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College Wrestling - suggestions to cover?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by exmediahack, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Hello all --

    I will be working on college wrestling soon, for print.

    Any tips or plans, from the experienced posse here, on how to cover college wrestling. With as much experience I have in the "ball" sports, I must admit a lack of wrestling experience, at least for print.

    Just want to do a great job. Thanks in advance!

    - ex
  2. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Just learn the sport, the scoring, how to identify some of the moves, whatever. Then cover it as you would anything else.
  3. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Beats covering worm wrestling.
  4. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Learn records beforehand, see what newcomers are doing well, and take a look at a wrestling rulebook for scoring rules.
  5. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    Let the wrestlers drive the story ... ask good questions, get great answers, write off that ... don't pretend to know things you don't know, but be ready to learn ... wrestling is both intense and cerebral ... always something to write about from that standpoint ...
  6. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    What Dan said.

    Also, from my experience, wrestling is such a niche crowd, I always seemed to get better feedback, readership, etc., when I concentrated on the human interest side of the sport. Wrestlers are some weird dudes, and they are about as open in general as any sport I've done regularly.
  7. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Wrestlers often have peculiar pre-match routines.

    In high school we wrestled against a team with a guy who wore a hoodie pulled over his head until he stepped on the mat. Even in his warm-up stretches he kept it on. We called him Psycho and I believe he was a 3- or 4-time state champion.

    The hoodie didn't do shit for his very capable physical abilities but it freaked out guys on other teams.

    Wrestling is a great sport.
  8. Two angles to pursue. It's a team sport, obviously, but very much an individual sport. You can focus on the overall team match, but break it down as key matches (close scores) that either team won. Also if there is a conference champion/nationally ranked wrestler, it's good to focus on him.

    The good thing is you can dispense with many matches without play by play, i.e., Joe Stud turned Joe Weakfish four times to his back en route to a 12-2 major decision. Oh and learn how team scores work: major decision, superior decision, technical fall, etc.
  9. DennisReynolds

    DennisReynolds New Member

    When I started covering college wrestling, I'd never seen the sport (the real version) before. So I can tell you that you probably will be confused for a while. To a newcomer, the subtleties of what constitutes this type of score vs. that type of score vs. no score at all on a particular move are difficult to parse. So don't be afraid to ask someone (the SID maybe, if they're around and knowledgeable), what just happened? You will pick it up fairly quickly though.

    I also second what someone else said about wrestlers being characters. In my season covering wrestling, I got more great quotes than in covering every other sport combined. I don't know if it's getting whacked in the head all the time or if there's something about the sport that just attracts people with a screw loose, but definitely take advantage and try to delve into some of those personalities for your articles.

    My other suggestion would be that if you are watching a match and a guy makes a great move to get a pin or whatever, ask him about the process of it after. That sounds obvious, but you can really get some interesting stuff that way that you would never pick up on as an inexperienced viewer. A lot of these guys, especially the good ones, are real technicians and will be able to describe to you what they saw, how they reacted and how the move worked far better than you could see it.
  10. What Dan and Dennis said.

    While you're learning the sport, focus on the wrestlers themselves.

    Don't be afraid to ask questions -- wrestling coaches and athletes appreciate their coverage more than any other and will help you.

    If you have the time, go to a tournament from start to finish. I had the Rocky Mountain Rumble HS tournament two weeks ago. The main purpose of course was to crank out zone features during the early rounds, but it was interesting to follow the individuals and teams progression. I filed a few graphs after each round on the blog and the numbers were just as strong as football recruiting.
  11. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    Never seen or been to a wrestling match in my life (they don't have it here), but this is actually a very good tactic for any sport. I like to pick a key play in football, a big shot in basketball or maybe a scintillating goal in soccer (or perhaps the ONLY goal) and get the player to break down the play, describe their thoughts at the time and just walk me through the whole sequence. Works a lot better than a generic, "oh we played great," quote.
  12. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Whatever you do, don't ask them why they didn't use an airplane spin.
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