The Basics of Wrestling

The Basics

A wrestling match consists of three (3) 2, 1 ½, 1 minutes periods depending on age.  The clock runs continuously except for referee stoppages.  The goal is to pin your opponents’ shoulders to the mat or score more points than your opponent at the end of the match.  If the match is tied at the end of regulation, overtime will follow.  Each match will produce a winner.  There are no ties in wrestling.

How to Win

As we mentioned in the Basics, a wrestler must defeat his opponent via pin-fall or points.  A pin (or fall) takes place when a wrestler puts the opponent on his/her back with any part of both shoulder blades in contact with the mat for two seconds.  The match immediately ends upon pin-fall.  Regardless of score, the bout match is recorded simply as "Fall", along with a time of fall.  A pin-fall can occur by either wrestler regardless of score.  A wrestler can trail by ten points in a match, for example, and still pin the opponent.  This wrestler would then be declared the winner of the match.

If there is no pin, the wrestler who scores more points by the end of the match is declared the winner.  If one wrestler leads his opponent by 15 or more points at any time during the match, the referee will stop the match and award the victory to the leading wrestler.  This is called a technical fall.  A technical fall can take place at any time during a match.

How to Score

Takedown (2 points) - A wrestler scores two points for taking the opponent down to the mat and then gaining control.

Escape (1 point) - After a wrestler gains control, the opponent may escape out from the bottom to a neutral (both standing) position.

Reversal (2 points) - When the bottom wrestler (the wrestler who is being controlled) reverses control and gains control over the opponent, it is considered a reversal.

Near Fall (2 or 3 points) - Near fall points are also known as back points.   Near fall points are awarded when a wrestler gains control over the opponent and puts the opponent on his/her back.  The controlling wrestler must expose the bottom wrestler's back for at least two seconds to score points. 

Penalty Points (1 or 2 points) - Referees can award penalty points to the opponent of wrestlers who commit illegal holds, technical violations, unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct, and stalling. 

Earning three or more cautions awards penalty points to the opponent.  In addition, a referee can stop a match and award a victory if the referee ejects a wrestler from the match due to flagrant misconduct.

The Match

First Period - The match consists of three (3) varying time periods.  At the beginning of the first period, both wrestlers start in the neutral position.  This means that both are standing, and neither wrestler is in control of the other one.

Second Period - For the second and third periods, the two wrestlers alternate with a preference of starting position.   The wrestler that earns first choice must choose between the following options: beginning the second period in control (on top), under control (on bottom), without control (standing/neutral), or defer (giving the choice to the opponent, thus saving the choice for the beginning of the third period).  Since wrestlers earn one point for an escape, many wrestlers choose the "down" position with the hope of escaping from their opponent and scoring a point.

Third Period - The wrestler who did not make the choice at the beginning of the second period chooses at the beginning of the third.  This wrestler can choose top, bottom, or neutral (standing) only.  Since the third period is the last period of regulation, there is nothing to defer.

Overtime (if necessary) - If the match is tied at the end of the third period, overtime will be needed to resolve the match.  There are no ties.