Wrestling Games to Play
Coaching wrestling can be rewarding, but along with the rewards come challenges. Keeping your athletes motivated during practices may be one of the biggest challenges. Running the same drills can be less than energizing, and your players may become bored or even skip workouts. Incorporating fun wrestling games will not only keep your athletes coming to practice, but can also help them develop the necessary skills to become a winning grappler.
Agility and Balance Games
The toe tapper game helps a wrestler maintain balance in his stance while he works on coordinating his hands and feet. Have two wrestlers face each other and take their starting stance. Ask wrestler A to grab wrestler B's left wrist with his right hand and wrestler B grab wrestler A's left wrist with his right hand. The goal of each player is to try and tap or step on his opponent's toes while holding each other's wrists. Play the game for a set amount of time, and the wrestler with the most taps wins. An effective balance game is to have all your athletes stand on one foot, hold the other foot behind them and to start hopping side to side. Players are out if they lose their balance, and the last hopper wins.
Games for Quickness
A wrestler's ability to make quick moves is crucial for successful takedowns, escapes and reversal moves. To help your athletes improve their quickness, play the tails game. Pair up your players and have them place a sock in the waist band of their shorts behind their back with half of the sock hanging out. Ask the wrestlers to face each other and take their normal starting stance. Upon your signal, each player quickly moves and maneuvers to try and grab the other's tail. The knee slap game can also improve quickness. Two players face each other in a starting stance and try to slap the knees of their opponent. After 30 seconds, the wrestler with the most knee slaps wins.
Helping your athletes develop the necessary strength to be successful wrestlers does not always have to take place in the weight room. Many strength-building games or contests can be played during your practices. Your wrestlers can improve their core strength with the flutter-kick contest. Have your players lie of their back, lift their feet 6 inches off the floor and flutter kick up and down. The last player to maintain the kick wins. A wall sit contest can help strengthen their thigh and butt muscles. The last athlete to maintain the wall sit wins. Similar contests include total pushups and timed leg raises.
The Thinking Game
Blindfold wrestling can help your athlete think without seeing, develop good body positioning and have a sense of where he is. Cut up an old bedsheet to make the blindfolds. Have two wrestlers blindfold themselves and position them in the middle of the mat an arm's length away from each other. The athletes start by touching hands and must be in contact with each other throughout the game. Other team members can act as spotters and reposition the wrestlers to the middle of the mat if they move out of bounds. Have them wrestle for a desired amount of time or until one of the wrestlers executes a successful takedown or pin.
- The Wrestling Drill Book; Bill Welker, 2nd Edition