder but not at a high cost. What is the cost of moving to mat-side weigh-ins? All it will do is end up shifting most wrestlers up a weight class and smaller high school kids will fill in at 125. The cost as far as I can see is as close to zero as you can get.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be clear, I'm not necessarily arguing for the current rules either. I don't think it's an ideal situation either. All I'm saying is moving weigh-ins closer to match time when they're already just an hour apart is not the magic solution everyone thinks it is.

 

The best way to prevent weight cutting would be to impose a hydration test on wrestlers, so you target the root cause--dehydration--head on. Unfortunately, such a practice would likely be cost-prohibitive and it's difficult to determine where to draw the line between too dehydrated and hydrated enough since the tests aren't guaranteed to be accurate all the time.

The hydration test is a joke. I can pee hydrated right now and an hour later pee dehydrated. More rules and regulations is not good, no ref will want to watch a wrestler pee then test it, then weigh in. Good grief, weigh-ins would last hours for bigger events.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nerd I should have been a bit more clear in my response to you.

 

I did not mean to imply that moving from 24-hour to 1-hour weigh-ins does not have a big impact on weight cutting or rehydration, what I was saying is that it is an opinion that moving from 1-hour to mat-side will have little to no impact. As this has not been tried on a large scale over the course of a season everything is an opinion.

 

 

You did say that you were for making weight cutting harder but not at a high cost. What is the cost of moving to mat-side weigh-ins? All it will do is end up shifting most wrestlers up a weight class and smaller high school kids will fill in at 125. The cost as far as I can see is as close to zero as you can get.   

 

My point is that the impact of one hour of recovery versus zero is minimal, and that IS a physiological fact. You cannot reverse the effects of a large, sudden weight cut in a matter a handful of hours, let alone one. Obviously, the more time you have, the better the recovery, but going from clinically critical condition to having an extra pound or three of water from that condition is not going to change the way kids cut weight. Hence, my point that there is only a marginal benefit.

 

I did agree that in a multi-day tournament setting, the difference is much more significant since it's not 1-hour weigh-ins anymore. But you still have to successfully wrestle a full season dominated by weigh-ins for duals to qualify for NCAAs.

 

The cost of mat-side is hard to know since it's a fairly dramatic change, but I imagine some of the costs would be a very significant lengthening of tournament time, a significant increase in financial cost (more administrative costs, etc.), the significant cost of having a very exciting sporting event constantly interrupted by weigh-ins, and the fact that it is highly impractical to have wrestlers weigh exactly a certain weight when it is actually healthy to have your bodyweight fluctuate throughout the day by as much as 3-5 lbs for the average sedentary male (much more for athletes).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The hydration test is a joke. I can pee hydrated right now and an hour later pee dehydrated. More rules and regulations is not good, no ref will want to watch a wrestler pee then test it, then weigh in. Good grief, weigh-ins would last hours for bigger events.

 

That's the worst way to test hydration. There are more advanced methods but as I said, they would be cost-prohibitive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nerd maybe you didn't get my point on what I mean by "Impact" even after I thought I clarified myself. Sometimes that happens on message boards. None of what I mean is in relation to hydration and physiology. The impact which I believe will happen is the shifting of rosters. Your comment about a 3-5 pound fluctuation throughput the day is exactly what everybody will have to account for. Using 125 as an example I seriously doubt any of the current 125 wrestlers will have a snowball's chance in hell of maintaining 125 in full dress (shoes, head-gear, mouthpiece, etc.) for an entire tournament so they will have to go up to at least 133 and in some cases even 141. Will it be a bad thing? Who knows but I doubt it will impact that actual product on the mat. The best wrestlers and coaching staffs will adjust and you'll still get great wrestling.    

 

I also think it won't add any significant time to an event. If you wanted to you could have a single certified scale at the head table and they go there 2-3 minutes before they actual wrestle. If they make weight they sent to the mat, it they don't they're DQ'd. That won't add any time to a tournament and duals could be truly mat-side. it would take what maybe 30 extra seconds per match? I can;t see where adding 5 minutes to a dual is really going to matter.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get why mat-side weigh-ins makes cutting weight harder and discourages it more, but why is it good to weigh kids with clothes on? How does that make the sport safer? How does that reduce the risks of cutting weight? All it does is add an extra 2-3 lbs to cut.

Edited by wrestlingnerd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×