Spectator Guide

Game Length

An individual match can end in a few seconds if a wrestler is immediately pinned. If no wrestler is pinned, a wrestling match consists of three two-minute periods. To break a tie after three periods, a one-minute sudden-death overtime period occurs, and the first wrestler to score a point wins the match. A second 30-second overtime period is wrestled, if necessary.


The main objective is to establish total domination by pinning an opponent's shoulders to the mat to earn a fall and victory. If no wrestler can pin his opponent, points are awarded to wrestlers as control changes. The wrestler with the most points at the end of a match is the winner. Takedowns are worth two points, almost pinning an opponent scores two, three, or four points and is called a near fall. A wrestler who is able to return to a neutral position after being controlled by an opponent and reverses control earns two points for a reversal. Points are also deducted for infractions of the rules. 

In order for the match to end, one athlete must score at least three points. A techincal fall occurs and the match is ended when a wrestler establishes a 15-point advantage over the opponent.

Team Scoring

Wrestling is a team sport made up of many individual matches. The type of win for each match dictates different team points. The team with the most total points wins the meet. In dual meets, in which two teams face each other, the following point system is used:

Fall: (6 points) Wrestler pins opponent’s shoulders to the mat for two seconds.

Forfeit: (6 points) Awarded when the opposing wrestler fails to appear for the match.

Default: (6 points) Awarded when the opponent is unable to continue wrestling, most frequently awarded after an injury.

Disqualification: (6 points) Awarded when the opponent is disqualified for repeated infractions or flagrant misconduct.

Technical fall: (5 points) Occurs anytime a 15-point lead is established.

Major decision: (4 points) Wrestler wins by at least 8 points.

Decision: (3 points) Wrestler wins by 1 to 7 points.

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