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What to Expect at a Youth Wrestling Tournament


  • USA Wrestling Card
  • Wrestling shoes
  • NWWC Singlet - usually issued at weigh-ins at the tournament
  • Headgear (optional at most tournaments)
  • Warm up gear (shorts, t-shirt) to wear over the singlet and before/between matches
  • Water/fluids, snacks and maybe a lunch (concessions are usually available)
  • Camera/Camcorder

If not pre-registered, you can register at the door for most weekend tournaments; the exception would be the State Championship Tournaments where you must pre-register to enter. The registration cost is typically $20 per wrestler or $5 more if registering at the door. If registering at the door, you will usually fill out a slip of paper with your wrestler's name, date of birth and club name (use "NWWC"). If pre-registered, that paper will be at the registration table and filled in for you. Pay and take the registration paperwork along with a copy of your USA Wrestling Card to weigh-ins. It is a good idea to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the end of weigh-ins, which usually occur from 7-8am.

After registering, you will need to take your wrestler to the weigh-in area (usually well marked with signs) where they have their paperwork collected, their USA Card verified, their weight recorded, their skin checked for any conditions (impetigo, ringworm, etc.), and their fingernails checked to make sure they're not too long. All wrestlers are required to weigh-in in only their competition singlet with both straps up (no socks). Wrestlers can either change into their singlet at weigh-ins or wear their singlet to the tournament under their clothes/pajamas.

After all wrestlers are weighed-in, tournament officials will take a couple hours to create brackets (this is a great time to get breakfast). All USAW tournaments bracket wrestlers by age (within one year) and weight (within 5 lbs). The number of matches that your wrestler will have depends on the number of other kids in their bracket.

As soon as your wrestler has been weighed-in, and usually after breakfast, you are welcome to find a seat in the gym and your wrestlers can begin warming up on the wrestling mats. Please begin warming up no later than 9:30am. Look for other NWWC teammates to warm-up, stretch and drill with. USA Wrestling tournaments begin at 10am.

Five or ten minutes prior to starting the tournament, wrestlers will be asked to clear the mats. At this time tournament officials will begin calling wrestlers to numbered mats over a loud speaker, usually starting with PeeWees, then Bantam, Intermediate, Novice, School Boy/Girl, Cadet, Junior, etc. When your wrestler's name and mat number is called, they should go to that assigned mat immediately and get ready to wrestle. Once all wrestlers have wrestled their first match, mat assignments will repeat.

It is the wrestler's/parent's responsibility to find an NWWC coach for each match. Please remember - NWWC may have 30 or more wrestlers at a tournament with multiple kids wrestling at the same time, so a coach may not be available for every match. A coach may also show up after a match has started. Please be patient. To be mat-side at a USAW tournament requires a USAW Coaches Card. All parents are encouraged to obtain a USAW Coaches Card ($40 + $15 background check) to ensure that their child has someone in their corner at every match.

After all matches have been wrestled in a specific bracket, and the top-3 place winners have been established, those place winners can come to the awards table to collect their 1st, 2nd or 3rd place medals, trophies or belt. Once you are done wrestling for the day (either by placing or being put out of the tournament with usually two losses), you are free to leave, or you can stay to cheer on your NWWC teammates.