Fun Wrestling Practice Games

Bruce Gabrielson
Southern Maryland Wrestling Club
Spring 1994

Introduction

Below is a list of wrestling games I have used at SMWC practices to break up the boredom when I have young kids. We have tried many games over the years, but these seem to be the most popular.

Ants

This is a game best suited for mostly smaller pre-high school wrestlers on a three piece mat.

Have your wrestlers line up by weight and then count off by two's. All ones remove their shirt. One's have control on one mat section while two's have control of the opposite mat section. The middle section is considered no-man's land.

The object is to physically pull the opposing team to your side section of the mat. Wrestlers must stay in the middle section unless actually pulling someone. Leaving the middle section to the safety of your own section can be considered fleeing and can also result in being considered out. When a wrestler is pulled to the opponents side, he is out and leaves the mat or sits down.

How Long?

Continue the action until only one or two wrestlers on a team remain.

This game takes about 10 minutes for an average (20-25 member) team.

Benefits

This game is great fun for young wrestlers. We like to use it at the end of practice in place of a warmdown.

Concerns

To keep the sides even, make sure one group doesn't move people around so they end up on the same team after the count off.

Circle Catch

This is another fun game for junior age wrestlers. Have your two largest wrestlers get in the middle of your wrestling mat's circle. They, and anyone they catch, must stay on their knees. The object is to catch all the standing wrestlers in the circle. Anyone caught or who steps on the line or outside the circle, especially when being attacked, must join those trying to catch the others.

How Long?

The game takes about 5 minutes.

Benefits

We use this at the end of a practice when we're running out of time and something quick and fun is needed as a warmdown.

Concerns

Stay on top of the action at all times. Don't let kids get too wild about running through the pack, especially smaller ones.

King of the Hill

This game is common among wrestling teams of all ages.

Line your team up against the wall by weight. Starting at the lightest end, have two wrestlers at a time come out and wrestle until one gets a takedown. The winner stays out and faces the next man higher in weight.

How Long

The process continues until you have gone through the entire team.

Benefits

This game mostly benefits the top wrestlers who can sometimes get three or four takedowns before elimination.

Concerns

The lightest wrestlers will go out quickly if you don't have many on the team. Also, the heaviest wrestler will only get one match.

Climb the Mountain (I came up with this one)

This game is good for wrestlers of all ages, especially when you have a few super stars who constantly beat up their workout partners.

Line your team up against a wall by weight. Starting at the smallest weight, pair up all wrestlers through heavy-weight. Make sure each wrestler remembers his place in the lineup. If you have an odd number of wrestlers, there will always be one wrestler (at the top or bottom) who sits out.

Spread the wrestlers out and give them one minute to take their opponent down. Once there is a takedown, the wrestlers go back to the lineup. This time, the winning wrestler is to the right of the loosing wrestler. In the event of a tie, the wrestlers always go back in the same position in line.

Next starting at the heaviest weight, pair each wrestler down to the lightest weight. Again spread out the wrestlers and give them one minute to get a takedown.

How Long

The process of pairing, getting a takedown, and going back to the line continues about 4 or 5 cycles. Constantly cycle your pairing count from smallest to largest and then back each time. However, after the second cycle, make the wrestlers continue to wrestle until the whistle blows (about 1 to 1 & 1/2 minutes).

Benefits

In addition to reducing practice boredom, the benefit of this game is to filter your wrestlers by ability such that the best will finally reach an opponent that he can't dominate. We have sometimes had to reach weight differences of 40 lbs before this condition occurred. I run the game until no wrestler continues to climb.

Time for this game varies, but generally takes about 20 minutes for an average (20-25 member) team.

Concerns

You will finally reach the situation where the same two people wrestle each other more than twice in a row. This happens first at the small and large weight ends. I will individually switch people around in a small area to relieve this situation.

Blindman Wrestling

Here is a game I got from Rob Andersen, an Iowa wrestling coach. There are many variations. Basically, you take a hooded sweatshirt( towel will work) put it over the wrestlers head so he or (she) can't see. Do this to 2 of them put them out in the center of the mat. Make them start out by touching hands, then blow whistle and let them wrestle. It teaches thinking without seeing.

Good Luck