According to US NEWS there were more than 7.6 million students that played sports during the 2010-2011 school years or an estimated 55.5% of all high school students. Of those athletes there were 273,732 boys and 7,351 girls that participated in the sport of wrestling as reported by themat.com . The number of athletes participating in the sport has increased every year since 1990, which is a very promising sign for the sport.
For those not familiar with High School wrestling, it is nothing like the high flying, choreographed circus known as professional wrestling. Instead it is an intense sport performed by young men and women of all shapes and sizes and from many diverse backgrounds. Aside from the obvious benefit of participating in High School sports, wrestling might just be the best sport to prepare a child for the real world later on in life, especially in a leadership capacity.
Here are three reasons why wrestlers can make effective leaders later in life…….
There are few physical limits that would prevent a child from competing- Wrestling has a number of weight classes, so unlike basketball, football or other sports a child that is 5’0” and 100 pounds has no disadvantage and a child that is 6’ 3” and 250 pounds does not necessarily have an advantage. In fact it goes beyond mere height and weight. Anthony Robles won a NCAA National championship for Arizona State University in the 125lb division with just one leg, try that in football, baseball or basketball! The lesson that is taught here is that no matter what you look like, are built like or what perceived weaknesses you have you can still participate! This is a critical part of teaching a child confidence and how important getting out there is, as they say “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.
Physical ability alone will not make a champion- Wrestling is beyond the shadow of a doubt a very physical sport and even though there are no strikes allowed it is not uncommon for the athletes to finish a match with a number of bumps, bruises and abrasions. Even with the physicality of the sport it is quite common to see a physical specimen get easily dominated on the mat by a grappler with more experience and skill. This is unlike other sports such as track, football or basketball where just being fast, or tall or massive instantly gives the player an immediate and obvious advantage even over other players that have been practicing for two, three or more years. Being knowledgeable, technical and clever is a tremendous advantage over someone who perhaps has more natural gifts but less training and is an important lesson to teach a child regarding training.
Technical ability alone will not make a champion- Just a moment ago it was made clear that in wrestling, knowledge and technical ability trumps athleticism and this is true to a point. However, as the skill level and technical ability get closer together the athlete that is quicker, stronger and that has more endurance is more likely to win. There are only so many techniques and moves that can be mastered during wrestling and unless the student has been practicing wrestling since an early age it is likely that even experienced wrestlers will have a similar level of technical ability to draw from. Once the technical ability is neutralized the athlete that has spent the most time running, lifting weights and working on speed will likely be the eventual winner of his or her match. This teaches kids that being smart and clever is not enough. It breeds out the work smart not hard mentality and replaces it with a work smart AND hard mindset!
In closing, high school wrestling offers many valuable life lessons that will never be forgotten. It teaches fitness, unarmed self-defense and most importantly the value of taking risks, working smart and working hard. These are all values that should give a child a wonderful advantage and head start when moving on to college or into the workforce. This are the same traits that future business leaders attempt to learn early on in their careers while the kids that have participated in wrestling will already have gained these effective leadership skills.