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Groom Check Procedure in Wrestling

Wrestling shoes on a matOne of the most important pre-competition procedures in wrestling is groom check. Often known as a hygiene check or physical evaluation, a groom check is where the referee or another wrestling official checks competitors’ bodies to make sure they meet specific regulations. This guide will teach you about the groom check process and how to prepare your body for competition.

Folkstyle Groom Check

The folkstyle groom check procedure will vary by the level and type of competition. It is typically done minutes before the competition wherever the wrestling will take place (in the gymnasium, for example.) If it is an individual competition, there will typically be several referees that will be checking wrestlers on a first-come, first-served basis. For team competitions, the team will typically line up and the referee will walk through and check everyone at once.

There is a specific procedure that must be followed that is slightly different than the procedure used for freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions. However, this may vary by competition. Listed below is the groom check procedure that you would follow for all scholastic and collegiate wrestling competitions in the United States:

1. Uniform Check

Approach the official wearing all of your regulation gear. This will typically be your wrestling shoes, singlet, and headgear. You may also need a mouth guard or a head covering. Check the Wrestling Rules & Regulations for more information on the gear you will need.

Make sure the straps of your singlet are down so the referee can inspect your entire upper body. You will also typically be allowed to wear shorts to allow the referee to inspect your legs.

2. Fingernail Check

Hold your hands out in front of you with your palms facing up. Curl your fingers slightly so the referee can inspect your fingernails. Not only do your nails need to be short, but they also need to be smooth; any points or sharp edges in your nails will require you to trim them.

3. Arms up, Chin Up

Hold your arms out to the side with your hands up so the referee can inspect the front of your body. Also, hold your head up so the referee can see under your chin. Not only is he checking for any signs of skin disease, infection, etc., but he is also checking to make sure you are clean-shaven. No facial hair is allowed.

4. Spin

While holding your arms out to the side with your hands up, slowly turn around so the referee can inspect the skin on your back. Unless he stops you to examine your skin, keep turning until you face him again.

5. Make it Official

If you have not successfully passed groom check, you will have time to do what you need to in order to meet regulations. This includes trimming your nails, shaving your face, taping the laces of your wrestling shoes, etc. Once you have fixed whatever issue the referee has identified, you will return to the same referee to be evaluated once more.

If you have met all regulations, you will typically receive some kind of mark on your body, such as an “X” or another similar symbol. The mark is typically made on your hand or arm.

Hot Tip: Bring a Doctor’s Note!

If you have any kind of health issue that could keep you from competing, namely a skin disease, don’t forget to bring your doctor’s note with you to groom check. This will prove that you are physically ready to compete. Without it, you’ll be riding the bench all day!

Freestyle & Greco Groom Check

The groom check for the international styles of freestyle and Greco-Roman is typically done after a competitor has weighed in. In the weigh-in area, there will be an official or group of officials waiting nearby to check the wrestlers while they are still in their competition uniforms. The groom check process may vary depending on the event that you attend; however, listed below is the average groom check process:

1. Straps Up

Approach the official wearing only your singlet. No T-shirt or shorts are allowed to be worn at this time. Also, make sure the straps are up and around your shoulders.

2. Fingernail Check

Hold your hands out in front of you and turn your palms upward. Curl your fingers slightly so the official can check your nails.

3. Arms up, Chin Up

Next, hold your arms out to the sides with your elbows bent and your hands up. Also, lift your head up slightly so the referee can see under your chin. The referee will be checking your skin for any signs of skin disease, infection, and other hygiene-related issues.

Also, if you show any signs of facial hair, the official may use his hand to feel it. If your facial hair is not soft, with the feel of several months of growth, you will have to shave. Stubble is not acceptable. However, a well-groomed mustache is permitted.

4. Spin

Once the official has checked the front of your body, you will keep your arms raised and turn around so that he may check the skin on the backside of your body. Turn slowly and unless he stops you to examine a specific spot on your skin, keep turning until you face him again.

5. Make it Official

If you have successfully passed groom check, the official will typically make a marking on your body. The most common place the official will mark is your arm or your hand. This will typically be an “X” or another symbol to show that you have met all physical regulations.

Be Responsible

Groom check is an essential part of competition because it helps protect the wrestlers and keep them healthy. This is why it is your responsibility to take care of your body. If you don’t, not only are you putting yourself at risk, but you are also making competition dangerous for others. For more information on how stay healthy and fit for competition regulations, check out the Related Guides section at the top right of this page.

Good luck and wrestle hard!

Groom check is an essential part of a wrestling competition. Learn all about its procedure and how to prepare your body for competition with this guide.
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