Does High School Wrestling Have Tryouts?

Are thinking of trying out for the high school wrestling team? Well don’t worry we are going to break down everything you need to known about high school wrestling tryouts and wrestle offs. Hopefully with our advice you can win yourself a varsity wrestling spot! Let’s get started!

If you want to learn what you need for high school wrestling then read our detailed guide!

Or if you need the best high school wrestling shoes go here!

Blair Academy Campus 11/19/17
Blair Academy wrestling.
PHOTO BY Tyson Trish

Does High School Wrestling Have Tryouts?

High school wrestling does not have tryouts, just by showing you up you will make the team. However, to wrestle varsity you will have to compete against wrestlers at your weight and beat them in a wrestle off. If you don’t make varsity you will wrestle junior varsity and in exhibition matches.

Wrestling is not the most popular sport in high school. In many parts of the US wrestling is a niche sport which has very low participation rates.

Due to wrestling’s lack of popularity in many high schools coaches have to actively recruit athletes. It is very common for high school wrestling coaches to approach football players and attempt to convince to give the wrestling a shot.

Due to high school wrestling’s low participation rate there are no tryouts. If you sign up to high school wrestling not only will you automatically make the team but the coach will be super happy to have you join.

It doesn’t matter if you have no experience or are not a gifted athlete, the coaches will be more than happy to teach and turn you into a beast on the mats.

Wrestling is a unique sport where the more athletes you have on the team the stronger the team is. This is because every wrestler has unique strengths and weaknesses and a specific body type. By practicing against different wrestlers you can improve your own skills and gain experience competing against unique athletes. 

For example let’s say you wrestle against a short and very explosive wrestler from your rival school who has amazing single leg takedowns. If you have never wrestled against a similar athlete you are likely going to struggle. However, if you have wrestlers on your team who have similar body types and style you are going to be prepared to defeat this rival athlete.

What Are High School Wrestle Offs?

Instead of tryouts high school wrestling has wrestle offs. A wrestle off is where you compete against your teammates and whoever wins gets to wrestle varisty. Wrestle offs only occur if there are mutliple high school wrestlers at the same weight.

High school wrestling has its own unique selection process which is different to tryouts held by other sports such as football and basketball.

High school wrestling uses a wrestle off system which occurs at the beginning of the season and is used to pick the varsity team. High school wrestle offs work in the following way:

Let’s say you weigh 160 pounds and there is another wrestler on the team who weighs 160 pounds. To determine who will wrestle varsity your coach will have you compete against your 160 pound teammate. If you win you will wrestle varsity, if your teammate wins then he will wrestle varsity.

Don’t worry if you lose the wrestle off because you will still be on the high school wrestling team, you will represent the junior varsity team and compete in exhibition matches.

Also even if you don’t win the varsity spot at the start of the wrestling season you claim it later in the season. Coaches will often hold wrestle offs again throughout the season especially if a varsity wrestler is struggling.

Coaches have different rules for in-season wrestle offs but often if you beat the starter 2 times you will take the varsity spot.

As wrestling is not the most popular high school sport, there is a good chance that there won’t be another wrestler at your weight class. This means that you automatically win the varsity spot.

Can I Join Wrestling In High School?

Any high school student can join the wrestling team. Wrestling does not hold tryouts and all students irrespective of experience will automatically make the team. Coaches are always excited to teach and train new wrestlers.

If you are thinking of trying high school wrestling for the first time, you absolutely should! Even though wrestling is a tough sport, beginners are always welcome.

Wrestling coaches love teaching new wrestlers the sport and they can quickly turn you into a machine on the mats. Wrestling does require a lot of dedication to master but within a year or 2 you can become a very solid wrestler who consistently wins varsity matches.

Another great aspect of high school wrestling is that you will instantly make the team and don’t have to worry about being cut during tryouts. 

And even if you aren’t good enough to wrestle varsity your first year you will still get to compete on the junior varsity team and wrestle in open tournaments.

How Do I Make The Varsity Wrestling Team?

To make the varsity wrestling team you need to be the number 1 wrestler at your weight in your school. You can do this by winning a wrestle off against your teammates or by being the only wrestler at your weight. For example if you are the only 170 pound wrestler on your team you take the varsity spot.

Making the varsity wrestling team is the same at every high school around the US, you need to be the top wrestler at your chosen weight in your school.

At some high schools this is incredibly tough as you need to be state champions in a wrestle off to win the spot. While in other high schools it is as easy as signing up and joining the team because there aren’t any other athletes at your weight.

At powerhouse private schools such as Blair Academy and Wyoming Seminary just making the varsity wrestling team is an amazing achievement. These elite private schools recruit the best wrestlers from around the country and have numerous nationally ranked athletes on the varsity squad.

In contrast a small high school may not even be able to field a full varsity team and the coach will have to beg other athletes to join.

Is Junior Varsity Wrestling Bad?

Junior varsity wrestling is not as competitive as varsity wrestling but the skill level can be quite high especially if the team is from a strong wrestling school and based in wrestling hot beds such as Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

If you failed to make the varsity wrestling team, don’t worry. It just means you need a bit more experience and a bit more time to develop your skills and body.

A big difference between varsity and junior varsity is the size and strength of the athletes. Varsity athletes tend to have significantly more muscle mass and be physically stronger than junior varsity athletes. Varsity athletes also have high levels of technical development, more offensive weapons and better overall defensive skills.

If you want to make the jump from junior varsity to varsity we recommend you bulk up in the off-season by eating extra food and hitting the weight room. If you combine this with going to a wrestling club and improving your skills you should have no issues making the varsity squad next high school wrestling season!

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