“I can’t make it this weekend, my 5 year old has a wrestling tournament.” This is something I have said a lot this past year which is quickly followed up by a sideways glance. Some people give me the look because they didn’t realize that a Wichita Falls wrestling team even existed. Others give me the look because they probably expected soccer or basketball, but that is not the case. This boy wants to wrestle.
C isn’t the best but he isn’t too bad when he puts some effort in. No, I don’t know much about the sport besides what a sprawl is and what a shot should look like. Yes, he gets upset. Yes, sometimes he has gotten hurt but nothing that a kiss and a hug hasn't been able to fix. What matters most though, is that he loves it. What I love most about it is what he is learning through wrestling.
So, from the perspective of a parent, here is a list of what wrestling is teaching my son:
Problem Solving Skills.
Yes, he is learning to problem solve in a split seconds notice. Every move his opponent makes and every move he makes, he has to make a quick decision on how to get out of a situation and how to achieve his ultimate goal. It is something that I have started stressing to him during practices and during matches when I see him getting frustrated. It is helping him learn how to not let his frustration control him and instead think of a solution to the situation.
Self-reliance is a skill that we all need as adults. While he is on a team, wrestling is primarily focused on the outcome of a one on one bout against an opponent. Once your child is on that mat, he or she can only do what they know how to do. They must rely on their own skills and utilize them to the best of their abilities if they want to win. Which leads into our next lesson…
Whether they win or they lose is solely the outcome of their effort. They cannot blame their loss on anyone and no one else can take responsibility for their wins. C has recently started challenging this but it has given me the opportunity to help him realize he is responsible for his own outcome.
On the mat, no matter what happens, you better shake hands with your opponent. Tell them good job and respect their effort, win or lose. It is something that is hard to watch when you know they feel defeated, but it is teaching them how to be a good sport no matter what.
This goes hand in hand with self-reliance. Confidence is essential to being able to rely on your abilities. When we first started I heard a lot of “I can’t” and I still do… but they are becoming fewer and farther in between.
This is one of the main reasons we started this sport. It takes a lot of discipline for a 5 year old to be able to sit, listen, follow instructions, and not give up. As a 5 year old, following directions can be difficult; especially when everything is a party and you are wrestling other 5 and 4 year olds, who also think everything is a party. There are days when I stand right next to the mat to keep him on task, and then every now and then I get to sit and watch him work hard and demonstrate that he does have the discipline he needs to get better.
All these lessons and more are going to help shape C. He is going to know the love of a sport, the agony of losing, the thrill of winning, team camaraderie, and the importance of being physically fit. What this sport and his coaches are teaching him is more than I bargained for. I have seen a big difference in him over the last year and as he continues to play different sports, including wrestling, I know we will see more changes.
Now leave me a comment and tell me what sports your kids are playing, bonus points if you tell me what life lessons they are learning!
I am originally from the mountainous state of Vermont (no that is not in Canada!) - my passion is event planning and spending time with my little family consisting of my husband, two little boys and four fur children.
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