Youth wrestling tournaments are a fantastic way for young wrestlers to get a feel for real matches and tough competition at a young age. The events themselves can typically last between 4 to 6 hours depending on how many participants there are, and the athletes can expect to wrestle anywhere from 2 to 4 times in that period.

Obviously, you’ll be glued to the edge of your seat when your own son or daughter takes to the mat, but what can you do during the inevitable downtime? To make sure your wrestler and the rest of your family make it through the day without losing any gear or going crazy from boredom, here are a few important tips to keep in mind.

  • Pack the right gear. You’d be surprised at how many kids arrive at the venue without their wrestling singlets, headgear, or youth wrestling shoes. To prevent disqualification or to save yourself from having to drive all the way back to the house for a forgotten item, double-check the gear bag before you leave.
  • Label your child’s gear. At nearly every youth tournament out there, a pile of youth wrestling shoes, stray knee pads, and various other pieces of equipment slowly builds up at the Lost & Found table over the course of the day. Be sure to put your child’s name on his or her gear to make ownership claims go a lot smoother.
  • Bring pillows or cushions. Sitting on bleachers becomes extremely uncomfortable after a while, so do yourself a favor and grab a few pillows or stadium seat cushions when you’re gathering the wrestling singlets and other gear.
  • Include healthy snacks. Tournament concession stands almost exclusively sell high-fat, high-calorie junk food and sugary soft drinks. To prevent spikes (and subsequent crashes) in blood sugar levels, or to be sure the wrestling singlets you packed don’t suddenly look two sizes too small in the afternoon matches, bring along healthy snacks such as fruit, trail mix, or energy bars.
  • Don’t forget the gadgets. When wrestlers are between matches and not off running around with friends, they’ll want to change out of their wrestling singlets and youth wrestling shoes so they can relax. iPhones, iPads, e-book readers, and Nintendo handhelds can keep them (or you) happily occupied for long stretches.

Any event that lasts up to six hours can be hard to sit through. To make sure the whole family enjoys your child’s next tournament, you’ll have to pack more than the standard youth wrestling shoes and wrestling singlets. Pillows or cushions, healthy snacks, and electronic gadgets can help pass the time between matches and make the whole day a lot more fun!