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Wrestling: Team Sport or Individual Sport?

22 July 2014 No Comment

The great debate: Is wrestling a team sport or an individual sport?

I came across this interesting article about Kaori Icho. I placed it on Wrestling Roots’ social media sites. However, I wanted to place it here to give it a more permanent setting. – Mark L.

“Japan’s Kaori Icho has the most impressive career record of any female wrestler in the world. Since the sport was first included on the Olympic women’s programme at Athens 2004, she has made the 63kg weight class her own, winning three consecutive gold medals in the event. In the meantime, the 30-year-old from Hachinohe won seven world titles between 2002 and 2013, not to mention three golds at the Asian Games.

 “Wrestling is an individual sport, but it’s not one you can do on your own,” she muses. “I train with a lot of team-mates and I sometimes get the feeling it’s actually a team sport. The ties between us are very strong.”


It is true that once you are on the mat during a match, you are alone. You cannot take a breather. A coach can’t send in a substitute if your opponent is getting the better of you. Plus, only your hand gets raised at the end of a winning match.

However, one is only going to get better if you are challenged to your fullest by your teammates.  Your practice partners’ job is to make sure each and everyone reach their potential and achieve their goals. In that sense, wrestling feels like a team sport.  As a coach, I used to tell my team on the first day of practice: “Your goal is to make sure everyone achieves theirs.”

What are your thoughts?



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