How Girls Can Do Wrestling at the High School Level
Once considered an activity only for boys, girls are increasingly participating in wrestling at the high school level. There are now more than 30,000 girls who participate in wrestling nationwide, and many of them are competing at the highest levels.
One of the reasons for this growth is that wrestling has become more gender-inclusive in recent years. A number of states have sanctioned girls wrestling, establishing weight classes for women from 100 pounds up to 235 pounds and putting on girl-only state championships.
Despite its growing popularity, however, there are still some barriers to girls wrestling at the high school level. For example, some coaches have a negative perception of female athletes and may have lower expectations for them than for their male student-athletes.
As a result, some girls who are interested in wrestling are often turned away by schools or clubs that do not accept their participation, according to USA Wrestling’s director of communications Gary Abbott. Ultimately, the best way to encourage more girls to try wrestling is to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
Coaches who are supportive of the sport also have a positive impact on its growth, Yamamoto and Fulp said in a presentation. They also take the time to teach girls wrestling skills and help them build a team, which can increase the likelihood that girls will want to wrestle as an adult.
While it’s important for a coach to be willing to help out with girls’ wrestling, it’s also crucial for girls to be able to compete on their own merit. It’s no different from trying out for a baseball or basketball team.
For girls who don’t have a wrestling program at their school, there are plenty of other opportunities. For instance, the National Wrestling Alliance has a listing of girls-only clubs across the country.
Another option is for girls to start their own wrestling program at the middle school or even elementary school level. This can be a great way to encourage girls to try wrestling and give them a sense of confidence they may not have otherwise gained from being on a wrestling team at their school, Van Den Heuvel says.
In fact, there are more than 30 girls wrestling programs across the nation. And, if you are interested in starting your own wrestling program, there are no minimum numbers necessary to begin.
The key is to find a wrestling coach who will be a good fit for you and your school. And, as with other sports, it’s a good idea to talk with your parents about the sport.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that wrestling is an arduous sport. It isn’t for the fainthearted, but if you are willing to put in the time and work hard, you should be able to get on a team and compete.
Until now, there has been a big gap between the number of girls who are involved in wrestling and the number of teams. But that is changing, and the number of girls who are competing in wrestling at the high school level is only going to continue to grow. As more and more states sanction girls wrestling, the possibilities for more girls to compete will only expand.