A New Weigh to Run Tournaments


The impetus for a no weigh-in tournament was my time out on the east coast and seeing the successful implementation of a system where kids didn’t have to weigh in at all for normal weekend tournaments.

This system makes it much easier on parents and kids for many reasons. Imagine brackets being set the night before, no having to wake up at 5:30am, knowing the tournament will actually start at 9am and curtailing weight cutting, the single most destructive force in the sport of wrestling.

So it works like this, you register your kids at anytime before the tournament registration ends. The advice that I received when I was new to this system, and then in turn gave, was to always have the parents register their kids at their after dinner weight. This is usually their heaviest time of day, morning being the lightest. Kids had a 2-pound allowance so they can eat during the day or if they were a little heavy it is accounted for.

The night before registration would end and brackets would be made up so the work would not have to be done in the morning. The bulk of the tournament work is removed as weigh-ins and bracketing are no more. Tournaments would start as scheduled and coordinators can focus their energy on running a smoother tournament. At any time during the tournament wrestlers weight can be challenged. If over the allowance he will receive a black mark, resulting with being DQ’ed from the tournament and required to show up early at all subsequent tournaments and weigh in. (He would register his weight and then have to show up to prove it. Brackets will still be done ahead of time.) *Challenges that fail will be counted against the one challenging. 3 failed challenges and they will not be able to challenge any longer.  If a wrestler receives a second black mark they will not be able to participate in subsequent tournaments. * If a wrestler no shows they will be replaced by a bye and receive a black mark.

Spot checks will be done at random until the system takes place. While on the east coast I have never witnessed someone missing his or her allowance and I had only heard of one person that had received a black mark. I believe that it may take a year or two for this system to really take hold, but once it does it will make our tournaments much more enjoyable for new and veteran wrestlers and parents alike.

Something that I believe is that wrestling is a unique sport in respect to the culture we have and values that it promotes.  People in the wrestling world are honest and trustworthy. One resounding complaint I always hear is how we don’t have the popularity, recognition and participation that we would like. I think sometimes we are our own worst enemies though. In no other sport do parents attend meets from 7am until 5pm for two matches and a bye. A parent of a new wrestler is more likely to have an inexperienced kid who may get pinned first period. New parents are hardly excited about the system that we have in place. We need to help ourselves and improve experiences. No weigh ins and at the least two sessions for wrestlers broken up by age are just two ways we can enhance our tournaments. Happier participants beget better retention and attract more people to our sport. Our aim is to affect the greatest number of people. If they are involved in our sport they will be instilled with the values we hold dearly. Hard work, persistence, accountability, and responsibility are only a first to come to mind. Our sport changes lives and for that reason we need to reach as many people as possible.

To better serve our wrestling population we will be working to create an association where we would hold one another accountable to certain standards agreed upon between members. People that want to run great tournaments aren’t in short supply, but may not know how. It will be more work at first, but worth it. Club coaches and parents will know which tournaments will be run well and attendance will grow.

5 thoughts on “A New Weigh to Run Tournaments

  1. Mike Bambic says:

    We run tournaments from September until May.
    My wife and daughter run weigh ins, we start at 8:00 AM and finish by 8:30 AM.
    I then bracket everything using Madison block – 5 man pools.
    We are wrestling by 9am every weekend.
    If you have a good group you can have a great tourney!

  2. Mike Bambic says:

    One more thing, we went to Madison block to remove the weight cutting as much as possible, unfortunately if we did no weigh ins I would be fearful that guys (especially in the youth brackets) would be much larger, there are some competitors parents that will do anything for that advantage, fair or unfair.

  3. Mike Houston says:

    I agree with this but the only hurdle I see getting over is having kids registered. In Illinois our youth tournaments quite often get up to a couple hundred walk ups. Getting these teams to commit to a tournament schedule early would be key. I wrote an article on our web site about how the lack of duals, tris and quad meets in place of these mega tournaments are losing many first year kids and their parents. For exactly the reasons you state. Not many beginners are willing to give up an entire Sunday when they can have their child play soccer for an hour instead.
    I’m glad this is on my closed group The Wrestling Insider. Hopefully our 9,575 members will read it.

  4. Robert Gonzales says:

    Great concept and I like the process. I will share with others here in the Kansas community. I think if one major youth tournament in our state were to follow and show success. That some others may follow.

  5. Matt Bequette says:

    For all grade school and high school wrestlers, when bodies are still developing, this is a great idea – not just for tournaments but for the entire season. Have all wrestlers weigh in at the beginning of wrestling season and allow a 5 pound increase over the season to account for growth spurts. Maybe require a medical Dr.’s approval of acceptable weight cuts as well.

    If you guys are interested in some science that supports the negative implications of weight cutting, check out epigenetics, i.e., the study of gene expressions which alter the phenotype for multiple generations without changing the genetic code. Applied to wrestlers that cut weight, periodic starvation stressors have serious biological effects that can be inherited throughout multiple generations, i.e., weight cutting may be impacting the health of our children and grandchildren by determing which parts of the genetic code gets turned on. Here are a few papers that support multiple generation epigenetic impacts…

    Lumey, L., Stein, A., Kahn, H., van der Pal-de Bruin, K., Blauw, G., Zybert, P., Susser, E. “Cohort Profile: The Dutch Hunger Winter Families Study.”
    International Journal of Epidemiology 36.6 (2007): 1196-1204.

    Heijmans, B., Tobi, E., Stein, A., Putter, H., Blauw, G., Susser, E., Slagboom, P., Lumey, L. “Persistent epigenetic differences associated with prenatal exposure to famine in humans.”
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105.44 (2008): 17046-17049.

    Pembrey, M., Bygren, L., Kaati, G., Edvinsson, S., Northstone, K., Sjöström, M., Golding, J., ALSPAC Study Team. “Sex-specific, male-line transgenerational responses in humans.”
    European Journal of Human Genetics. 14 (2006): 159-166.

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