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TwoPointTakeDown

Cutting weight... should we finally stop this practice?

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Why do we cut weight? To get a perceived advantage. Is it though? Yes and no. As much as a placebo helps relieve a headache some of the time. 

I guess lets start with defining our terms. Cutting weight: purposefully dehydrating yourself, for a short period of time(<2 days, lets say) in order to lose enough weight to make a lower weight class. For the sake of argument we can discuss the ramifications of a one-day weigh in.  

We can all agree that its not healthy, mentally or physically, right? So why not get rid of it altogether. Get the junior high and club coaches on board. Some parents are going to be upset that their wrestler won't make the starting lineup because they fall in the middle of the bell curve and just aren't good enough to be a starter. Is winning really that important? 

I cut weight for a long time. I thought it was my only option as far as winning. Because you can't win unless you wrestle and you can't get a meaningful amount of matches unless you are a starter and making the weight class that coach wanted was the best way to do that. Those are a whole lot of BS ideas that we tell kids, implicitly or explicitly, and then are shocked when we hear about the lengths by which they will go to live up to these ideals. This post is just about cutting weight. There are plenty of other things that kids and parents do in order to ensure their spot on the team. We can address later. 

I have a feeling the argument will be, but athletes in other countries cut weight for international competition so we'll be at a disadvantage? and my response to that would be; did you even read the beginning? 

So the obstacle is inertia? Most likely. Keep the status quo, keep the peace. That's a load of horse hockey in my opinion. Anyone saying that 'progress for the sake of progress should be prohibited' can pound sand. 

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This was a problem - big problem - of a certain magnitude for many decades.  It created heatlh risks and gave an advantage to those who had the toughness and attitute to cut huge amounts and the ability to recover more quickly than some others.  A few wrestlers died and others suffered serious medical problems.

Multiple steps were implemented to manage and mitigate the most harmful aspects of the problem.  Seems to have worked.  Is there data that a problem persists?

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Always thought cutting weight was ridiculous. Essentially two guys would be on the mat each sucked out and likely suffered for a couple of days. Would it be better if both were fully hydrated and carbed  up?  Things are better now but most of the time a kid cuts so he can make the line up. I think Dake going up a weight each year showed cutting was not necessary. 

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27 minutes ago, TwoPointTakeDown said:

Why do we cut weight? To get a perceived advantage. Is it though? Yes and no. As much as a placebo helps relieve a headache some of the time. 

I guess lets start with defining our terms. Cutting weight: purposefully dehydrating yourself, for a short period of time(<2 days, lets say) in order to lose enough weight to make a lower weight class. For the sake of argument we can discuss the ramifications of a one-day weigh in.  

We can all agree that its not healthy, mentally or physically, right? So why not get rid of it altogether. Get the junior high and club coaches on board. Some parents are going to be upset that their wrestler won't make the starting lineup because they fall in the middle of the bell curve and just aren't good enough to be a starter. Is winning really that important? 

I cut weight for a long time. I thought it was my only option as far as winning. Because you can't win unless you wrestle and you can't get a meaningful amount of matches unless you are a starter and making the weight class that coach wanted was the best way to do that. Those are a whole lot of BS ideas that we tell kids, implicitly or explicitly, and then are shocked when we hear about the lengths by which they will go to live up to these ideals. This post is just about cutting weight. There are plenty of other things that kids and parents do in order to ensure their spot on the team. We can address later. 

I have a feeling the argument will be, but athletes in other countries cut weight for international competition so we'll be at a disadvantage? and my response to that would be; did you even read the beginning? 

So the obstacle is inertia? Most likely. Keep the status quo, keep the peace. That's a load of horse hockey in my opinion. Anyone saying that 'progress for the sake of progress should be prohibited' can pound sand. 

People cut weight in wrestling and all other combat related sports to be competitive.  I expect that most of the good D1 wrestlers who competed at NCAAs this year walk around naturally weighing between 140 to 150 lbs.  If those guys decided to just wrestle their natural weight without cutting they could go 141 or 149.  They would find themselves at a big size disadvantage against the guys in those weights (which may include their own teammates).  I think Stevan Micic found out this year how hard it is to give up significant size even for an excellent wrestler.  Now there are always exceptions to the rule.  Supposedly Spencer Lee's natural weight is around 130 lbs.  

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1 minute ago, Le duke said:

Just have mat-side weigh-ins, before each match.

Literally step on the scale, then stop on the mat. A guy who is dehydrated by a whole gallon of water (or more) will be at a serious physiological disadvantage. 

Simpler with duals- tournaments have other ramifications but also much less than 20 some years ago.

