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Gearing Up For Wrestling Season

Updated on October 25, 2014

Get Ready For Wrestling Season With The Best Gear

Get ready for wrestling season by making sure you have the right equipment. If you're a seasoned veteran, you should go through a check list several weeks before the season starts to make sure all your gear is in good shape. Make sure your wrestling shoes aren't fraying at the seams or wearing out the tread. Check headgear to make sure your current set is going to last another year of training and competitions. Make sure the ear guards are still intact and the straps are not stretched, torn or loose. Try on your wrestling singlet to make sure you haven't outgrown it and check it for any runs or tears in the material. If any pieces of your wrestling gear is even the slightest bit marginal, don't hesitate to replace it with new so you can start fresh and won't get stranded in the middle of a busy season without everything you need. If you've never wrestled before, you will need a complete set up of equipment. This is what you'll need to get started; use this list so you know what to look for so you get the right supplies and the best quality.

Wrestling Shoes

Your list of mandatory gear starts here

The foundation of your wrestling gear is your sneakers. Wrestling is performed on rubberized mats to reduce the impact on the body during grappling combat. Street shoes with hard rubber soles or sneakers with sharp corners will leave tiny holes in wrestling mats, causing damage. Wrestling shoes have soft soles that provide the best traction and wont cause damage to wrestling mats; they are mandatory equipment for both training and competition. Wrestling footwear also typically has a flat sole and high tops for the best ankle support. Most have laces, velcro or a combination of the two for the tightest, most comfortable fit; these shoes should be extremely lightweight and fit the foot like a pair of socks with tread on the bottom. Considering you will wear wrestling sneakers for both training and competing, it's not a bad idea to own two pairs; one for practice and the other for meets. This will keep a spring in your step and confidence in your swagger for the best performance in both arenas.

Wrestling Singlet

The required competition uniform for all wrestlers

While most wrestlers practice in shorts and a t-shirt or sweats, the required uniform for competition is a wrestling singlet. These garments are made of lycra or nylon stretchy material that clings to the body and allow sleek movement and better agility on the mat. The main purpose for wrestling singlets is to offer a uniform that prevents the grabbing of anothers garments during combat. Singlets also make it easier for referees to see better so they can make accurate calls; baggy clothing can hinder the ref's ability to crucial parts of a match that could affect scoring and even a pin. Most wrestlers who are part of a team or club wear singlets of the same color and design, already chosen by the coach. However there are tons of different styles of wrestling singlets to choose from should you compete freestyle or without your team.

The best singlets have intricate artwork or logos of top NCAA college wrestling teams that have been sublimated onto the garment. Sublimation is the latest method of fusing graphics into the material itself for a professional look and highest performance. Most wrestling singlets are sized corresponding to body weight, so it's smart to look for a size chart when buying to make sure you get the best fit. It's also smart to purchase and try on your singlet several weeks before your first tournament so you have plenty of time to exchange it if necessary, particularly if you mail order your gear. While it's ideal to be able to try on all your wrestling gear before you but it, the best selection, cheapest prices and convenience of shopping is found on the internet.

Wrestling Headgear

Important protective wrestling equipment

When wrestling, your ears will take a beating. Driving your ear into your opponents hip and then landing on him when practicing takedowns will leave you with a sore cartilage in a hurry. If you lose position when hand fighting and your opponents head grinds into the side of your head, your temple and ear will soon become sore with enough drilling time. Without protection, the constant grinding on sensitive ear tissue will cause it to swell and fill with blood. If this acute condition isn't drained by a needle at some point, it can eventually lead to a disfiguring condition called Cauliflower Ear. Wrestling earguards are lightweight headgear worn in wrestling to prevent this from happening. Headgear consist of two ear guards, head straps and a chin strap. They are adjustable in size and will fit most heads however youth sizes are also available. Most brands and different models of headgear are fairly similar, all performing well for their specific function; styles and features are individual preferences. Like sneakers and singlets, it's also best to try on your headgear and practice in it a few times to make sure it matches your style and is comfortable enough to help you win matches.

Wrestling Kneepads

Protect your knees & improve your performance

Kneepads are not a mandatory piece of gear for wrestlers, however many decide to wear them. Padding will protect your knees from getting mat burn when sliding or pivoting on your knees during a match. You will see more wrestlers wearing only one kneepad rather than both. This is to protect their lead leg that they use to shoot in on while performing a takedown. Even though wrestling is performed on cushioned mats, the repetitive banging of their knee on the mat while practicing takedown techniques will eventually cause injury. Without padding, a condition called patellar bursitis is common. This is when the bursa behind the kneecap becomes inflamed from impacting trauma resulting in extreme pain and reduced range of motion. Depending on the severity, bursitis of the kneecap can be a sidelining injury; definitely worth spending an extra $20 on a good set of wrestling kneepads.

Most wrestling kneepads are made of neoprene and fit tight enough to stay securely around the knee with no straps or attachments. Some kneepads have extra material, thick rubber or even a type of encapsulated gel directly over the kneecap for impact protection. Others are more of a material sleeve and have a sleeker profile making them easier to move in, however offer less protection for the kneecap. Wrestling kneepads come in a variety of colors and styles and are readily available for purchase online, going for $10-$30. Wrestling kneepads are cheap enough to purchase several styles to figure out which type works better for you.

Hygiene Products

Prevent contagious skin infections with the right hygiene products

Perhaps the most important part of your wrestling gear is personal hygiene products. Training with multiple partners leads to constant exposure to skin borne illnesses and contagious pathogens no matter how clean you are. Ringworm, impetigo, cellulitis and even more serious illnesses such as hepatitis and MRSA (the dangerous, life threatening flesh eating bacteria) are all potential problems that can be transmitted by a wrestling partner. For complete prevention, a disciplined regimen that goes far beyond just showering after practice must be adopted.

During the season, switch to using anti bacterial soap or shower gel designed specifically for wrestlers immediately. Popular brands include Defense and Kennedy Industries. These companies also produce sanitizing wipes containing the same anti bacterial/anti viral agents found in their soap. Wipes are great for pathogen defense on the go. If you don't have access to a shower immediately after practice, antiseptic wipes can be used on the body for a quick cleansing and elimination of harmful microbes. These are also great when used for a quick wipe down in between matches at tournaments. Skin foam products are also terrific for providing an anti bacterial layer of defense when worn directly before wrestling. These come in an aerosol can and is sprayed out as a dollop of foam to be wiped on all exposed areas of skin. To avoid being sidelined by a nagging contagious skin infection or even a dangerous illness, stocking up on wrestling hygiene products is smart and totally worth the money.

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