WIN Article #112 Tilt Point for Folkstyle


Tilt Point for Folkstyle
By Ben Peterson

Various recommendations are made each year about rule changes that would improve the sport of wrestling. We all want wrestling to be as exciting, safe, competitive and understandable as possible. Here is my suggestion.

Give a tilt point to a wrestler who holds his opponent on his back for the full two second count even when he has not earned control.

Repeatedly wrestlers are being held on their back, clearly out of control, but no point is rewarded because our American scoring requires a takedown or reversal to be earned first. Initially US folkstyle wrestling is all about control. A wrestler must first control his opponent to score back points. But why must we control before proving back control? (Some may suggest two back points, but to start I say only one point should be awarded. After a year or more the two points could be considered and evaluated.)

As a young freestyler I recall understanding that freestyle wrestling was about tilting and not control. Learning and understanding that fact was huge to me. I believe it will be to other young Americans who seek to transition from folkstyle to freestyle. This reward for tilting without control could be significant for our young wrestlers competing internationally.

Often we hear of the recommendation to make our high school and college rules the same as freestyle believing this will better our Olympic and World Championship Teams. I am completely against that. Letting foreigners control US wrestling would make chaos of American Wrestling, as the recent "No Olympic Wrestling in 2020" situation proved. No, we should not change to freestyle, but a nearfall point awarded without control could teach American wrestlers to be stronger in their tilts and therefore stronger in freestyle.

Teaching young and older wrestlers to control their back positions is very important. It is important to keep good body positioning for all moves. Repeatedly I notice even our most advanced college wrestlers getting into poor body position, yet because control is not yet earned by their opponent they get away with it.

John and I still recall watching the NCAA division I National Championships with Levan Tedishville, 2X Olympic Champion, of George, Soviet Union. On the third day he turned to us and said, "Very elementary technique, very elementary." And we could not dispute with him. By then we had learned that protecting your own back and exposing your opponent's back emphasizes sound positioning.

So, why not consider rewarding a wrestler one exposure point for holding an opponent in a 45% position for two seconds? This could do three things:
1.) Make our young American Wrestlers conscience and knowledgeable of their back positions at all times. They would become conscience of their opponent's back position also.
2.) This could improve our young wrestler's future international success.
3.) It would reward the athletes that keep good body position instead of those who roll on their back and stay there.

I would love to hear what others think of this idea. Should we work to refine this idea for future rule evaluation?

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