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High School Wrestling Participation up

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Got a interesting email from our IHSAA Comish today.  Wrestling numbers have increased dramitically this year.

SchYear    Gender    # Wrestlers    
2013-14          F               47               
2013-14         M             6372    
2014-15          F               50               
2014-15         M             6200    
2015-16          F               54    
2015-16         M             6042    
2016-17         F              114    
2016-17         M             5853    
2017-18         F              168    
2017-18         M             6825    

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That is great news. Congrats to the coaches who recruit kids to our great sport. Glad to see almost 1000 more boys 54 more girls becoming part of the wrestling family!

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9 hours ago, Wrestling Scholar said:

Does it really have anything to do with the 2 piece wrestling outfits?    But still good to see.

With it just stating to be noticed I don’t think it has a lot to do with it yet.  But even a little bit more participation helps the overall number.  Well see over the next few years of the number stay or go up as the new uniform gets more exposure.   

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6 hours ago, MattM said:

With it just stating to be noticed I don’t think it has a lot to do with it yet.  But even a little bit more participation helps the overall number.  Well see over the next few years of the number stay or go up as the new uniform gets more exposure.   

I feel aside from the uniforms, we are seeing the result of the increased number of youth wrestling programs that have stemmed from the great wrestlers and programs this state has produced in the last 10-20 years.

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Then hopefully this translates to a lot fewer forfeits at sectionals this year.....

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I'm wondering if this increase in wrestling participation is partially as a result of more kids moving away from football.  With all of the recent publicity of concussions, and now the most recent injury to the Steelers linebacker, I am guessing that youth football is going to take a real hit to the participation numbers as parents question whether or not it's worth the perceived risk

It would be interesting to look at participation numbers across all sports and see if football is decreasing as others are moving upwards

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I think there are a lot of factors that increase participation: better promotion/publicity of the sport (Indianamat & Flowrestling), club teams, football and CTE stigma, and the UFC. Virtually no one has the opportunity to complete on a world team or in the Olympics in proportion to the number of athletes that make it to the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB. However, the UFC has provided athletes interested in combat sports a new outlet and wrestling is one of the best backgrounds to have in MMA. 

 

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I'd love more details on this, 1000 new wrestlers.

Are they from big, small, medium schools?

Are they freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors?

Are they new to the sport or coming back out after sabatical?

Etc....

1000 new wrestlers is a lot and good as long as it's across the board.

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Probably not one reason only, but if you look at those numbers and not see decline, decline, decline, better than where you started, you aren't paying attention.  The only real change for this year is uniforms.  Does it hold up in the future - who knows.  I will take getting 1 kid to try it for 1 year though any day.

Edited by doctorWrestling

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We have some new juniors and seniors out this year. 

A couple are out after sitting out a year or two and a couple are brand new to the sport. 

Our roster is 31 and we are usually low to mid 20's.

I asked the one senior who has never done it before why. His response was- why not, I am not doing anything else.

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As mentioned about its probably several factors, including possibly some errors in counting or a different method in count (start of season vs. end of season numbers) that in previous years.  I'm sure a big factor is still IN continuing to improve on the quality of HS coaches who are also great recruiters for their programs.

Another factor maybe the retention of kids in the youth programs.  When many of these HS kids were young their areas were just starting to develop a true youth program rather than just a off season travel opportunity.   Retention is a heck of a lot easier way to fill most of a squad rather than trying to recruit new kids.  An additional small factor could be the change in the Freestyle rules.  Again many of these HS kids were in their youth when the US Wrestling finally decided to give up on the 3 separate match, ball grab sudden victory, confusing rule set.  That rule set drove many people way from participating in youth events and likely some of them found other avenues other than wrestling.  The new rule set has been more accepted and translates more with those already trying folkstyle.  As a result participation in USA Wrestling events is rising some, which mean some more kids are gaining experience that will lead them to trying wrestling in MS/HS instead of looking for other avenues to fill their time. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, MattM said:

As mentioned about its probably several factors, including possibly some errors in counting or a different method in count (start of season vs. end of season numbers) that in previous years.  I'm sure a big factor is still IN continuing to improve on the quality of HS coaches who are also great recruiters for their programs.

Another factor maybe the retention of kids in the youth programs.  When many of these HS kids were young their areas were just starting to develop a true youth program rather than just a off season travel opportunity.   Retention is a heck of a lot easier way to fill most of a squad rather than trying to recruit new kids.  An additional small factor could be the change in the Freestyle rules.  Again many of these HS kids were in their youth when the US Wrestling finally decided to give up on the 3 separate match, ball grab sudden victory, confusing rule set.  That rule set drove many people way from participating in youth events and likely some of them found other avenues other than wrestling.  The new rule set has been more accepted and translates more with those already trying folkstyle.  As a result participation in USA Wrestling events is rising some, which mean some more kids are gaining experience that will lead them to trying wrestling in MS/HS instead of looking for other avenues to fill their time. 

