Chaparral High School
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How to Watch a Wrestling Match

Each wrestling match is divided into three periods.  Yet, from the first seconds, the “sudden death” rule applies.  Each opponent is going for a “pin.”  If one succeeds, the match is over.

First Period:  Match begins with contestants facing each other on their feet. Referee signals timekeeper and commands “Wrestle.”  Each wrestler attempts to take his opponent to the mat and gain control.   This move is called a “take-down” for which the referee awards points.  A “take-down” is completed when the offensive wrestler has taken his opponent to the mat and has moved behind and on top of him, or in some manner has demonstrated control. 

After securing an advantage, the top wrestler tries to retain it, keeping his opponent under control.  He may use his hands, arms or legs, or a combination.  The underneath wrestler must at all times try to escape and gain control. 

Second period:  Starts with one wrestler choosing neutral, top or bottom position.  To allow each wrestler the chance to start from their best position, one team has second period choice in odd-numbered matches and the other in even-numbered matches.

A wrestler choosing top position attempts to pin his opponent or retain control, while the underneath wrestler tries to reverse his position.  When a wrestler on top trying to pin his opponent fails to do so, he may still be given points for a partially successful attempt. 

Third period:  Second wrestler now has choice of positions. 

Note:  When wrestlers go off the edge of the mat, the referee brings the contest to the center of the mat, placing the wrestlers on the mat in a position determined by the referee (position is based on the wrestlers’ position as they went off the mat). 

 Wrestling Terminologies/Point System

 What is a takedown?  When one wrestler takes his opponent from his feet and/or neutral position to the mat with two supporting points on the mat. 

How many points would an official give for a takedown?

2 points

What is an escape?  Escapes are when each wrestler is in the down position, the wrestler on bottom clears himself and faces his opponent.

How many points are earned for an escape?        

1 point

What is a reversal?  A reversal is earned when the two wrestlers are in the down position, the wrestler on bottom maneuvers and negotiates his position, while still on bottom, to take over the top position.

What is a near fall?  Near fall suggests that one wrestler had his opponent in a position to be pinned, but his opponent recovered from the pinning position to return to his stomach. 

How many points do you receive for near fall opportunities?  If the referee gives two swipes with his hand, you would receive 2 points for near fall.  If the referee gives 5 swipes with his hand, you would receive 3 points for near fall. 

Scenario:  If two wrestlers were in the neutral position on their feet, and one wrestler took the other wrestler down to the mat (i.e. a takedown) putting him in a near fall situation and held him there for 5 swipes by the referee, how many total points would he/she have scored?

In a wrestling dual meet how many team points would be earned for a pin?

6 points

In a wrestling dual meet how many team points are earned for a regular decision (example: 10 to 8) score in a single match? 

3 points

In a wrestling dual meet how many team points are earned for an 8-point decision? 

4 points

“Technical superiority” means you out scored your opponent by 15 points before the regulation time expired.


Chaparral High School 6935 E. Gold Dust Ave. Scottsdale, AZ 85253 (480)484-6500
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