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.