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Women's Wrestling

Ronna Heaton

Why Women's Wrestling?

Here's a great answer to that question from Bismarck, North Dakota native, hall of famer, state champion, NCAA champion, US Olympic Women's head coach and all around good dude, Terry Steiner:

You ask the Question WHY Women’s Wrestling?

I ask you the Question Why NOT Women’s Wrestling?

I think as “Wrestling Insiders” we can all agree on one thing, Wrestling is a great sport! And it is an even better teacher of life skills. I think if you would go ask 1000 High School Coaches the question “Why do you Coach?” You would hear something of the following: I believe in the sport of wrestling. I believe in the life skills that you can teach through the sport. I know how it helped me and I want it to be able to help others in the same way. I think 99% of coaches would answer in such a manner.

We are certainly not in the sport of wrestling for fame and fortune. If you are, you made a bad decision. This sport may not make you rich in your pocket but it will fill your heart and enrich your life and the lives of the athletes in your programs.

My question to you as “Wrestling Insiders” is this; “if you really coach for the reasons stated above, then why would you want to limit this sport to half of the population? Why would you want to hold women out of it? We all know that this world could use more people that can stand up on their own two feet and handle life’s adversity! I’m not saying that everyone has to coach women but I am saying that women belong on the wrestling mat as much as any of us, men, ever did. There is room for women on the mat.

We pride ourselves, on the premise, that Wrestling is a sport for everyone! We truly are! Wrestling is a sport for all colors, sizes, shapes, sexuality, cultures, and GENDERS. Wrestling is for EVERYONE!

Our attitude towards women in the sport in the USA still has along ways to go. I feel and hear it everyday from coaches around the country. They are just not sure about women on the wrestling mat. Those same coaches will send their daughters across town to karate, taekwondo, and Judo class but they will not let them be in wrestling practice. They will say it is religious. They will say that their male wrestlers are uncomfortable with it.

They will also say that they do not want their boys treating and touching girls like that on the mat. My question back is this “why are you thinking about it like this?” Why are you making it more that it is, Athletes on the mat, ready to compete and learn from a sport and a coach? The fact is athletes will fall into place on what their coaches believe in. If you sell the fact that you will have girls and boys on your team, your team and parents will buy in.

Wrestling is nothing more that an educational tool to teach kids the lessons of life while they are right in front of us, so when they fail we can teach them how to handle it and get back up and deal with it. It really has nothing to do with boys and girls. If you think it does then ask yourself the question do you want your boys touching boys like that? This is a sport, no more, no less!

I do not believe in fighting either. I have never been in a fight, ever! But I do believe in being tough and rough on a wrestling mat, as a sport!

If coaches of today open up their minds to the women in the sport, I think it will be great for both parties; the coaches and the athletes. Plus I think the sport of wrestling can flourish! I’m not the USA National Women’s Coach to save men’s wrestling but I do see it as a benefit to having women involved in the sport.

Times change and we must change as well or we will be left behind. Coaches, your job as an educator cannot be measured. Realize that every kid that walks in your room will benefit from being there. Give them ALL your best effort! They ALL deserve that!