Training Tips - Strap Matches - October 2008

For quite some time I’ve wanted to write about the straps. A slip out occurs when both people lose contact with one another. There is much talk about whether a match should or should not go to straps. Many people mistakenly believe that if you are in the losing position and a slip-out occurs then you lose or if your wrist if flipped back you are given a foul or loss when in losing position. Always remember this: someone has to cause the slippage for a foul to be called.

There are several factors that go into a referee’s judgment on whether the competitors will be strapped or one person will get a foul. The most important factor is the placement of the fingers; were they open or were they closed in a fist. If the fingers are open as if a person was regripping then they slipped they that person gets a foul. If they are both trying to regrip then they go to straps. Many times you’ll see a person closing their fingers one by one into a closed fist. Anytime this happens a foul is called on that person. Another common way that people get fouled for causing a slip-out is by being in flip wrist position and they turn their hand under their opponent’s hand

As I stated earlier it is not where it happened but why it happened. Also a problem for the referee is that some people are very good at slipping out and they do it so fast that you cannot positively tell that they were the sole cause of the slip-out. Also when one person is in flip wrist position the person on top can feel the slip starting then they exaggerate the slip-out to make it look like it happened in losing position when in fact it was in a neutral position.

The main point to remember is that the referees are usually making split second decisions and if there is any doubt in the referee’s mind about how the slip occurred then the referee has to put on the straps.

When the straps are put on the referee has to ask the competitors whether they want the strap high or low. Many people who are new to the sport or are not in the straps very often are confused about this question. Should they put the strap high on their wrist or put it low. Many people have preferences on this and that is what it is - a personal preference. Some people like it better with the strap high and others low. Much of this depends on whether you’re a top roller or hooker. It also depends on what your competitor is doing; are they top rolling, hooking, shoulder roll, straight side. This is where practice comes in. Try it high and low against various types of pullers. You will soon find where it works best for you.

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