20 some years ago in duals would risk some idiot getting on the scale in public very dehydrated and having a serious issue right there. Sport would have ended right then and there. Education much better now so more doable.

With tournament software as currently implemented would work easier than late 90s. But still how do you handle timing inequities between guys with pig-tails vs byes? Guys with byes have more time- and I don't just mean bouts where one guy has a bye leading to second round but even with both having byes. Could be hours difference. I'm sure this could be worked out in a lot of events with rather than mat-side per se with many scales ready as each weight begins but this could slow early rounds down.

And open events allow weight changes on the spot. This would be complicated.

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56 minutes ago, Elevator said:

This was a problem - big problem - of a certain magnitude for many decades.  It created heatlh risks and gave an advantage to those who had the toughness and attitute to cut huge amounts and the ability to recover more quickly than some others.  A few wrestlers died and others suffered serious medical problems.

Multiple steps were implemented to manage and mitigate the most harmful aspects of the problem.  Seems to have worked.  Is there data that a problem persists?

Coaches, athletes, and trainers cheat on the hydration tests. Fact. With little to no oversight. Rarely is the head trainer doing the pinch tests. The young, underpaid, and overworked athletic trainers understand the pressure the athletes put on themselves. So they have incentive to find or measure more fat then might be there. Coaches get bonuses for job security from dual meet and tournament performance bench marks. So a sucked down wrestler, shoring up a weak spot in the lineup, even for just one season is an incentive. And the wrestler who gets the 'advantage' of a lower weight class. 

Why can't we all just admit that energy used in the bettering of technique, conditioning, and strategy is better used than measuring ounces of non-consumed water? Its better for the sport, the kids' lives in the short and long term and better for developing skills for life after wrestling. How is there so much push back on this issue? 

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I think the advantage of cutting weight is fairly negligible at the youth level, becomes slightly more important in high school and is more or less imperative at the d1 level u less you're a world level talent. I think coaches and parents definitely put way too much pressure on kids at way too young of an age to cut weight when the time would be better invested in technical and physical development.

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1 hour ago, TwoPointTakeDown said:

Coaches, athletes, and trainers cheat on the hydration tests. Fact. With little to no oversight. Rarely is the head trainer doing the pinch tests. The young, underpaid, and overworked athletic trainers understand the pressure the athletes put on themselves. So they have incentive to find or measure more fat then might be there. Coaches get bonuses for job security from dual meet and tournament performance bench marks. So a sucked down wrestler, shoring up a weak spot in the lineup, even for just one season is an incentive. And the wrestler who gets the 'advantage' of a lower weight class. 

Why can't we all just admit that energy used in the bettering of technique, conditioning, and strategy is better used than measuring ounces of non-consumed water? Its better for the sport, the kids' lives in the short and long term and better for developing skills for life after wrestling. How is there so much push back on this issue? 

The reason there is pushback is because within certain parameters.. proper weight management or “cutting” does give an advantage. A strong argument can also be that 1-2 hour weigh ins help instill discipline and better eating habits in the top echelon. The trend has been going away from bad weight cutting for awhile. Especially with 1-2 weigh ins which inhibits excessive cutting. It’s youth wrestling you see the worst of it in my experience 

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3 hours ago, Elevator said:

Multiple steps were implemented to manage and mitigate the most harmful aspects of the problem.  Seems to have worked.  Is there data that a problem persists?

Yep - The rules have changed -  much better than it used to be. See MMA for fainting and cutting to the extreme.

 

2 hours ago, TwoPointTakeDown said:

Coaches, athletes, and trainers cheat on the hydration tests. Fact. With little to no oversight.

Examples? 

 

2 hours ago, TwoPointTakeDown said:

Why can't we all just admit that energy used in the bettering of technique, conditioning, and strategy is better used than measuring ounces of non-consumed water? Its better for the sport, the kids' lives in the short and long term and better for developing skills for life after wrestling. How is there so much push back on this issue?

Who is pushing back to drop the current regulations that are in place that are far better than what has been in the sport? 

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In support of matside weigh-ins, with the following process based mostly on high school level, but could be applicable elsewhere...have also included connected thoughts on locked line-ups and growth allowances, but I concede those have already been debated.

Matside Weigh-Ins & Locked Line-Ups (improves weight control protocol by discouraging excessive weight loss  and reduces forfeits by locking in line-ups)

1. Increase all weight classes by 2 pounds to allow for uniforms, shoes, headgear etc.

2. Procedures will vary slightly based on dual meet (or multi dual) and individually bracketed tournaments

3. Dual Meet Procedure

A. Require each coach to submit a locked-in line-up to the official 10 minutes prior to start of dual, just prior to any introductions or playing of National Anthem.  Rationale: a coin toss should not have such an impact on a dual meet result, and forfeits and ducking of quality opponents will be reduced. 

