WIN ARTICLE #126 Nearfall Points for Folkstyle Before Control


Nearfall Points for Folkstyle Before Control
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 exciting, safe, competitive and understandable. And we each desire a method of scoring that determines who the superior wrestler is. To those ends I make the following recommendation:

Give one tilt point to a wrestler who holds his opponent on his back in a 45 degree position for the full four 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 U.S. folkstyle wrestling is all about control. A wrestler must first control his opponent before he can score back points. But why must we control the entire body before proving back control? (Some may suggest two back points, but to start I say only one point should be awarded.)

Teaching wrestlers to control their back position 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 and really do not learn the value of good positioning of their entire body.

As a young freestyler I recall understanding that freestyle wrestling was about tilting and not control. Learning and understanding tilting was huge to me and to my personal development as a wrestler. That was a huge benefit for both my folkstyle wrestling and my freestyle wrestling. I believe it will be to other young Americans who seek to transition from folkstyle to freestyle. This reward for tilting before takedown 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 U.S. 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.

I still recall watching the NCAA division I National Championships with my brother John and Levan Tedishville, 2 time Olympic Champion, of Georgia, 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 a much more sound and advanced body positioning.

So, why not consider rewarding a wrestler one exposure point for holding an opponent in a 45 degree position for 4 seconds? This could do the following things:

1.) Encourage more scoring from the feet than just takedowns. College wrestlers will invent many innovative ways to earn this point.

2). Make our young American Wrestlers conscience and knowledgeable of their back position. They would also become more mature in knowing where their opponent's back is.

3.) As always it would reward the athletes that keep good body position.

4). This could improve our young wrestler's future international success.

5). This could become a very fair way to break many ties on the feet.

I would love to hear what others think of this idea. Should we work to refine this idea for future rule evaluation? I strongly think so, and so do many others that have considered this idea!

Find other articles and a new book called “ROAD TO GOLD” by Ben at: Today Ben & John Peterson run Camp of Champs Wrestling Camps. Contact them at: PO Box 222 Watertown, WI 53094 800-505-5099

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