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Kyle Snyder - Team USA

Opinion: Increase in Correct Throw Scoring a Step in the Wrong Direction

USA Wrestling has announced rule changes for domestic competition in freestyle and Greco. There are many good changes being implemented including making the scoring the same between the two styles, which means the return of the five-point move in freestyle, making the point awarded after the expiration of the 30 second shot clock come with no caution and allowing action to continue when the shot clock expires regardless of what is happening in the match. Follow the link above for a full breakdown of the changes. With all the good, however, there is one notably bad change included. The correct throw is now worth two points in both styles.

When the correct throw was introduced, it was an attempt to reward a wrestler who performed a good move and forced his opponent to perform a full rotation but did not get them to land in danger. It was particularly applicable to Greco, a style where scoring can be hard to come by. It made sense to reward a wrestler who took a risk, imposed his will upon his opponent, and just missed earning a bigger score. It was also only worth one point.

Freestyle and Greco already protect the wrestler taking the risk both in the scoring rules which reward the wrestler who initiated the action and with the slip throw. A step further in that direction to reward a wrestler who almost scores with two points seems unnecessary. Still, I could understand the intent and if you make your opponent rotate past danger to land out of danger, you probably deserve something. However, the example rules video found here shows two examples of attempts that almost scored that should now be awarded the same as if a takedown had been earned.

The first example, about eight minutes into the video, shows a wrestler who is in the process of getting taken down hooking an elbow and trying to whip his opponent over. He succeeds in unbalancing his opponent, but can’t put him in danger. This is a nice defensive move, but he isn’t taking any risk here and fails to pull off the move. He almost scores and it should be left at that. With the correct throw, he scores. The next example features Kyle Snyder almost getting thrown against the Cuban in the Olympics. Snyder attacks, gets pulled up with the Cuban getting double overhooks, and immediately attempting a throw. In this case, Cuba is taking a risk, but he is forced into it as he is about to be driven out of bounds and he misses the throw, getting Snyder to turn a little, but not enough to put him in danger. The action was scored one point for Cuba for a correct throw and now will be worth two points.

The correct throw was already a questionable rule, especially in freestyle. With these changes, almost scoring becomes the equivalent of getting a takedown or performing a successful gut wrench. In my opinion, the correct throw should either be gotten rid of or reserved for those cases where a wrestler rotates their opponent through danger and back to safety during a move. The change to make grand amplitude throws that don’t land in danger four points is a nod to the latter. Rewarding wrestlers for going too big is reasonable. Giving them two points because they almost scored is not.