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headshuck

Stalling has to be addressed

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Moreno deserved a point for being the aggressor the entire 3rd period over Moore. WHY wasn't a point awarded? You could tell Gable was expecting the call but it didn't happen. I thought this year was the year we were going to see more action?
The rule is fine. The refs need balls.

 

This comes up every time someones team lost in a match where their wrestler was the aggressor. Guess what - that's life, it happens.

 

Stalling is very arbitrary. If you don't like it lets go to the pushout. I'll admit, I'm for nearly anything, in any sport, that takes officials' subjective calls out of the equation.

 

The pushout has worked very well in Freestyle and would in Folk as well. If you want, make a pushout TD only worth 1 point, etc. It could work, and would be a much more realistic solution to your problem than expecting officials to be consistent about something that is, by definition, subjective.

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Mike Allen, back in my high school days in Waverly Shell Rock, flat out told us in the pre-dual meeting the following: 1) if your opponent takes 3 consecutive shots in a row to your none, you're going to get called. .

 

That's absolutely horrible, imo. This mentality is exactly why the US always finds itself playing catch up in the international styles - when in doubt flail away at your opponent, let the ref bail you out. Nevermind the fact that a kid could try multiple drags, shucks or throws - none of this matters to "if you're not constantly shooting, you must be stalling" crowd.

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When it comes to stalling/ref's having the greatest impact on the match, I'd say it comes in the TB. We see it all the time & usually the second 30 sec tb where the top man automatically drops to the leg & holds on for dear life & many refs give them that 5-7 sec before calling a stalemate w/o a warning. IMO if the top wrestler (in TB) drops to the leg, the ref should blow the whistle instantly & call the stalemate & advise wrestler that if he drops to the leg again, that he will once again instantly stop action & issue a stall call.

 

I think the result of this would be that you would see the initial start of the TB being a wrestler trying to control the bottom man by wrist control/breakdown or a claw ride, legs, etc rather than automatically dropping to the leg off the get go. I'm sure that if a stalemate occurred after first flurry of action that on the subsequent restart dropping to a leg would occur, but it would result in an immediate stoppage w/ limited time running off & more than likely a 3rd restart.

 

Just my humble opinion.

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Even if we eliminate riding time guys will still stall on top, because every second your opponent spends on bottom is time he's not scoring on you. Guys like Dake don't get four minutes of riding time for the point, they're doing it to take their opponent out of the match.

 

 

 

I think more refs will be likely to call stalling on top if you are not able to score a point by riding. Right now you could consider it not stalling because you are trying to score just by building over 1 minute of riding. I think riding time needs to go.

 

I used to hate the idea of the pushout rule, but now, after watching where it is used more, I think it could work. I thought a majority of the time, the pushout rule awarded the offensive wrestler, obviously not all the time though.

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I agree that riding time needs to go. All it does is add extra incentive to do something that is supposed to be against the rules. I enjoy watching guys like Steiber, Oliver, Taylor, and Ruth that wreck guys from the top position. But I've grown tired of watching matches where most of the "action" is taking place on the mat without anything happening. If you go to Flo and watch matches, you can see that most college matches are now in the 9-12 minute range for elapsed time, with some taking even longer than that. There's simply not enough time in the day to watch matches unless you fast forward through the long sections where nothing happens, which unfortunately is about 75+ percent of the match. And unless you're watching a Steiber match, or one of the other few guys that actually tries a turn, you might as well skip all the mat wrestling. The thing I like about Steiber is that he's willing to commit to a turn even if it means the bottom guy might get out and escape. Most guys on top are so scared of letting the bottom guy go that they are unwilling to risk committing to a move. They won't even try an arm bar because the opponent might get out before they can trap the arm. So instead they remain in a safe ride like a claw but never do anything with it. Too bad there's no easy fix. We could institute something like a riding time clock, but instead of points, when the clock gets to 1 minute, if you haven't scored nearfall the action stops and you start on your feet. So one minute is all you get to try a turn. The problem is, the bottom guy wouldn't have any incentive to try anything. He'd just stall for a minute and then get a restart. Another option is that refs could start aggressively calling stalling on the top man. Problem with this is I think the effect would be that even more guys start cutting the bottom man, and mat wrestling will completely die off. Why waste energy on top if all that happens is you get called for stalling? Freestyle has now nearly eliminated mat wrestling. Part of the reason is they've decided that nobody likes to watch mat wrestling, so they rather have 98 percent of the match take place on the feet. I don't agree with that stance, but after watching college matches where guys get over 4 minutes of riding time but never manage even a 1 count from the ref, it's hard to argue against it.

