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The games wrestlers play.

Fifteen "fun" games with which to lighten up intense practices

Strictly speaking, wrestling coaches don't play games. They compete in matches. But there are exceptions.

At Conley H.S., we practice two hours a day and all of it is pretty intense. We realize, however, that a change of pace - a diversion from the daily routine of drilling - will sometimes be necessary. We will then shift gears and start playing "games."

These games usually consist of short contests with simple rules, involving strength, balance, and quickness. Some are intense enough to qualify as conditioning aids, while others provide a few moments of comic relief. But all are fun and challenging for young wrestlers and make excellent lead-up games for physical education and team sessions.

All these games provide a good workout as well as an enjoyable mental break from the regular practice routine.

For a further change of pace in such games as arm wrestling and Indian Wrestling, you may have the athletes switch from right hand to left hand for a second bout, or have them switch partners from time to time.

In games such as Knee Wrestling and the Rooster Fight, you may (safely) have the smaller boys challenge the bigger fellows.

In fact, even in Sumo Wrestling, you'll find the smaller athletes challenging the bigger boys with a grin and a show of bravado.

All of these little changes of pace can help pick up your team's intensity as it prepares for your Friday night match in the gym. Of course, on match nights, we expect our athletes to be all business. We don't play games - except...

The Games


The two wrestlers lie on their stomach, facing each other, locking right hands, and clasping left hands between the elbows. At the signal ("Go!"}, each tries to flatten the opponent's arm.


Wrestlers stand facing each other, with right wrists clasped, and feet flat on mat with outside of right feet touching. At signal ("Go"), each tries to force the other to move his foot or to fall to mat.


Wrestlers stand over their right foot, with left foot raised, clasping each other's right wrist. At signal, each attempts to force the other to lower his raised foot or topple to the mat. Contestants have a lot of fun hopping around.


Opponents face each other on their knees with hands held behind their backs. At signal, each attempts to knock the other over. They may move around and use their shoulders to push, but must remain on their knees.


Opponents squat down and grab the insides of their ankles from behind, palms facing out and thumbs back. At signal, each tries to knock the other over or force him to let go of his ankles; winner gets to crow like a rooster.


Wrestlers must bow as they enter circle, and one of them strikes the mat with a fist three times to start the game. The idea is to push the other on to or outside of a 10-foot circle. We divide the team into two groups of 3-5 by weight and let them take turns.


Fighters stand on one foot in a 10-foot circle with their arms folded on their chests. At signal, they try to shove the other out of the circle or down to the mat. Winner gets to growl like a bear.


Wrestlers stand up straight back to back, linking arms at the elbows (with the feet flat on the mat). At signal, each tries to lift the other onto his own back by leaning forward.


Opponents lie on back facing opposite directions, while hooking inside arms at the elbows. They call "1,2,3" while raising the inside leg high and on 3, trying to kick the opponent over. Winner lets out an Indian war cry.


Wrestlers hold the left foot up with the left hand, while clasping opponent's right wrist. At signal, they hop around while trying to make opponent fall down.


Opponents see how many times they can slap the other's knee without getting hit themselves over a specific time limit (usually 30 seconds). Calls for great quickness.


From standing position, opponents intermesh all 10 fingers and, at signal, see who can bend the other's fingers back and force him to his knees.


Opponents drop to knees, facing each other, both assuming over and under hooks. At signal, each tries to pancake the other onto his back. One foot may come up to push, but neither can stand up.


Wrestlers lock hands behind the other's back, placing the left arm over the right. The object is to lift the opponent off the mat or get him to release his starting grip.
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Author:Sherman, Milt
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Mar 1, 1998
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