B. Weigh in when reporting to table ready to wrestle (scale available prior, including during warm-ups, to check weight)

C. For a dual-meet team tourney or multi dual, a wrestler can’t compete in more than 2 different weight classes for the event.  Wrestler may compete in class for which qualifies OR may wrestle up 1 (one weight class) above which initial weigh in of the event allows.  Ex:  Wrestler A makes 132 for first dual.  This allows him to wrestle 132 or 138 during event, provided he makes weight for subsequent rounds.  If he does not make 132, he may still wrestle 138, but MAY NOT wrestle 145.  Also, a wrestler may not “go down a weight class” during the course of the dual meet tourney (for instance, if over by a half pound for initial dual, can’t proceed to lose weight for subsequent rounds).

D. Weigh ins will be held prior to each round of the dual tourney/multi meet.  Scratch weight for round one, with one additional pound for round #2 and a second additional pound for round #3, up to a 4th pound for 5th round (maximum number of matches in 1 day per NFHS). 

E.  If wrestler who is listed on lineup for that dual does not make weight when called matside, it is a forfeit and that wrestler may not wrestle at a higher weight class in that same dual.  That wrestler may not be replaced by a teammate--it is a forfeit.  If a team lists a wrestler on their match line-up and proceeds to forfeit that weight class (either by failure to make weight or by electing to not wrestle), that forfeit will be worth 7 points (forfeits at weight classes where no wrestler was listed remain 6 points)

4. Individually Bracketed Tournament Procedure

A. Initial matside weigh in prior to first round matches (including all wrestlers receiving byes).

B. One pound allowance for each subsequent round on the championship side (and corresponding consolation rounds) such that a 16-man bracket would have 1 extra pound in quarters, another extra pound in semis and 2 more for finals, while consi weigh-ins would be required in alternating rounds, with an extra pound, until consi semis and consi finals, each of which requires a weigh in with 1 extra pound. These incremental increases remove the necessity of a 2nd day of a tournament adding an extra pound.

C. Weigh in to take place matside.  Scales at each mat if possible, or between mats if not enough scales available.  Wrestler failing to make weight on designated scale may make 1 attempt at each other available scale.

D.  Any wrestler failing to make weight for first round is considered a scratched forfeit, and is not permitted to continue in the tournament.

E. Any wrestler failing to make weight for a subsequent championship round match (ie semifinals) or corresponding consi round is considered a forfeit.  Team does not lose all points earned for that wrestler, and wrestler may continue in the tournament if same weight is made for next round.  Ex:  Wrestler B fails to make weight for the semifinals.  He drops down to the consi semis, and must make the same weight he was required to make for the championship semis in order to compete in the consi round.  

IV.  Growth Allowances

  1.  As originally intended, growth allowances are well suited for high school wrestlers who are still growing.  However, the terminology and implementation has changed over the years, diminishing the effectiveness.  The following re-establishes a true growth allowance.

  2. Weight certification process that determines a minimum weight based on 7% for males and 12% for females must be based on establishing a minimum weight class that reflects scratch weight classes at the start of the season.  Ex:  Wrestler A has an initial certification that determines his body fat would permit him to wrestle at a minimum of 134 pounds.  This should not permit him to wrestle in the 132 pound weight class even after the “growth allowances” are implemented and the weight class becomes 134.  Growth allowances are intended to allow for growth--not intended to permit wrestling at a lower weight class than their body fat % allows during descent.  Note: If implementing matside weigh ins, the need for weight certification is effectively removed.

  3. Due to varying start dates in each state, the following is an attempt to provide a consistent growth allowance schedule that covers the regular and post-season.  Dates are based on an approximation, but for January & February would be the Sunday that is nearest the dates shown of the month.

    1. Scratch weight classes from start of season until December 25 (ie 106)

    2. Two pound allowance on December 25 (ie 106 becomes 108)

    3. One additional pound on 3rd Sun of Jan (January 15 (ie 106 is now 109)

    4. One additional pound on 2nd Sun of Feb (February 10 (ie 106 is now 110)

  4. Note: If maintaining current NFHS wording of the rule regarding “average weekly descent” (as opposed to monitored weekly descent), the rule requiring a minimum number of weigh-ins (ie 33%) at the lowest weight class during the season seeking post-season eligibility should be re-established.

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4 minutes ago, Idaho said:

Yep - The rules have changed -  much better than it used to be. See MMA for fainting and cutting to the extreme.

