Adjusted Rules for 2015by Rob Teet on 02/02/15
United World Wrestling has recently announced adjustments to the rules of Sand Wrestling (aka Beach Wrestling). To read their official press release about this matter, click on this link: http://unitedworldwrestling.org/node/1893
Here are the highlights of the major changes that are going to be implemented in 2015.
-First wrestler to THREE points is declared the winner
-One point for a takedown or pushout, and two points for takedowns with back exposure
-One 3-minute period with no overtime
-Criteria for match tied during regulation: 1. Highest value action 2.Last to score
-Wrestling surface is increased from 6m in diameter to 7m in diameter (or approximately an increase from 20 feet to 23 feet)
Overall, I really like these changes. To me, it demonstrates that the UWW is serious about their commitment to this wrestling style and are trying to make improvements to get Sand Wrestling included into the Olympic wrestling program. These rule adjustments are meant to encourage more exciting action while also clarifying the rules. Let me help explain how these rules will benefit our version of wrestling.
A lot of folks within the wrestling community have griped about the matches being too short, that the better wrestler doesn’t always win when the first athlete to score 2 points is the victor, and that there is were too many push-outs. The first two issues are addressed by increasing the necessary points for a victory from 2 to 3. The third issue is addressed by increasing the size of the wrestling ring. This should slightly place more emphasis on takedowns and throws, which are more exciting to fans and more enticing to experienced wrestlers, while also maintaining the importance of controlling the wrestling’s position in the ring and not penalize wrestlers who have worked hard on their push-out techniques.
Also new to these rules are the overtime rounds, or lack thereof. This has always been an area that has been adjusted, with the initial rules allowing the referee to determine a winner with no clear criteria on how the referee is determine the winner. Then there was a 30 second overtime round, with both wrestlers starting the round in an “Overhook and Underhook” position. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how effective the “Over and Under” overtime was, as most localized competitions use their own rules for overtime. On average, only one match per two tournaments have gone into overtime, but with the increase of points needed to secure a victory also increases the odds of matches going into overtime. This new method, the criteria to determine the winner of a tied match is clear. Localized competitions may very well set-up their own rules to better cater to their particular events, so as an athlete it’s a good idea to ask about overtime rules during the rule meeting just before the event begins.
While what I’ve already discussed will improve Sand Wrestling, there are two major areas that have been unclear for quite some time, and it seems UWW has worked hard to help fix those problem areas. The initial rules of sand wrestling call for a point when a body part touches the sand (much like Sumo wrestling), but the way the rule was phrased was not very clear. This resulted in many contests and countries to use takedowns and others to use the touch-rule. The international split on how points are scored has made the rules inconsistent from one competition to the next. Personally, I’ve always felt that scoring based on takedowns rather than the Sumo-touch was better for the entire sport of wrestling, since for many athletes and spectators, this style of wrestling is an introduction for other styles of wrestling. Other international styles do not use the touch rule, but takedowns, so it only makes sense to use a scoring method that carries over to these other international styles.
The other area of major contention is how pins were determined. Initially, a wrestler had to force their opponent’s shoulders to the sand for a pin. The flow of a Sand Wrestling match differs from mat wrestling, largely due to the lack of ground wrestling, and the rules were modified that a pin occurred when the back touched the sand rather than the shoulders (which, by the way, was the way pins were earned prior to the introduction of wrestling mats in the very early 1900’s). This left another rift from contest to contest, as some events still used the shoulder criteria for a pin, and others converted to the back pinfall. The updated rules no longer has pins, but rather allows a wrestler to score two points if their opponent’s back is exposed to the sand during a takedown. There is also the added incentive to bring your opponent to their back if the match is tied, as the scoring move would beat a wrestler who scored two points from a basic takedown and/or push-out.
I hope this explanation helps clarify the international rule changes. This is certainly a step in the right direction to get the original Olympic wrestling style back into the Olympic Games, but I’m curious on your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below, and I will try my best to address any questions that are asked in my next blog entry.