 

We will have to see how the numbers trend the next few years to see its this is a anomaly or an actual movement due to factors like new uniforms, youth programs, etc..... 

 

 

 

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The recent change to a Open enrollment education system could also be a small factor if the number keeps trending up.  As students more easily moving to new schools, even if its really for academic reasons, they are often enrolling in a school that has the ability to offer a larger selections of extra curricular activities, including wrestling.   Again we will have to wait an see if its an a trend or just a blip.   

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I think we all agree it could be a few things coming together at the right time, but if you were running a business and those were sales numbers what would you choose to invest in to grow the sport?  I can't see how this is just a counting change or mistake.  Something happened and you saw a 17% increase.  To me, you have nothing to lose by going to a 2 piece uniform.  I have never heard a kid say he would quit if they couldn't wear a singlet, but I have heard plenty say they won't wear a singlet.  If you try it and don't get the results you want ( which to me is 1 more kid ), you can always change it the next time.  Obviously, you would want to continue with every other way you can to recruit in addition to this.

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4 minutes ago, doctorWrestling said:

I think we all agree it could be a few things coming together at the right time, but if you were running a business and those were sales numbers what would you choose to invest in to grow the sport?  I can't see how this is just a counting change or mistake.  Something happened and you saw a 17% increase.  To me, you have nothing to lose by going to a 2 piece uniform.  I have never heard a kid say he would quit if they couldn't wear a singlet, but I have heard plenty say they won't wear a singlet.  If you try it and don't get the results you want ( which to me is 1 more kid ), you can always change it the next time.  Obviously, you would want to continue with every other way you can to recruit in addition to this.

The two-piece is good for the sport. I doubt you can attribute the increase to that as I would venture to say most teams do not have a set of those uniforms yet.. We have wrestled 10 teams and none have worn a two-piece. At our event last week only 1 out of 16 teams had a two-piece that I saw. 

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I think there are a couple of factors at work here. Looking around our area, the youth programs are healthier than ever before which means you do not have as many dropping as they already have been through the grind. The other major thing I have not seen anyone state is that this Class of 2021 (Freshman) should be the largest in most schools, given human reaction to the events of the time period around their birth.

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Those are completely fair arguments also.  I think I have seen posts that middle schools were moving to the 2 piece before this year.  If that is correct, some of the kids who were introduced to the sport with 2-piece could also be making their way into the singlet this year and continuing to wrestle.  We have a few in that boat for sure.

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With these participation numbers up, I am interested to see the impact on teams... Do we have more complete/full teams at duals and tournaments?  Are FFs down around the state at events?  Are jv tournaments up in participation....

 

This is info we will see play out through the season...

 

Any case, it at least looks great on paper!!!!!!

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I have to question the validity of the numbers.    I find it hard to believe Indiana is up 1000 wrestlers.  Still seeing a lot of forfeits.   Is it possible, prior years have been underreported ?   So whats the method each high school reports participation?  Do they have to send a roster every year or do the ADs say we have 20 guys out? 

 

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23 minutes ago, Wrestling Scholar said:

I have to question the validity of the numbers.    I find it hard to believe Indiana is up 1000 wrestlers.  Still seeing a lot of forfeits.   Is it possible, prior years have been underreported ?   So whats the method each high school reports participation?  Do they have to send a roster every year or do the ADs say we have 20 guys out? 

 

Exactly how this data is collected over time is essential to its interpretation.  Even still it will likely be multi-factorial in casues.

 

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I've noticed larger and healthier JV teams at a lot of events this year in the Indy area. My school has had the opposite trend this year, falling from a roster of nearly 70 last season to a mere 34 this season, but that trend does seem to be isolated (small Freshman class this season combined with solid Sophomores filling spots in the lineup leading to several Juniors and Seniors dropping the sport before anyone asks. Fully expect to see 55-70 back out next year). When I take the JV kids to tournaments, most teams have as many as every year or more than usual. Just anecdotal evidence though...

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I was not included in how the data was collected but I would venture to say if the IHSAA compiled this they would of used data from the IHSAA.net site were all bodyfat data is entered.  They have had access to that data for the years they sent.  That would give them access to every wrestler that was bodyfat tested and eligible to wrestle.  Unless teams have a large number of kids that practice without being bodyfat tested then these numbers should be fairly accurate.

48 minutes ago, Wrestling Scholar said:

I have to question the validity of the numbers.    I find it hard to believe Indiana is up 1000 wrestlers.  Still seeing a lot of forfeits.   Is it possible, prior years have been underreported ?   So whats the method each high school reports participation?  Do they have to send a roster every year or do the ADs say we have 20 guys out? 

 

 

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I have seen a lot of teams starting up Varsity 2 teams. I know this has helped with retention at Perry especially with seniors.  In the past we would see some seniors drop after wrestle off's when they didn't make V1.  With the addition of the V2 team they still get matches at a high level.  I know this doesn't account for 1000 extra wrestlers but I do believe it retains seniors we would have lost.  We have quite a few seniors wrestling on our V2 squad this year.

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