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My perspective on this has changed a lot over the years. Some of it now sounds crazier than it used to. On the bright side, I find senility is more pleasant than people make it out to be.

 

First off, I seem to be unusually dense, since stalling is apparently an easy problem for most people. There are a bunch of examples of stalling tactics given in the college rules, but the definition is: "one or both wrestlers attempting to avoid wrestling action as an offensive or defensive strategy." Ultimately, what you're attempting to do is a mental issue, and I don't have direct access to your thoughts.

 

Now, sure, it's often plain enough what a person intends. It gets trickier, though, when the person is actively trying to deceive you. Just how tricky depends on how cunning the person trying to deceive you is... and we have some very sneaky people in this sport. Trying to simultaneously figure out what two people intend is an interesting challenge, as you learn quickly when have to call some of the less clear actions in freestyle or Greco. Trying to figure out what two sneaky people are up to, when they're both trying to con you at once? While you have to track a bunch of other stuff at the same time? I can only admire those to whom this comes easily.

 

That doesn't mean refs don't sometimes blow it (or lack the guts to call it) when it's obvious. It definitely happens. Sometimes, though, what seems obvious when you're watching from one athlete's perspective does look different when you watch it from the other side of the bleachers.

 

As far as rules go: before we go to the step-out, it'd be less drastic to borrow "the zone" from international wrestling. The zone isn't used much, anymore, because they got rid of passivity... so these days you generally just ignore what the ref yells at you. And they got rid of passivity because they don't (and shouldn't) trust their own refs.

 

We're not in that position. We certainly have good and bad refs, but we don't have the same kind of flagrantly corrupt refs. So far as I'm aware, nobody is throwing $100k at a guy in a stripey shirt (or threatening to shoot him) to make sure this or that wrestler wins the NCAA finals... and much animosity as there is between certain college programs, it's nothing like what exists between certain countries.

 

Since we trust our refs to call stalling, the zone could be a handy tool. If you hang out there, you get called for stalling faster. Likewise if you seem to be intentionally keeping the other fellow there. There could be other implications; for instance, if there's no scoring action underway when the athletes enter the zone, the ref might just blow the whistle and return the athletes to the center, so that action doesn't start in a place where the boundary is likely to become a deciding factor. This won't solve the boundary problem, but it would give refs an additional tool for addressing it.

 

Really, though, the best remedy for stalling, in my mind, is one which will probably seem quite unrealistic. Which I'll take as an excuse to tell a story.

 

When I was a little kid, my father was a grad student at Penn State, where we lived in graduate housing. My parents took me to the creamery, and to a gazebo nearby to eat the ice cream, and to a particular outdoor pool with a high diving board. It was all really, really impressive. Everything was huge.

 

Of course, when I went back as an adult, I was shocked to find how small these things were. To some extent, wrestling seems like that to me now. The view as one of many thousands of young wrestlers was that of a great marketplace, with everyone pursuing their own interests. These days, it looks a lot simpler: sure, there are lots of people, but most of them are playing follow-the-leader. The overall number of factors (and leaders) influencing them is pretty low. A lot of what we do on the mat, we do for cultural reasons, and it's not such a big a culture to change. Things could be quite different, in many ways.

 

So, my crazy idea, which only old age seems to justify to my wandering mind: teach the wrestlers not to stall.

 

Yes, there are objective factors which work against this. Rationally, stalling is sometimes the best way to win a match. Emotionally, athletes who get bitten on something (e.g. staying on the offense when winning) often have a strong emotional reaction the other way. It seems like the action of everyone acting in their own best interests would scuttle this idea.

 

Part of the answer to this is to look at the long term: an aggressive wrestler will continue to develop. Gable believes this (or something close to it; I don't want to put words in his mouth). I discussed things like this, taking injury time as a strategy, etc. with him when I was at Iowa, and he was pretty clear that he thought that what was good for the sport wasn't incompatible with what was good for an individual wrestler.

 

So, there's good precedent: fostering a culture which disdained stalling didn't ruin Iowa. And if you think about the wrestlers you've seen who try to get a lot of mileage out of playing the rules, perhaps it'll strike you that a lot of them don't continue to improve as they should.

 

But ultimately, I don't think that you can justify it all from self-interest. There are situations where stalling makes sense, even if you're looking at the big picture. I do think, though, that it's a close enough fit to make work.

 

So, not to belabor the details: teach your athletes to go thump people. It's more fun anyway. If the committed coaches buy into this, I think we could see a very satisfactory change in American wrestling.

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