 

Examples? 

 

Who is pushing back to drop the current regulations that are in place that are far better than what has been in the sport? 

The pushback is from those who insist that dropping to a lower weight class by 'cutting weight'(not dieting) is, somehow, a benefit. Its a fairytale that we tell ourselves and one we've told for decades. Its a win at all costs mentality that poisons sport to its core. It pressures athletes to torture themselves to achieve something they've been convinced will make it all worth it. It doesn't. No amount of success makes up for the pain of cutting weight. The time lost, that you could be better used doing anyone of a number of things to improve their chances of wrestling. All without putting their health in jeopardy. 

It reminds me of the cliched trope of 'well, I did it and I turned out alright so why can't they do it, too'. The thing is, YOU DIDN'T TURN OUT ALL RIGHT! If for no other reason then you can't see how messed up it was that YOU had to do it at all. Making someone else do it the same way, knowing in the back of your mind how messed up it is/was, is dishonest and mean. I don't mind fighting the inertia that comes with change. But I do mind when people aren't honest about why they are fighting the change. 

Oh... and examples? No! You'll have to buy the book. 

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26 minutes ago, TwoPointTakeDown said:

The pushback is from those who insist that dropping to a lower weight class by 'cutting weight'(not dieting) is, somehow, a benefit. Its a fairytale that we tell ourselves and one we've told for decades. Its a win at all costs mentality that poisons sport to its core. It pressures athletes to torture themselves to achieve something they've been convinced will make it all worth it. It doesn't. No amount of success makes up for the pain of cutting weight. The time lost, that you could be better used doing anyone of a number of things to improve their chances of wrestling. All without putting their health in jeopardy. 

It reminds me of the cliched trope of 'well, I did it and I turned out alright so why can't they do it, too'. The thing is, YOU DIDN'T TURN OUT ALL RIGHT! If for no other reason then you can't see how messed up it was that YOU had to do it at all. Making someone else do it the same way, knowing in the back of your mind how messed up it is/was, is dishonest and mean. I don't mind fighting the inertia that comes with change. But I do mind when people aren't honest about why they are fighting the change. 

Oh... and examples? No! You'll have to buy the book. 

That's a great take.... from 1998.

It's a nonsense take....from 2022. 

Now who is it that is insisting that unhealthy ways of cutting is the way to go? 

Who are the examples? 

You wore out your schtick in 5 posts... probably a new record. 

 

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24 minutes ago, TwoPointTakeDown said:

The pushback is from those who insist that dropping to a lower weight class by 'cutting weight'(not dieting) is, somehow, a benefit. Its a fairytale that we tell ourselves and one we've told for decades. Its a win at all costs mentality that poisons sport to its core. It pressures athletes to torture themselves to achieve something they've been convinced will make it all worth it. It doesn't. No amount of success makes up for the pain of cutting weight. The time lost, that you could be better used doing anyone of a number of things to improve their chances of wrestling. All without putting their health in jeopardy. 

It reminds me of the cliched trope of 'well, I did it and I turned out alright so why can't they do it, too'. The thing is, YOU DIDN'T TURN OUT ALL RIGHT! If for no other reason then you can't see how messed up it was that YOU had to do it at all. Making someone else do it the same way, knowing in the back of your mind how messed up it is/was, is dishonest and mean. I don't mind fighting the inertia that comes with change. But I do mind when people aren't honest about why they are fighting the change. 

Oh... and examples? No! You'll have to buy the book. 

It's a basic balancing test.  If you are deciding between141 and 149, the 141 opponents on average are materially easier to beat. So the question is are you stronger relative to the 149 field when you weigh 149, or are you able to cut weight efficiently enough that you will be stronger compared to the 141 field when you weigh 141 then you were compared to the 149 field when you weighed 149.

You eloquently argue the bad things about cutting weight.  But you are disdainfully dismissing the other side.  You seem to think that at a human level it's never worth it.  That's a fair position. 

But lots of people cut weight effectively enough that they win more, and their position is fair, too -- they prefer the wins and the championships, which to them outweigh the suffering, with the suffering even making the success sweeter. 

For instance, I bet McDonough, a very intelligent man, would tell you that he would not have won any championships at 133 and that the cutting was worth his two national championships, and that he bears no long term scars from the cutting.  That's his call, not ours. 

Cutting weight, particularly under current rules, is not nearly as big a risk as the tradeoff that football players make in literally risking their lives from CTE damage.  It's probably more like pitchers, who have serious and unique risk of arm injuries, but the reward to them outweighs the risk.  

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35 minutes ago, Idaho said:

That's a great take.... from 1998.

