Wrestling Terminology

Back points - points awarded for exposing an opponent's back to the mat; in folkstyle (scholastic) wrestling, the back must be exposed for at least two seconds to earn points. Either 2 points (two to four seconds) or 3 points (five seconds or longer) will be awarded.

Bottom Position (Disadvantage) - one of two components of referee's position; one man goes down to his hands and knees, sitting back on his feet. The wrestler in this position is called the bottom man.

Breakdown - the process of breaking an opponent beneath you to his stomach or side. This often makes turning him over for a pin easier.

Control - the dominating position which restricts the opponent's mobility; usually, the man on top is the one with control. In the neutral position, neither wrestler has control until a takedown is achieved.

Dual Meet - A competition between two wrestling teams and consists of wrestling matches in each of the weight classes. Each competitor will wrestle an opponent from the opposing team who is in the same weight class.

Escape - when a bottom man frees himself from the top man's control, coming out of bottom position. 1 point in awarded.

Fall - A fall (or pin) occurs when both scapula (shoulder blades) of either wrestler are held in contact with mat for two continuous seconds. Both scapula must be inbounds.

Five Point Move - In folkstyle wrestling, a move (reversal or takedown) will score five points if the opponent is taken directly to a pinning situation and 3-point near-fall criteria is met.

Freestyle - an international style of wrestling emphasizing dramatic action and takedowns.

Greco-Roman - an international style of wrestling in which leg attacks are forbidden. This places great emphasis on throws.

Headgear - gear worn to protect the ears during wrestling.

Level Change - bending at the knees (not the waist) to raise or lower the hips. This is used to position oneself for certain takedowns.

Lift - to take an opponent off the mat entirely (both feet). An efficient lift involves positioning your hips lower than the opponent's and using them to lift by arching into the opponent.

Match - the actual contest between two wrestlers; aka "bout."

Meet - an organized competition between two (or more) wrestling teams.

Near Fall Criteria / Near Fall Points - The criteria for earning a near fall is when the offensive wrestler has control of his opponent in a pinning situation, and both shoulders or scapula of the defensive wrestler are held within four inches (or less) of the mat; OR when one scapula is touching the mat and the other scapula is within an angle of 45 degrees (or less) to the mat. The defensive wrestler's shoulders or scapula must be inbounds to earn near fall points.

Near Fall Points - If near-fall criteria are met for two continuous seconds, two points are earned. If near-fall criteria are met for five continuous seconds, then three points are earned. Near-Fall points are also called "back points".

Near-Fall - having had an opponent's back exposed long enough to earn back points.

Neutral Position - the starting position of a match, with both wrestlers standing facing each other, not in contact.

Optional Start - instead of taking the usual top position, a wrestler may choose the "optional" starting position; the wrestler places both hands on the bottom man's back and keeps his knees off the mat. When this option is chosen, the referee must inform the bottom man so he may adjust his position. Optional start is frequently used when the intention is to allow the bottom man an uncontested escape, but not always.

Penetration - the distance covered when driving into an opponent for a takedown. Good penetration (getting in tight to the opponent) increases your chance of a successful takedown.

Pin - having both of your opponent's shoulder blades on the mat for a specified length of time. In folkstyle, this is two seconds for high school and below, and one second in college. In both international styles, this is for any instant.

Referee's Position - The Referee's position is a starting position in which one wrestler begins in the defensive position and his opponent begins from the offensive position. The defensive wrestler is located in the center of the circle on his hands and knees. His hands and knees must be behind the starting lines on the mat. The offensive wrestler position himself on either side of his opponent with at least one knee on the mat on the side chosen. Offensive wrestler must also place the palm of his hand on his opponent's stomach and the other hand on the opponent's elbow.

Reversal - It is a reversal when the defensive wrestler comes from underneath and gains control of his opponent, either on the mat or in a rear standing position, while inbounds.

Scholastic - a style of wrestling, also known as "folkstyle." Emphasizes control more than do the international styles; this is the style used (only) in U.S. schools and colleges.

Setup - an action designed to distract the opponent or cause a reaction, allowing an easier takedown.

Singlet - a tight, sleeveless, one-piece outfit worn by wrestlers during their matches.

Slamming - lifting an opponent off the mat and bringing them back down with unnecessary force. This is illegal in folkstyle wrestling.

Stalling - Stalling is when a wrestler does not wrestle aggressively; continuously avoids contact with his opponent; plays the edge of the mat; delays the match; prevents his opponent from returning to inbounds area; is not attempting to secure a takedown. A wrestler will be warned one time and is penalized on each successive stalling infraction.

Stance - footwork used when in neutral position or when both wrestlers are facing each other, neither in control. A good stance involves feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, back straight, elbows in, hands out in front, and head up.

Takedown - A takedown occurs when, from a neutral position, a wrestler gains control over his opponent down on the mat and inbounds.

Technical Fall - A technical fall occurs when a wrestler has outscored his opponent by a wide margin, and the match is terminated as if there were a pin. If the wrestler reaches the point differential on a move that places his opponent in a pinning situation, then the offensive wrestler is given the opportunity to pin his opponent. The situation continues until the period end, a pin occurs, or the pinning situation ends. A "tech fall" is a 15-point differential in junior high, high school or college wrestling, and usually 12 points in grade school wrestling (OURWAY).

Throw - when a wrestler is lifted off the mat (both feet) by an opponent and brought back down behind the thrower.

Tie-Up - a wrestler grabbing his opponent's upper body, usually in preparation for a move or to gain a measure of control over his motion. Commonly the arms/wrists and/or back of the neck are grasped.

Top Position (Advantage) - one of the two components of referee's position; after the bottom man has positioned himself, the other wrestler places his knee down to one side of his opponent, and his other foot planted behind the opponent, knee up. The hand on the same side as the down knee grasps the opponent's near elbow, and the other hand reaches around the waist to rest on the navel. At this point, the referee will signal to begin wrestling. The man in top position is called the top man.

Weight Class - groupings determined by weight; the wrestler must be exactly on or below the specified weight to qualify for the weight class.