Suffolk Wrestling Officials Association


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Rule Interpretations and Officiating Philosophies


Index to Interpretations and Officiating Philosophies




Control in a Headlock

When determining control for a takedown or reversal in a headlock situation the following guidelines should be used.

  1. Watch the hips of the wrestler in the headlock, if he keeps his pelvis down and his buttocks facing up, there is probably no control.

  2. Look for the wrestler in the headlock to place an elbow, hand or foot on the mat to prevent shoulder exposure beyond reaction time. If he does, control is established.

  3. If the wrestler in the headlock has his pelvis down and suddenly attempts to roll though and in doing so momentarily touches his elbow, hand or foot and realizes he can't roll out and returns to the pelvis down position, there is still no control.

  4. If the position described in item #3 should occur a second time and the elbow, hand or foot touches again, even if only momentarily, control has been established.

  5. The above guidelines are useful in most situations however, some wrestlers are so flexible that they can fight their pelvis down in a "Safe" position and their shoulders or scapula are meeting near fall criteria. In this situation the referee must use good judgment to determine control. If the referee is convinced that the shoulders or scapula are being held in criteria and that the defensive man can't roll out a takedown or reversal can be awarded.


Leg Wrestling 

The attached information has been compiled after lengthy, in-depth review of materials provided at various National Rules Meetings, assorted articles, and discussions with experienced coaches and officials.  The information contained should serve as a guide for coaches to teach aggressive tactics and for officials to recognize when a wrestler is not being aggressive in leg wrestling.


When a wrestler applies a cross body ride or a parallel leg ride, it is the offensive wrestler's responsibility to attempt to secure a fall or score points.  Over the years leg wrestling has had its place in mat wrestling and still can be used as an effective means to score points or a fall.  However, there is a tendency to allow the leg series to be used as a ride, which creates little or no action and brings the wrestling match to a dull state.  For that reason, the burden to wrestle aggressively and score with the legs is generally put on the offensive wrestler.


While using the legs series the top man must try to turn the bottom man. The key to power in using the legs is to keep his hips above his opponents.  If they are below his opponents, he has very little chance to turn him, and chances are he is riding or will be locked up in a position where he is unable to score or progress the action.  A stalemate would be called and charged to the offensive wrestler, assuming that the defensive wrestler has not caused the stalemate.  If this situation occurs repeatedly, stalling will be charged against the offensive wrestler. 


Historically by Federation definition repeatedly means two or more times. 


It is not the intention of the Rules Committee to eliminate leg wrestling all together and it would be unrealistic for officials to only allow a leg wrestler one attempt to use leg techniques; therefore, at least two stalemates should be charged before warning or penalizing for stalling.  Again, this is assuming that the defensive man did not create the stalemate by clamping down on the offensive man's arm.  In this situation a stalemate is charge against the defensive man using the same guidelines listed earlier.


Example:  Legs are in and the offensive man can't improve.

1st stoppage   =  Stalemate, Offensive man

2nd stoppage  =  Stalemate, Offensive man

3rd stoppage  =  Stalemate - Warning Stalling, Offensive man

4th stoppage  =  Stalemate - Penalty Stalling, Offensive man


Example:  Legs are in and the defensive man clamps down on one arm of his opponent.

1st stoppage  =  Stalemate, Defensive man

2nd stoppage =  Stalemate, Defensive man

3rd stoppage  =  Stalemate - Warning Stalling, Defensive man

4th stoppage  =  Stalemate - Penalty Stalling, Defensive man


NOTE:  If the defensive man simply covers up and refuses to wrestle, he will be subject to the rules governing stalling.


The same philosophy would cover legs situations which become potentially dangerous.  The rules book states under 7-2-2 "when the defensive wrestler stands supporting all of the weight of the offensive wrestler a potentially dangerous situation exists and the referee shall stop the match" 


Repeatedly creating potentially dangerous situations can be considered stalling.


If legs are in while the defensive man is on the mat and the defensive man stands bearing all the weight of the offensive man, potentially dangerous shall be called and charged against the defensive man.  NOTE:  Some officials are stopping this when the offensive wrestler has a free leg or a rudder bobbing up and down.  This is not potentially dangerous.


If the defensive man stands and the offensive man applies a leg ride and jumps up to create a potentially dangerous situation, this may be considered stalling on the first offense.  The referee shall use good judgment in determining what the offensive wrestler's intent was.


Example:  Down on the mat with legs in and the defensive man stands to create a potentially dangerous situation.


1st stoppage  =  Potentially Dangerous, Defensive Man

2nd stoppage =  Potentially Dangerous, Defensive Man

3rd stoppage  =  Potentially Dangerous - Warning Stalling, Defensive Man

4th stoppage  =  Potentially Dangerous - Penalty Stalling , Defensive Man


Example:  Defensive man stands up and the offensive man applies a leg ride and then jumps on his opponents back in an obvious attempt to create a potentially dangerous situation .


1st stoppage  =  Potentially Dangerous - Warning Stalling, Offensive Man

2nd stoppage  =  Potentially Dangerous - Penalty Stalling, Offensive Man