How to Join a Wrestling Team as a Girl in Middle or High School | A Step By Step Guide
By Rebecca Li
This step by step guide for girls who wants to know how to join their school’s wrestling teams includes…
- Check Your School’s Athletic Website
- Wait! I Don’t See Girls Wrestling on the Website
- Find the Team’s Practice Schedule and Get in Touch with the Coach
- But Am I Too… to Wrestle?
“So you wanna be a wrestler?” as my coach would always ask during our practices.
While for some of us, it may seem natural to join a wrestling team. Perhaps your family or friends wrestle, or maybe your wrestling team is very well-known at your school or region. For others, wrestling may be more of a niche sport at your school. Especially if you are a girl, the path to the wrestling room may not seem so straightforward for you.
Don’t worry! Today, I will be guiding you through how to begin your wrestling career.
1) Check Your School’s Athletic Website
Is there already a wrestling team at your high school or middle school? If your school’s wrestling program is not that big, it may take a little bit of digging on social media or asking around to find. But hey, the treasures usually take longer to find.
However, the most straightforward way to find out whether or not your school has a wrestling team is just to check the list of sports that your school provides. Sometimes, it can be found on your school’s athletic page, official handbook, and (when in doubt) google it up or use the search feature found on most of the school websites.
2) Wait! I Don’t See Girls Wrestling on the Website
While it is true that there are more and more girls joining wrestling, some of us are still stuck wrestling with the boys team. Some schools may have a girls team joint with the guys or (if you’re lucky) your school may have an established girls wrestling team.
But if your school’s website only says “Boys wrestling” or “Wrestling,” you can STILL join!! Because of Title IX, schools are not allowed to discriminate and exclude people due to their gender. This means that if your school does not have a girls wrestling team, you are allowed to join the boys wrestling team. Yep, it may seem weird at first, but remember that you have every legal right to join the team even if anyone says otherwise.
I am currently on a co-ed wrestling team. But I really had no idea what the team looked like until I talked to the coaches. Even though you may not be able to see the gender ratio on your school’s rosters, there might be a few girls already in wrestling as well. That was the case with me. I was surprised to find out that there are other girls just like me from my school who are not afraid of joining a team with the guys. So, moral of the story: check out the team first before you make any decision.
Even if there are no girls or tournaments in your area, you can wrestle the boys in dual meets and tournaments. For practice partners, you can wrestle with a guy in your weight, or why not invite your friends to join too!
3) Find the Team’s Practice Schedule and Get in Touch with the Coach
Now that you have ascertained what the wrestling program is like, it is time for you to get in touch with the coach. See if you can find the coaches’ emails or other contact information on the school’s website or with your school’s athletic office. If you got the coach’s contact information, let them know that you want to join the team or sit and watch through a practice (although I would recommend that the best way to experience wrestling is to try it out yourself).
If you can’t get a hold of the coach, you can also try to catch them at practice if you can get the wrestling room’s location and practice schedule from the office or another wrestler.
The key here is not to be afraid of trying it out. Sure, it may be awkward if you end up not joining the team afterwards, but you will definitely regret it more if you didn’t put yourself out there and try it out in the first place.
After you get situated with the coach and the rest of the team, the coach may ask you to get an athletic clearance. Although your school may have a different policy, my school required athletes to submit a physical examination form filled out by the doctor and fill out an online application. Try to get this done as soon as you can. You don’t want to not be able to practice once the athletics department starts checking to see if everyone has a physical clearance.
In the pre-season period, the coach may ask you to purchase a USA Wrestling card to be able to wrestle in off-season and pre-season tournaments. This can be found at https://www.usawmembership.com and cost about $50 for one calendar year of membership. I can’t guarantee that you will need this, though. So it may be good to check with the coach and local tournaments first to see if the USA card is required.
4) But Am I Too… to Wrestle?
Now we’re all cleared to start wrestling, yet one of our biggest obstacles may be ourselves. It is natural to feel doubts about joining a male-dominated sport. But, I can tell you that the lessons that you will learn in wrestling will significantly outweigh the current drawbacks that you may be thinking of. What will you lose if you do join wrestling? Nothing much. Yet, you may be missing a chance to become the next state champion or a founder of a girls wrestling team if you do not join!
Still not convinced? Check out 10 reasons why you should join girls wrestling.
Another question that comes up for most of us high school wrestlers (especially if you are not a freshman) is whether or not you are “too old” to wrestle, or if it’s too late for you. A great time to join wrestling was three years ago, last season, and yesterday, but you can’t go back in time. The BEST time to join wrestling is right now. No matter if you are a middle schooler, high school freshman, or even a high school senior, it is never too late to join wrestling!
5) Buy the Appropriate Wrestling Gears
For your first practices, you might be able to get away with just a shirt and a legging because most of the teams will have loaner shoes for new wrestlers. As you continue to go to practice, it might be worth it to invest in a good pair of shoes, socks, sports outfits, and kneepad. Here is The Complete Guide To Wrestling Gears And Shoes
Let me know in the comments if there are any other tips that you have for aspiring wrestlers! More content will be coming soon so stay tuned every week for more advice and interviews on this blog. And fellow girl wrestlers, let’s not waste our time! Spread the sport, girls wrestling is taking over.
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