It's a nonsense take....from 2022. 

Now who is it that is insisting that unhealthy ways of cutting is the way to go? 

Who are the examples? 

You wore out your schtick in 5 posts... probably a new record. 

 

I'll admit I'm new at posting and have been known to rub people the wrong way due to my rhetorical style. However, I am not new to the sport or having opinions about it. But it doesn't feel as if you offered any substance in your response. Just criticism of the new kid's funny haircut. Why be such a cliché?  If you don't like what I'm saying, change the channel. I've offered a point of view on an issue that is important and that thousands of kids struggle with every year. 

Unhealthy weight cutting, in 2022, is happening. That you refuse to acknowledge it, doesn't make it any less true. Rules to curb the practice will and have helped. Its great there have not been any reported deaths, recently. But what they've done is pushed things into the shadows and underground. As a culture we need to acknowledge, as I have, that cutting weight is dangerous, unnecessary, and ultimately a hindrance to the sport. Discipline is one thing. Cutting weight is desperation masquerading as discipline. Anyone that says otherwise is lying. 

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13 minutes ago, TwoPointTakeDown said:

I'll admit I'm new at posting and have been known to rub people the wrong way due to my rhetorical style. However, I am not new to the sport or having opinions about it. But it doesn't feel as if you offered any substance in your response. Just criticism of the new kid's funny haircut. Why be such a cliché?  If you don't like what I'm saying, change the channel. I've offered a point of view on an issue that is important and that thousands of kids struggle with every year. 

Unhealthy weight cutting, in 2022, is happening. That you refuse to acknowledge it, doesn't make it any less true. Rules to curb the practice will and have helped. Its great there have not been any reported deaths, recently. But what they've done is pushed things into the shadows and underground. As a culture we need to acknowledge, as I have, that cutting weight is dangerous, unnecessary, and ultimately a hindrance to the sport. Discipline is one thing. Cutting weight is desperation masquerading as discipline. Anyone that says otherwise is lying. 

You ain't fooling us Cinnabuns. 

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1 hour ago, drag it said:

It's a basic balancing test.  If you are deciding between141 and 149, the 141 opponents on average are materially easier to beat. So the question is are you stronger relative to the 149 field when you weigh 149, or are you able to cut weight efficiently enough that you will be stronger compared to the 141 field when you weigh 141 then you were compared to the 149 field when you weighed 149.

You eloquently argue the bad things about cutting weight.  But you are disdainfully dismissing the other side.  You seem to think that at a human level it's never worth it.  That's a fair position. 

But lots of people cut weight effectively enough that they win more, and their position is fair, too -- they prefer the wins and the championships, which to them outweigh the suffering, with the suffering even making the success sweeter. 

For instance, I bet McDonough, a very intelligent man, would tell you that he would not have won any championships at 133 and that the cutting was worth his two national championships, and that he bears no long term scars from the cutting.  That's his call, not ours. 

Cutting weight, particularly under current rules, is not nearly as big a risk as the tradeoff that football players make in literally risking their lives from CTE damage.  It's probably more like pitchers, who have serious and unique risk of arm injuries, but the reward to them outweighs the risk.  

You say 'cutting weight effectively'. You'll have to to define that a little better/further. Because, I don't think we are talking about the same thing. Dieting and cutting weight are not the same thing. 

Matt, was a great wrestler. I have a hard time believing he wouldn't have had a, better than average, amount of success at a higher weight class. But maybe its his mentality that won't let him admit an uncomfortable truth. He could have.  A la, Jayson Ness. I imagine there was a great deal of pressure on him to stay at 125. The coaches, the team race, Tony Ramos, and any number of other things. Its folly of him to 'admit' he wouldn't have had as much success. He has no idea. And the health implication may not be known for years. That's my point. The standards the NCAA uses to measure hydration would indicate the majority of people on the street are at a noncompliant level of hydration. Drink more water, people! But regularly dehydrating yourself and maintaining it for an extended period of time can do long lasting damage to your kidneys. Damage that may not manifest itself in the short term. So, you claiming that he has no health implications from cutting weight, is hard to believe. 

The what-about-ism in comparing risks of CTE and cutting weight only serves to make my point. The manifestation of CTE only happens after the player retires. Current fans push back against the rules being changed to curb head injuries that lead to CTE because they feel it changes the game in a negative way. 

We change rules in wrestling to keep athletes from getting hurt(cut backs, side headlock jump over, single leg ankle breaker-thing). All of those techniques came about when someone realized they could get an advantage. We realized that a few getting an advantage wasn't worth the risk. Lets just buy in to that mentality with regards to cutting weight. Is all I'm saying. 

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