Your Guide to Women's College Wrestling Recruiting
Women’s wrestling is a sport that’s growing quickly across both the college and high school levels. According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association, the number of girls wrestling in high school has grown from 804 to 14,587 since 1994. More than ever, college coaches are on the lookout for student-athletes who have done well academically and exhibit a passion for wrestling, even if a recruit’s athletic background is mostly in other sports and not freestyle wrestling (the style used at collegiate women’s programs and the Olympics). If you have good grades and a strong work ethic, you can put yourself in a good position to receive interest from college programs. But in order to get your best shot, you’ll want to use NCSA’s recruiting resources to get noticed by women’s wrestling coaches who are looking to fill out their rosters.
How the recruiting process works for women’s wrestling
As an athlete, you can reach out to college coaches at any time. We recommend emailing coaches of programs you are interested in as early as possible, as well as asking each program about their eligibility requirements. Send them your athletic resume, which includes:
- Your academic information
- Wrestling-specific stats or outline of experience in other sports
- Why you are interested in their program
- Your highlight video
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Women’s wrestling scholarship facts and rules
Athletic scholarships in women’s wrestling are awarded on a school-to-school basis. Schools decide how many scholarships they can fund on their own, whether it’s through fundraising efforts, donations, an endowment, or set scholarship budget. Because it can be difficult to gauge a student-athlete’s pedigree if they come from a region where women’s wrestling is not popular, scholarships are largely awarded based on academics. Therefore, your best bet for securing a scholarship is to have good grades and test scores in addition to athletic talent.
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Women’s college wrestling recruiting rules
Women’s wrestling is not an NCAA-affiliated sport, and there are currently no restrictions on contacting coaches and programs. However, the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association—the governing body of women’s wrestling—states that athletes cannot sign a Letter of Intent before September 1 of their senior year of high school.
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What college coaches are looking for
Women’s collegiate wrestling is growing rapidly, and schools are filling their rosters with athletes who come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some recruits will have had the opportunity to wrestle in girls’ state wrestling championships, unofficial girls’ state tournaments, or girls’ wrestling camps. Other recruits may have gained experience from boys’ wrestling teams or other sports. Fortunately, there are programs for every experience level.
College coaches recruit great students who have a good attitude and solid athletic background. Of course, additional wrestling experience will help you stand out. Coaches look for:
- A national girls high school ranking
- State tournament qualification
- Regional tournament placement
- Wrestling camp experience
- High school wrestling team experience
- Other sports experience
Athletes in the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association wrestle freestyle in the following weight classes (lbs.):
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How to get noticed by coaches
There is a limited number of women’s college wrestling programs out there and unless you’ve been a nationally ranked wrestler, you’ll need to take a proactive approach to getting noticed by college coaches. In fact, only about 3.5% of high school wrestlers compete at the college level—though the number of college programs is primed to grow in the near future. In order to secure a roster spot in college, you’ll have to take a proactive approach and focus on building relationships.
As we’ve already mentioned, academics are very important. College coaches are not shy about pointing out that they’re looking for athletes who excel in the classroom. You’ll also want to gain some wrestling experience if you can, whether that’s at a camp, tournament, or team—though some coaches consider wrestling experience as an added bonus to athletic skills. Coaches also love to see that you’re interested in their program and school. Reach out to them with personalized emails that show off your interest, and share pertinent information such as your athletic and wrestling experience, grades and test scores, and highlight video. Also, do not be afraid to cast a wide net. There are currently more than 30 women’s wrestling programs, and you can realistically reach out to all of them.
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Wrestling recruiting video guidelines
Recruiting videos are an important tool for high school athletes who want to wrestle in college.
College wrestling coaches don’t have the time to see every wrestling recruit in person, and that’s why a highlight video is one of the most important parts of your online resume. A well-made recruiting video illustrates what a high school wrestling recruit has to offer in just a couple of minutes.
In order for your highlight video to be effective, you need to know exactly what coaches are looking for. When it comes to recruiting videos, all sports aren’t the same and NCSA knows what highlights wrestling coaches want to see. For example, a wrestling video should show highlights from your best matches and include a variety of takedowns, escapes, pins, reversal, throws and more to show that you’re a well-rounded wrestler.
If you follow NCSA’s guidelines and create an outstanding highlight video, you’re taking a big step in the wrestling scholarship process.
How to film
- Include time between rounds and referee re-sets. Coaches want to see you wrestle, but they also want to see how you react to coaching between rounds, if you hustle back to the center when the referee calls out-of-bounds, your sportsmanship, and overall demeanor (i.e. high head and confidence even if you are behind).
- Continue to film from the moment you step on the mat until you step off, even if the match hits a few slow spots.
- Do not zoom in too close or try to show facial expressions. Focus on the three key elements: yourself, your opponent and the referee.
- Try to capture as much of the mat as possible, including the referee.
- If possible, film the individual, not team score board. If capturing the score board requires you to zoom too far out, film the score board between rounds instead. Show the final score on the scoreboard.
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