Nothing wrong with starting the kids at 5 or so at all, but it mostly depends on what your expectations are. I've seen a lot kids start at 5, like wrestling, then all of the sudden parents get carried away and have their kids in some private, advanced club wrestling 9 months out of the year. Not all, but many of the kids can't handle that and end up out of the sport.
I love the sport, I wish the governing body of wrestling would just keep it simple. Since you can't sift out the purveyors "performance weight loss" just install a permanent fix. Let's have weight outs and weigh ins. You make weight before a match and make weight after the match. That prevents a guy from gaining 10 pounds after he weighs in. I've gained 20-25 pounds back by the finals of a two day tournament.
If a kid can't make weight after his match, it counts as a loss while the opposing team gets the points. Three months into the next season, unscrupulous coaches will be forced to wise up and stop building program at the expense of the future health their athletes.
Is that a tough fix? Yes it is. Will it fix it? Absolutely.
I've been on both side of the issue. You do not have to pull weight to excel at this sport.
Unfortunately, there are way too many governing bodies, 50 states, who knows how many school divisions, school districts, etc... Plus, folkstyke, freestyle, greco, etc. USA Wrestling is kind of like a governing body, but there is no way to make each state follow what they do. It's all about education. The weight loss ideas have and are shifting more to doing it the right way all the time, but these things take time.
it is about education and good coaching and most important good parenting! no child before high school should ever have to "cut weight" period! in high school, for those of us who can still remember and wish (lol), we could seem to eat anything and everything and not gain a pound! Which can lead to poor overeating habits, eating disorders, over doing workouts in sauna suits or taking weightloss medication that they dont need and will do damage. Yes i have seen a teenager take a laxative then make a mess all over the mat. dont kid yourself its out there!
On top of it all if you have a child that plays football and is tryn to bulk up all season then hits wrestling season and need to lose the extra. And at the begining of a season there will be extra.
The best way to approach this is for the player, parent, and coach to sit down layout goals and expectations so everyone is on the same page. A nutrition plan not a diet plan should be put in place and with good hard practices realistic goals will be met and maintained!
My junior year i packed on alot of pounds weighing 185 lbs and so started my season at 189lbs then mid-way through i made it back down to 171lbs, all with good eating habits, realistic workouts, and the appropriate amount of time to get there.
As a parent you must get involved and take the opportunity to learn these good life lessons with your child. you will both be happier and healthier for it. I'm no expert just a parent and coach trying to pass on what i do know and trying to learn a little something everyday!