At the start of a tournament match wrestlers will usually be given colored anklets. Generally, one wrestler will wear a green anklet while the other wrestler will wear red. The significance of the colors is that they correspond to the colors worn by the referee. The referee will have a green band on one wrist and a red on the other. As the match proceeds, the referee will signal the award of points to a wrestler by holding up that wrestler's color.
As you look at the wrestling mat you will notice a large circle going around the perimeter of the mat, this is the out-of-bounds indicator. Each wrestler must stay within the circumference of this larger circle to score points. In most cases you will also notice a smaller circle within the larger one, this is referred to as the center of the mat. Contained within the center of the mat are 2 parallel lines or a box, this is the starting point for each period.
After the wrestler has his/her anklet on and proceeds to the center of the mat the referee will ask the timer, score keeper, and the wrestlers if they are ready. If everyone is ready to begin the referee will ask each of the wrestlers to shake hands and get ready to start. To start a match each wrestler will be in the "Neutral" position. The neutral position is where both wrestlers face each other in a standing position. Each wrestler is required to have at least one foot on the neutral line before the match is allowed to proceed. Once the wrestlers are in the starting neutral position, the referee will blow his whistle to start the match.
From the neutral position, each wrestler is attempting to score points on his/her opponent by taking that opponent down. If a wrestler is successful in taking down the opponent and is in control of the opponent the referee will award that wrestler 2 points for a "takedown". To indicate the points, the referee will hold up the hand with that wrestlers corresponding color and flash 2 fingers up and then down towards the mat. It should be noted that a wrestler must be in control of the other wrestler to score the takedown points. Generally this means that the scoring wrestler is on top, behind, or in some way free of his/her opponents advantage.
Once a wrestler has taken down his/her opponent they must now try to turn that opponent to their back. A wrestler who has successfully taken down his/her opponent must continue to wrestle or be warned for "stalling". The same applies to the wrestler who was taken down, they must try to escape the control of the top wrestler. If a wrestler receives 2 warnings for stalling his/her opponent will receive 1 point on the next stalling warning. Stalling warnings carry over from one period to the other and are accumulated during that entire match. If a wrestler receives too many stalling deductions they automatically lose the match.
As the top wrestler (the one who took down his/her opponent) continues to wrestle they will use various holds to turn over their opponent, one such hold is the half nelson. This is when the top wrestler threads his/her arm under the arm and over the head of their opponent. By doing so a wrestler can "expose" (turn their opponents back past a 90 degree angle with the mat) their opponent and score points. If the top wrestler successfully exposes his/her opponent for more then 2 seconds without the continuation of a move he/she will score 2 "Near Fall" points. However, if the top wrestler can expose his/her opponent for more then 5 continuous seconds they will receive 3 near fall or "back points". The referee will award the amount of back points/near fall points a wrestler receives by holding up the corresponding colored arm and indicated with his/her hand the points and tapping their back.
If the first period expires with no pin/fall, the referee will stop the wrestlers and bring them back to the center of the mat. At this point the referee will flip a coin or colored disk and ask a wrestler to "call-it". If the wrestler wins the coin toss it is "their choice" as to how they would like to start the second period. A wrestler could choose to defer his/her choice until the third period and allow his/her opponent to choose how they will start the period. The choices a wrestler could make are top, bottom, or neutral. If the wrestler chooses the neutral position each wrestler will be starting as they did in the first period. Each wrestler is facing each other as they start. However, if the wrestler so chooses they could start in the bottom position. The objective of the bottom wrestler is to either reverse their position with the top wrestler or escape from the top wrestler. The bottom wrestler may execute some common moves such as a sit-out, switch, or a stand-up. If a wrestler successfully executes a switch for example they will end up on top of the other wrestler and receive 2 points for the executed move. If the bottom wrestler executes a stand-up and can break free from the control of the top wrestler they will receive 1 point for an escape. The referee will generally signal that the bottom wrestler is free by indicating no control.
If the wrestler chose the top position they must try to turn their opponent to their back. As the two wrestlers continue to wrestle there may be a point in the match when the referee determines that neither wrestler can complete or advance a move. In this case the referee will call a stalemate and break/stop the wrestlers moving them back to the center of the mat to start over. If the wrestler on top ever locks his arms around the bottom wrestler while still being on the mat and not having control of at least one arm the top wrestler will be called for locked hands. If this happens the referee will stop the match and award the bottom wrestler one point. At any point in the match a wrestler may not grab or hold the clothing of his /her opponent.
After the second period expires, the wrestler who has not made a choice on how to start a period chooses the starting position of this period. As the period begins the referee will ask the bottom wrestler to get set. The bottom wrestler will have to place their knees on one line and their hands in front of the other line located in the center of the mat. After the bottom man indicates to the referee that he/she is set the referee will allow the top wrestler to get position. If the top wrestler tries to get into position too soon or either wrestler moves before the referee indicates to start then that wrestler will be cautioned for a false start. If the wrestler is cautioned again, the other wrestler will be awarded a point.
As the wrestlers continue the match they are each trying to score points or pins/falls. If a wrestler attempts to score a point on another wrestler with an illegal move (i.e. a full nelson), the referee will blow the whistle and stop the match. The referee will award the offended wrestler a point and start the match again from the center of the mat. If one wrestler has control over another and is trying to score, they may unintentionally be in a position where the move they are executing is legal but potentially dangerous. If this occurs the referee will stop the match and again move the wrestlers back to the center of the mat.
Throughout the match wrestlers will be performing different moves. A wrestler can only score on the move if they are in-bounds. A wrestler is considered in-bounds if three points of their body and their opponent's body are within the larger circle. If one wrestler tries to execute a move and their opponent or their own body carries over the outer circle, the referee may blow his/her whistle and have the participants move back to the center of the mat. The referee may or may not award points to a wrestler if the referee deems the move completed before the wrestlers moved out-of-bounds.
Wrestling is a physically demanding sport with many emotions. As wrestlers do combat with each other, sometimes emotions can take over and cause one wrestler to over react. If a referee determines that an individual is or has over-reacted they will blow the whistle and call a technical violation. Depending on the infraction, the offending wrestler may have a point deducted from their score or forfeit the match.
During the season, if you have any questions about scoring, moves, or potential infractions please do talk to the coaches of the team. The coaches will do their very best to address any questions you may have.